Welcome to the weird and wonderfully wacky world of the top down shoot ‘em up that is Juicy Realm, developed by SpaceCan and published by X.D. Network Inc. The player moves through varying and interesting play zones facing off with some “evolved fruits” that now sit atop the food chain. Juicy Realm can be played either solo or with friends via the local coop by connecting a controller.
Juicy Realm begins in a staging area to select the hero that you wish to take into battle. With 4 to choose from at the beginning of your awaiting adventure, hopefully you will find the one that suits your playstyle. Once the hero is selected, you proceed to the first play area and come across the first foes to do battle with.
The game playing well I moved forward, taking down each angry fruit after the next in the first zone. I had been a little easy going when it came to taking hits, as my thought was I would eventually come across some way to heal. There are military styled supply crates dotted all over each area, and as I bust each one open I was convinced there had to have been some sort of much needed healing item in the next one. Yes, eventually I came across some candy looking items that brought my health up partially, but was not enough for what was about to come my way.
As each stage was completed a chest would drop, containing an item of some sort that would come in handy, such as a new weapon, stamina booster, health, ammo… the usual. What I wasn’t prepared for was the boss that signified the end of that zone, which was some sort of cute(ish), oversized watermelon with a dog kind of personality, and oh boy was I hurting for health.
As I tried to find out what attacks to expect, and my health bar getting ever much closer to that gamer’s dread of zero, I found out that these mushrooms dotted around were actually explosive. After a body slam from the melon dog, this one mushroom ready to explode went boom and ended my battle with my foe for now.
Once dead I was given the choice to return to camp (menu) or retry. Not one to give up right away, I decided to go straight back in and found myself in the area previous to the boss. Having to resort to taking on that area and the boss with everything at default was a difficult task. After a few more tries, I found out weaknesses and I was able to progress into a different zone by passing through a restock area, where I could buy some ammo, health and/or new weapons.
The next zone was proving to be more of a challenge, which the case should be by getting further into a game like this. With a change of environment to an arid desert, with what I can only describe as a pit of sinking sand placed around the area, sometimes with an added spikey cactus, which will inflict damage if you get sucked to the center.
The characters are interesting with their unique starting gear. “The Botanist” carries a pistol style weapon accompanied by a grenade. “The Boxer” is what would be considered the healer, which again carries a pistol, but instead of a grenade has what appears to be a bottle of fluid that creates a circle of healing once dropped on the floor. “The Ninja” wields a sword of sorts, and what I can only describe as a pet that, once placed, will find and electrocute its target. Finally, “The Mercenary” boasts an assault rifle ideal for taking down those pesky fruits with a helpful placeable turret to help take down the more difficult of enemy. Whilst in the staging area, after completing parts of the game, you will notice there are other characters that appear, willing to help the player out in whatever way they can, including the ability to supply a second weapon at the start.
There were a few complaints to be had with Juicy Realm. The options menu lacked a real menu while midgame. The word “camp” was used for the option to go back to the main menu, that can be easily confused with the character select screen, which has the appearance of a camp. All items collected are lost and the player restarts from a checkpoint when death befalls you. That could be understandable to make the game more difficult to complete, but if you want to play a game over and over, just because you want to do it faster or with no purchases, this would be your game.
Juicy Realm is a fun, shoot ’em up that utilizes 2D cartoon graphics to make the most of this fast paced action. Even with a few drawbacks, I would come back to replay this game to achieve better scores every time. The creative monsters, cooperative play, and unique game play will make this a great addition to any gamer’s collection.