Fruit Ninja is one of those simple, yet highly addictive iPhone games that people will play for hours on end and then deny even owning. For many people, myself included at times, it’s tough to admit when a casual game has its hooks in you. Halfbrick Studios wowed us with Raskulls during XBLA Games for the Holidays, but can Fruit Ninja Kinect, basically an iPhone port, hang with the likes of Bastion or Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet during the Summer of Arcade?
To put it simply, Fruit Ninja Kinect is the perfect addition to the Summer of Arcade mix. At 800 MSP, it’s the “bargain” title and the only break from lengthly campaigns you’ll get all summer on XBLA. I’ve played a majority of all the Kinect games since launch and this one takes the cake for simplicity and fun, but also accuracy in reading hand movements. There’s no story to be had here, but that’s for the best. You just stand in front of the Kinect, let the game calibrate your distance, and you’re chopping fruit in no time. The game gives you a silhouette of yourself to shame you into exercising at some point but more so to give you a sense of where it sees you. You know exactly where your hand will chop when you hold it out because you see it in relation to the fruit on the screen.
Fruit Ninja Kinect offers multiplayer co-op and competitive modes in addition to SOLO ROUND modes Classic, Arcade, and Zen. Classic mode has you ensuring all fruit is chopped, none drops off screen, and you avoid all bombs thrown into the mix. Arcade mode goes bananas (pun… intended) as game-modifying nanners are mixed in to allow you to get score multipliers, slow down time, or create an unmanageable orgy flow of fruit onscreen. The last and perhaps most difficult mode is Zen. Zen mode makes you wait for the precise moment when all the fruit align and you can get as many as possible in one swipe. Getting fruit combos adds bonus points which are required to get the best scores possible in Zen mode. Additionally there is a challenge mode where the game will present a simple score goal for you to attempt to attain. Completing challenges and other feats unlocks new blade effects and backgrounds called Sensei Swag, but the net result of any of those is a slightly different visual effect that you really don’t even notice when you’re engaged in fruit combat.
Multiplayer co-op is a blast if you have the living room space for it. You stand side by side trying to make sure no fruit goes un-ninja-ed while also trying not to chop the living hell out of your teammate. Competitive mode is basically the same, only the fruit is color coded to ensure compliance with the Equal Ninja Opportunity Act of 1963. Also, if you chop your opponent’s fruit, you lose points. Occasionally, neutral colored fruits fly swiftly across the screen providing a bonus to the quickest slice. The best part of the multiplayer experience is that there is about one full second of configuration needed to add another player, and when they drop out, their silhouette “poofs” as if they threw a smoke bomb and ran off into the night.
If you own a Kinect, you’d be a big fool not to pick up this game. Kinect is about simple fun, active movement, and casual gaming, and you will not find another game in the current library that exemplifies these principles more than Fruit Ninja Kinect. Halfbrick has turned me from dreadful to curious about the concept of porting touch-screen games to Kinect. It goes to show that in the right hands, something as simple as slicing fruit can be as rewarding as any big budget Kinect game you play.
- Dead simple configuration
- Surprising accuracy with hand motions
- Simple gameplay for kids and adults
- Sensei’s Swag menu is a nightmare
- Knuckle-busting is common without proper spacing
- I think I may have sprained my wrist chopping pomegranates
Fruit Ninja Kinect is a steal at 800 MSP, regardless of whether or not the iOS versions are a fraction of that. For those of you who just cannot be persuaded to entertain yourself for $10, it will also be made available for free bundled with the upcoming game, The Gunstringer. The amount of fun, accessibility, and accuracy you get with Fruit Ninja Kinect make it more of a killer app than a cash-in, and everyone who owns a Kinect owes it to themselves to pick this up during Summer of Arcade.