Violent Veg Attack

It's really hard to have fun with fruit and vegetables, at least once you get past Mr Potato Head, and maybe sniggering at obscenely shaped carrots. As a food group, they don't really lend themselves to any entertainment media.

It's nothing short of a miracle, then, that not only is Violent Veg Attack a zesty little Cox's Pippin of a game, but it also manages to combine the source material with more puns per pound than just about any other game we've seen!

The premise is simple. King Eddie (geddit?) the potato is watching telly with his missus, Princess Sweetie (a sweet potato, naturally), when along comes the evil turnip and kidnaps their son – a baby new potato. Consequently Eddie sets off to rescue his kidnapped family.

It's not exactly Shakespeare, but it's the little details and frivolity that turn Violent Veg Attack from an everyday arcade-style shoot-em-up into an enjoyable way to spend some time while you wait for the number 77 bus to negotiate the rush hour traffic.

Off you go, through a series of levels that see Eddie suspended from a beam at the top of the screen, lobbing tomatoes down at the oncoming hordes of evil fruit and veg. If the baddies manage to get past your defensive fruit-fire, the beam drops lower down the screen, making it harder to repel the next wave.

This continues until you meet your quota of splatted groceries, and so move onto the next level to face a different kind of assailant. The difficulty increases as each different variety of angry produce takes more hits to destroy and moves in an increasingly erratic way, from the lively spring onions to the surprisingly tough garlic gargoyles.

The game looks as bright as a grocer's window display. From the varied backdrops of each level to Eddie's animation and that of his enemies, there are plenty of neat little touches that will raise a smile. The 'Lemon Aid' hospital or the 'peanut asteroid belt/giant tomato sun' combo are good examples of the humorous details scattered throughout Violent Veg Attack.

The musical ditties are bouncy numbers too, albeit the kind that fit perfectly when you're playing the game, but doubtless will have innocent bystanders grinding their teeth in annoyance within seconds.

Sadly, all this sweetness turns a little sour when you realise that Violent Veg Attack is pretty limited. Once you get used to the characteristics of the bad guys in each stage, the 10 levels zip by and you're watching the final ending animation before you know it.

This is a real shame – it could have been made a better game simply by adding more variety to the levels, and maybe introducing a puzzle element whereby you had to destroy the enemies in a particular order to score bonuses.

As it is, Violent Veg Attack is like an orange. It's a tasty distraction for 10 to 20 minutes, but you're left feeling a bit empty.

Violent Veg Attack

A fun but short-lived fruit-em-up that needs more time to ripen