If you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, you have most likely tried the already classic casual title Fruit Ninja. In its first three months, it sold over a million units and continues to top the App Store charts. Players are tasked with swiping through a fruit cluttered screen while not letting any fall off the bottom and avoiding the dreaded bombs. It is a fun frantic minigame that uses a mobile smart phone’s touch technology in an intelligent and rewarding way.
Now Halfbrick has teamed up with Microsoft for the Summer of Arcade to bring Fruit Ninja Kinect to the XBox 360. Using the Kinect motion technology, players hands act as ninja swords to slice and dice apples, oranges and strawberries in one of the most accurate uses for the Kinect since its release.
In Fruit Ninja Kinect, players must use their arms to slide through flying fruit while avoiding contact with bombs or allowing fruit to fall off the screen. From what we can tell, the Kinect sensor has near pinpoint accuracy in the game allowing for control that is as accurate as it comes for motion gaming. Players can slowly move their arms into position but only when a player speeds up will it count as a sword swipe which is very important for avoiding bombs. An acrobatic player can even use their legs to kick through a wayward pear if necessary.
There isn’t much difference between Fruit Ninja for the iPhone and the Kinect in terms of gameplay mechanics save the inclusion of the pomegranate. Everyone’s favorite source of antioxidants can be used to end timed stages where players can hack away for a few seconds and build up ridiculous combos.
Story and Presentation:
There is no story to speak of in Fruit Ninja Kinect. Players jump in on a couple different modes where they try to reach a high score within certain limitations. In Classic mode, players have unlimited time to hit fruit as long as they don’t hit any bombs or let three fruit drop off the screen. In Arcade mode, Players are given a time limit where missing fruit won’t end the game for them and bombs only decrease their score instead of costing them the level. In Zen mode, players are given a “stress free” game where they don’t need to worry about bombs or missing fruit and just try to rack up as many points in a time limit. Challenge mode sets different goals for players using various modes. The game also features two multiplayer modes where players can go head to head or cooperatively as well.
By achieving new high scores and progressing through various tasks, players unlock new “blades” that change the slash graphic their hands project on the screen as well as new backgrounds. One cool looking blade unlock allows for a “flame sword” that tears through fruit much like you would expect from a sword on fire.
Much like the gameplay mechanics, the look and sound of Fruit Ninja Kinect hasn’t changed much from the original portable title. The game’s art style and sound design stay true to the spirit of the title but doesn’t give much new for players to look forward to.
Fruit Ninja Kinect takes a simple concept and runs with it to give players a fun casual experience. The fast paced frantic gameplay will end up giving players a better workout experience than Wii Fit ever could. The real criticism of Fruit Ninja Kinect though is the lack of depth compared to the original title. Sure, there wasn’t much to the original game on iPhone but that is to be expected for a 99 cent price tag. The issue comes from the $10 price tag for Kinect functionality (which is presumably the fault of Microsoft and not the guys at Halfbrick). You really don’t feel like you are getting much bang for your buck.
If you have never played Fruit Ninja before, give the XBLA demo a try and if you do enjoy it, our best recommendation would be to wait until the Gunstringer from Twisted Pixel comes out next month which includes Fruit Ninja Kinect with it for free. There is nothing wrong with the title by any means but the price doesn’t feel like it pays off to the fullest in this case.
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99)