Reviewed: August 21, 2011
Released: August 10, 2011
If you own an iOS or an Android mobile device chances are you might already be familiar with Fruit Ninja; a rather mindless game that seems more like a showcase for touchscreen technology than anything else. Considering the whole point of the mobile game was to simply make swiping motions with your finger to slice and dice various pieces of fruit, I had to wonder how this game would ever make the transition to the console.|
Fruit Ninja Kinect has finally arrived, as we coast to the finish line of the Summer of Arcade. The game already has a bit of controversy about it as it is the only game in the summertime series that requires Kinect, thus forcing anyone who wants Crimson Alliance, that “bonus game” at the end of the series, to purchase this game whether they have a Kinect or not. The good news is that Fruit Ninja Kinect is only 800 MS point ($10), but that is still about ten times the cost of the mobile app. But the best news is that if you actually have a Kinect then this translation of Fruit Ninja is surprisingly fun, extremely challenging, and totally addictive.
The concept is simple and actually an improvement over the mobile game that had millions of people cleaning their phone’s screens after playing. Simply stand in front of your TV and after a short moment of calibration you become a shadowy ninja. Seriously, a real-time shadowy figure of yourself appears on whatever background you happen to be playing; at first a wooden wall, but other background unlock as you play and more are coming as DLC.
As you move your arms and body and strike your best Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Jet Li action pose the on-screen shadow mimics your movement in amazing real-time precision. This is where the game gets fun, because you can either stand there like a dork and mindlessly swipe your hands around trying to look “cool” or you can totally get into the ninja mindset and throw in a few high-pitched shrieks and yells. After all, you are the ninja.
Regardless of whether you choose the Classic, Zen, or Arcade mode, the game is essentially the same. Pieces of fruit come sailing in from the bottom and sides of the screen and you must slice them up with your razor-sharp karate chops that leave glowing trails and the occasional blemish on the virtual back wall. Depending on the game mode, what happens when you miss a piece of fruit varies. And when you add bombs and bonus fruit to the mix things get really crazy.
In Classic mode you’ll be swiping at fruit as it increases in number and speed. If you fail to slice a piece before it falls off the bottom of the screen you get a strike and after three strikes you’re out. As you get deeper into this mode the game will start tossing in the occasional red or purple bomb, which, if struck, will immediately end your game or deduct 10 points. Arcade mode is a 60-second slicing fury where you cut as much fruit as possible and Zen mode takes away the pressures of a timer and bombs for a more relaxing Fruit Ninja experience. With special fruits that will activate Frenzy or Freeze (slow time) power-ups, the gameplay is always fresh and exciting and very active. I was amazed at how sore and sweaty we would all get playing just a few rounds of Fruit Ninja.
The game gets even better when you factor in the Challenge mode, an increasingly difficult progression of score-based challenges, and the Party modes for up to two players. Standing side by side and trying not to smack each other in the face, you can play cooperatively as you try to slice all the fruit flying around the screen while avoiding bombs or you can go head-to-head. In this mode the screen is divided in half and you can only hit the fruit from your side of the screen. Some bonus fruit will travel the entire width of the screen, but if your opponent’s fruit comes into your area you must avoid it or receive a penalty.
Visually, the game looks great with bold colors and detailed textures on the various types of fruit, both inside and out. The silhouette of yourself on the screen is perfect, and it’s fun to watch the shape change when players switch out. There are all sorts of cool effects, glowing auras around the players, flashing swiping trails, splattering fruit juice, etc. The audio is pretty basic stuff with standard slashing and chopping sounds and the wet slurpy sounds of fruit juice. The game does the best with the opportunities provided.
With all sorts of fun score challenges, bonus fruits, combo rewards, and that big red fruit at the end of each session where you get to go crazy, Fruit Ninja Kinect is a great way to liven up any party or gaming night. And if you have younger kids; they are going to go Fruit Ninja crazy for this game. It's a bit over-priced, but still a worthy addition to your XBLA collection.