In an Angry Bird-dominated market, Fruit Ninja comfortably sits in the number two position on smartphones, so the choice to bring Halfbrick’s hit produce-slicer to the motion-controlled big screen was a logical one. Breaking ground as the first downloadable Kinect title, Fruit Ninja Kinect places you right in the dojo to unleash your fruit-filled fury with your bare hands.
Fruit Ninja’s entire gameplay structure is so simple, you’re pissed you didn’t think of it first. Various fruits are tossed on screen, and by briskly waving your hands, you create a virtual blade that slices anything in its path. Cued by a different sounds are bombs, which you must avoid, else the screen blows up and the game is over. Stupid, simple fun.
Admittedly, the transition to console sounds like an ace idea on paper, but as someone who cautiously dips their toes into the pool of Kinect titles, I had some serious doubts whether the 1:1 precision of the touch screen could be replicated by waving your arms around. While I can’t say the controls are perfect, there’s something supremely gratifying about seeing your ninja-like silhouette cut through enemy watermelon over and over again. It works, and that’s the important part.
You can slice using one or both of your hands (hell, I even got a few leg slices in), and the more crops you sever at once, the higher your bonus. There’s a momentary meditation you get just before delivering a swift blow to a large group of fruit, timing your fast-as-lightning swipe to create an on-screen fruit salad. I can only imagine this is what it feels like to win Iron Chef and Ninja Warrior at the same time.
In addition to the classic “avoid bombs, cut fruit” mode are a handful of game types imported from the smartphone counterpart. Arcade mode tosses in power-up bananas that slow down time and multiply points, while the more chill Zen mode simply gives you 90 seconds to slice as much as you can without having to worry about those pesky bombs. None of the modes drastically differ from each other, so you’ll likely find your own jam and stick with that.
By completing various challenges and achievements you can unlock different blades and backgrounds. While fun, these are merely aesthetic changes that don’t change up the gameplay. I have to say I’m a pretty big fan of the piano blade, though.
At 800 points, the XBLA title is ten times pricier than its handheld counterpart, and if you’re already an old slicin’ pro, that dough won’t buy you any new content to experience. Even the multiplayer mode only supports local play, while the iOS versions support global competitions.
As it stands, there simply aren’t many games that make solid use of the Kinect, so as an XBLA title, Fruit Ninja basks in the limelight with zero competition. It’s truly a fun and addictive game, but there’s just not enough here to satisfy in the long-term.
Buy it because it’s fun, and your Kinect is starting to collect dust. Just don’t expect to be playing much of it a few weeks from now.
Fruit Ninja Kinect was released on August 10th, 2011 exclusively for Xbox 360.