“Not only does Fruit Ninja Kinect live up to high standards set by its portable brother, it actually improves upon the original game…
It’s not often that mobile games are ported up to home consoles but when it does happen the former smartphone apps tend to lose their appeal in the process. The problem is, what gamers want from their phones and what gamers want from their consoles are two completely different things. The best mobile games are designed to be played in short bursts and rely heavily on a touch screen input, meanwhile the best console games feature impactful stories, hours of gameplay and utilise a standard controller to provide a more accurate gameplay experience.
Thankfully Halfbrick’s much loved iPhone game Fruit Ninja has made its way to Xbox Live Arcade, slicing clean through the “phone-to-console transitional curse” in the process. Not only does Fruit Ninja Kinect live up to high standards set by its portable brother, it actually improves upon the original by turning the game in to a fun, physical activity. The Kinect’s advanced body tracking capabilities has made slicing fruits with an invisible weapon more immersive than ever!
The games core concept remains the same. Fruits fly up on to the screen and you use your experience learned from watching Karate Kid to slice them in half before they hit the ground. Why fruits? Why ninjas? Who cares! The game doesn’t waste time trying to justify its existence and neither should you. In the iPhone game slices were executed by mundanely swiping your finger across the screen where as Fruit Ninja Kinect forces players to get on their feet and perform sword swinging motions like an actual ninja. As well as tracking your swipes, Kinect is also used to place the player’s silhouette in the games background to ensure that you never lose track of where you are in relation to the fruits. This works surprising well and the fact that Kinect only has to focus on your upper body allows for this to become one of the motion camera’s most precise games to date. Another thing that Fruit Ninja provides, which I’ve yet to experience with any other piece of Kinect software, is fun without frustration. Everything in this game just works as advertised. Not once did I have to recalibrate the camera, struggle to find the optimum viewing position or wish I could simply use a controller instead.
“Considering that this game costs 10x the price of the iPhone edition, it would have been sweet if Halfbrick threw in some new modes
Fruit Ninja fans will be pleased to hear that this Kinect version retains all of the modes found in the mobile game but unfortunately not much more. Considering that this game costs 10x the price of the iPhone edition, it would have been sweet if Halfbrick threw in some new modes but instead we have to settle for additional Challenges and Avatar clothing. For those who have yet to slice their Fruit Ninja cherry the game contains five different modes; Classic, Arcade, Zen, Multiplayer and the aforementioned Challenge mode. Each of which follows the same core structure albeit with slightly different rules.
In Classic Mode the game only ends once a player accidently slices a single bomb (which are mischievously tossed up amidst the fountain of fruits) or fails to cut dissect 3 pieces of fruit before they leave the screen.
Arcade Mode is time based and gives players one minute to slice as many fruits as possible. Here, bombs deduct 10 points rather than ending the game and power ups such a Double Points, Frenzy and Freeze are introduced. Additionally fruits are tossed up in a far more frantic manner meaning precision based slicing techniques are quickly thrown out the window in favour of flailing your arms maniacally!
Zen Mode is pretty much the same as Arcade Mode, but with a slightly increased timer instead of power ups or bombs and Challange Mode (surprise, surprise…) challenges players to complete a string of set tasks.
Rounding out Fruit Ninja’s list of modes is Multiplayer which supports up to two players locally and features both competitive and cooperative variants. The VS. Mode splits the screen vertically with each player being represented by a different colour. The objective is to slice fruits which are glowing with your colour while avoiding fruits which bear the hue of your rival. Once the timer reaches zero the player with the most fruits wins. The Co-Op mode is far less interesting as it’s simply just Arcade Mode with a friend.
“If you own a Kinect this is an essential purchase!
Regardless of the mode, your ultimate goal is to slice as many fruits and earn as many points as possible. Additional points can be earned by slicing multiple fruits with a single swipe (resulting in a “combo”) or by performing “Critical Hits” which just seems to happen at random intervals.
And that my friends is Fruit Ninja Kinect. There’s no overarching story, no deep campaign, no online deathmatches, just pure and simple arcade fun! Rather than giving us a mindless cash-in design to introduce the Fruit Ninja brand to a different audience, the good folks at Halfbrick Studios have produced a vastly superior game which is far more evocative of its namesake. If you own a Kinect this is an essential purchase well worthy of the $10 asking price.
This review was based on a review copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by Microsoft.