A game developed by the Pakistani studio Pepper.pk has become wildly popular among Blackberry users, rising to the top of the rankings in the market for Blackberry apps – a somewhat unsurprising development since a very similar game, developed by Australia-based studio Halfbrick, has done quite well amongst iPhone users.
Pepper.pk’s game is called Ninja Fruit Bash, a name that is similar to that of Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja. Both games look very similar and are played very similarly too.
In both games, players are required to slice fruit thrown at the screen and avoid the bombs thrown at them, using the touchpad or the touchscreen, depending on which application platform they are using. Halfbrick’s iPhone game is said to have a better user experience owing to the larger touchscreen, compared to the smaller touchpad on the Blackberry.
The gameplay is simple and smooth for both, though users of the Blackberry Torch, a touchscreen phone by the Canada-based Research in Motion (RIM), report a better experience than other Blackberry users.
Developers at Pepper.pk claim to have come up with the idea during a brain storming session. The studio’s media manager Muhammad Salman Hashim claims that the game was developed within one month and launched on the Blackberry platform.
“And of course there was no other game like this on the Blackberry Platform,” said Hashim.
The company charges $2.99 for its game on the Blackberry store and said that it was able to recuperate the entire investment in developing the game within two weeks.
Halfbrick’s game sells for $0.99 on the Apple store, although it also has a free version.
Responding to allegations that the game was quite similar to Fruit Ninja by Halfbrick studios on the iPhone, the company spokesperson stated that: “there haven’t been any allegations yet! Our game rules are different, our scoring is different and at the top of all we have a story line. So it’s not at all a rip off.”
Blackberry OS is one of the least popular operating platforms among smartphone users around the world, dwarfed by Apple’s iOS that runs on the iPhone and Google’s Android system that runs on phones developed by a variety of manufacturers.
The Blackberry app store is not available to Blackberry users in Pakistan, since RIM currently does not serve the region.
Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated the name of the app as 'Fruit Ninja Bash'. The correction has been done.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.