Are you hungry for puzzle-solving excitement?

Try sinking your teeth into Fruit Fall Deluxe, a delightfully simple yet difficult to master diversion suitable for all ages and interest types.

Sure to satiate anyone’s appetite for an intellectual challenge, it’ll have you eyeing everyday foodstuffs with new respect – and, quite possibly, tearing your hair out at the roots.

Starting out, two modes of play are offered: Island Quest or Arcade.

The former gives you three tries with which to complete a single-player campaign comprised of over 50 stages spread across four unique tropical paradises. Fail to complete any, and you’ll lose a life, bringing you that much closer to defeat. You’ll also have to restart the game from the beginning of the most recently reached isle. (a little bit of a pain, for those keeping count…)

On the bright side, the latter option lets you freely start from any previously tackled stage and attempt to progress at your leisure. Under this particular setup, you can happily botch levels as many times as you like. And, for that matter, practice finishing as fast as possible, so you can potentially earn a spot on local or online-enabled global high score tables. (Daily, weekly and all-time rankings are recorded.)

So what’s the actual play-by-play action like? Glad you asked, even though featured excitement’s simple to the point it barely needs explaining. Wandering a main map, you’ll hop from island to island (themed after factories, board games, toys and more) attempting various brainteasers. Each takes the form of a playfield bordered by medians – which appear in the shape of pipes, dice, lettered blocks and other appropriately themed objects – and inhabited by ripe, juicy fruits.

Apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries… All are located in varying number at different points on-screen. The secret to winning is to rotate backgrounds using interactive buttons or your keyboard’s arrow keys so that fruit – which operates according to the laws of gravity – comes into contact.

Manage to manipulate three or more pieces of the same type of fruit into an adjacent position, and they’ll disappear from the board. Remove all fruit from play before time runs out, and you’ll collect bonus points before moving right on to the next level. Also worth noting: Especially clever players can manipulate stacks of fruit so that they create big combos. Successfully do so, and you’ll receive score-multiplying boosters.

Thing is, you don’t always have much room to maneuver. Stages also feature all sorts of nooks and crannies that fruit can become stuck on. Worse, the designers have additionally arranged certain levels so that you might clear fruit in such a way that individual pieces may be left behind and become permanent fixtures – resulting in an instant loss.

What initially seems like a cute, colorful diversion (love the cartoon visuals and perky music/sound effects) soon reveals itself to be a surprisingly diabolical little mindbender. For once, that’s a good thing, as the amount of content on offer is, by nature, fairly limited. Expect to get stuck frequently, though – more than once I found myself fuming at the prospect of having to play a level for literally the fifteenth time.

Even so, Fruit Fall Deluxe deserves its fair share of accolades for taking such a simple concept and making the most out of it. Not since the ’80s has such a basic layout yielded such rewardingly rich play. Better yet, given the particular concept involved, the title’s all but positive to appeal to just about anyone, no matter their interest type, skill level or gender. Consider yourself warned: It’ll take dozens of bites before you reach the center of this apple.