Bev Chen
24 Aug, 2011

Fruit Ninja Kinect Review

360 Review | Who needs a cutting board and a knife when you have this game?
There is no self-respecting app junkie who hasn’t heard of (or at least seen) Fruit Ninja, an addictive little time-waster created by Brisbane’s Halfbrick Studios that has sold millions. In a game where fast reflexes and creative cutting skills are the key to success, Fruit Ninja seemed to be an obvious game to port over to Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral. So now that the game is available on Xbox Live, how does it fare against its smartphone equivalent, and other Live games out on the market?

The concept of Fruit Ninja is simple: slice the fruit that is thrown across the screen while avoiding the bombs. On smartphone platforms, slicing involves the most intuitive action imaginable, which is dragging your finger(s) across the screen. With this knowledge alone, you know you’re in for a hell of a ride with Fruit Ninja Kinect, because this time around, you’re using your whole body instead to slice and dice in rapid succession. Believe us, the realisation that we could use our feet to perform all kinds of jump-kicks and roundhouses suddenly made the game much more entertaining. The point is that Fruit Ninja Kinect does what it says on the proverbial box: it makes you feel like a ninja. It gives you a substantial workout too, although if you are training to be a ninja, you probably need one of those in the first place.

No need to get juice stains out of the carpet.

No need to get juice stains out of the carpet.

Let’s get the first major point of concern out of the way, which is how well your movements translates to actions on-screen. We found this to be a little bit of a mixed barrel, as the game sometimes seemed overly responsive to movement. Unfortunately, this means that unintentional movement can sometimes result in the game selecting things on menus for us (also due to menu icons being clumped together), or worse, slashing things we don’t want to slash. It’s not a matter of not being able to see where your actions will correspond to on the screen as the game puts your silhouette in the background (in a very neat touch, we must say). Perhaps you’re meant to keep very still when you’re not attacking, like a real ninja? On the other hand, we occasionally found that very sudden movements were not registered, although we are willing to give the game the benefit of the doubt and say that this might be due to the Kinect itself, or the way our Kinect was configured for play.

As we said however, these were very occasional problems and do not hinder our enjoyment of the frantic gameplay that Fruit Ninja Kinect has on offer. However, at 800 MS Points it may seem quite steep for a game that can be bought for cheap on iOS platforms, but numerous gameplay modes and high replayability make the money spent very worthwhile. There’s Classic mode, which sees you slicing fruit while avoiding bombs in a “three strikes and you’re out” sort of deal. The Zen and Arcade modes from the smartphone update also make an appearance here, with Zen mode giving you 90 seconds to slice as much fruit as you can without having to worry about bombs. Arcade mode is possibly the most fast-paced of the lot and sees you trying to score as high as you can. The thing we like about this mode the most is the addition of three power-up bananas: one that doubles the number of points you get for a certain amount of time, one that slows time down, and one that throws a truckload of fruit at you for your frenzied, fruit-slicing pleasure.

I call this one the "Double Death Dealer". Er, kind of.

I call this one the "Double Death Dealer". Er, kind of.

New to Fruit Ninja Kinect however are challenges, which are a great way to test your new-found ninja skills in the three modes available. Some are straightforward, like “slice x amount of fruit”, but others are more complex as the game scales the difficulty of the challenges depending on how you have scored in your previous attempts. Second is the obvious addition of a local multiplayer mode, which comes in either co-operative or competitive flavours. Make sure you have a large enough playing space though, because our playing session ended with a few bruises and a lot of “sorry”s. The last addition is the pomegranate, a fruit that can take multiple slashes, allowing you to go to town on it until time runs out. It’s a really neat way of encouraging that last little bit of energy and enthusiasm, but thankfully they are not all that common, or else we would be nursing some very strained arm muscles right now. Something else that adds to the replay value of the game is Sensei’s Swag. Fulfilling certain conditions (all of which are made quite clear on the menu) unlocks different blades or backgrounds for your viewing pleasure. The blades add a whole lot of interesting visual effects, such as rainbow sparkles and fire that actually burns the wood.

Halfbrick Studios has once again delivered with Fruit Ninja Kinect what they are good at delivering: a solid gameplay experience with an emphasis on awesome, mindless fun. There are a couple of problems with the Kinect technology, but given that we’re barely a year into the peripheral’s lifespan, they are problems that we are willing to overlook. For now, just enjoy the fun of slicing fruit and waving your limbs about like a ninja in the comfort of your own home, but we can’t promise we won’t tell.
The Score
There are a couple of problems with how the game is controlled, but they mostly do not affect the fun and mindless gameplay experience that Fruit Ninja Kinect should (and does) offer.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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2 years ago
Pretty much spot on, it's movement detection is probably as good as we've seen on the Kinect I would say.
Haven't been hooked by it yet though.

Bonus points for the kicking suggestion.
2 years ago
Don't try this at home folks: The Real Fruit Ninja
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  10/08/2011 (Confirmed)

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