reviews\ Aug 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Fruit Ninja Kinect Review


Whenever I pick up an iPad on a day off from work, I always need to start up a session of Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja HD. There’s just something awesome about slicing fruit mercilessly, building up hundreds of points in combos, skillfully dodging bombs, and getting my zen on with unlockable blades. Now the game has come to the Kinect, and it’s become an addiction all over again.

The concept is the exact same as the previous versions on tablets and mobile devices, but the way it’s played is entirely different. As the Fruit Ninja (guided by a helpful sensei), it’s your job to slice any fruit that comes into your vicinity, while avoiding bombs that could either end your game or shave points off your score. The main difference here is that instead of dragging your fingers on the screen, you’re using your whole body.

See, once you align your Kinect and start up the game, your silhouette appears in the background while fruit flies around in the foreground. Using your arms, you’ll need to time your swings to slice the fruit. It’s a little tricky and might require you to do a slight bit of recalibrating depending on your Kinect settings, but the effort is certainly worth it.

That’s because Fruit Ninja Kinect has the same addictive style as the other games. You’ll have a blast slicing all of the fruit, either on your own or with a friend, while also reaching out for banana power-ups, which cause a slow-down in flung fruit or create a “frenzy” of produce flying at you from both sides. Also, the pomegranate, which was just introduced in the latest patch for the mobile versions, requires you to hit it as many times as possible to end the round on a high note. Sure, your arms may tire out as you whack away at it on a fever pitch, but that’s just part of the fun.

The exhaustive nature of Fruit Ninja Kinect will set in after a few rounds, as your arms will probably get tired from slicing all the fruits coming at you. However, that makes it an ideal party game, as you can get several players involved in the fun. The game strongly supports two player mode, where a pair of fruit ninjas can go at it in competitive fashion. The only downside is that it’s too tempting to smack your buddy, especially when you activate the Frenzy power-up. WHACK!

Along with its party support options, Fruit Ninja Kinect also has plenty to do via single player. The arcade and classic modes are present and accounted for, along with a Challenge mode and its leaderboards. Here, you can challenge friends almost instantly, trying to topple their score and unlock some Achievements for yourself in the process. It’s a tough battle out there (we’re already trying to beat folks in the 500+ category), but it just adds to the fun. The Zen mode is a great stress relief too, doing away with bombs and just letting you whip away at fruit for however long as you prefer.

On top of all this, Fruit Ninja Kinect also has unlockables, including special background themes (such as the “I Heart Sensei” wallpaper) and blade colors. You haven’t lived until you’ve chopped a produce truck’s worth of fruit with a Sub Zero-like blade.

In terms of presentation, Fruit Ninja Kinect doesn’t really stray that far from the formula that worked so well on the iOS platforms, but that’s fine by us. The fruit looks great, and when you slice it in half, you’ll see all the seeds and juices. The on-screen silhouette work is fantastic, so you can see exactly where you’re at all the time, as well as where your hands will end up. The menus are easy to breeze through as well. As for the music, it’s suitable, with plenty of cool ninja-like tunes and fruit dissection noises (c'mon, you know an apple makes a noise when it’s sliced in half).

For 800 Microsoft points (ten bucks), Fruit Ninja Kinect is one of the best games you can get for the motion device, period. It takes a little time to adjust to due to the new play style, but the overall effort is worth it. There’s plenty to do in single player, along with a two-player multiplayer set-up and a Challenge mode that’ll keep you slicing for hours on end. Unless you have something against produce violence (or are a Fruit yourself), you shouldn’t miss this chance to test your Ninja skills.


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