Review: Fruit Ninja Kinect (XBLA)

Review: Fruit Ninja Kinect (XBLA)

You know, there’s this old (crappy) joke: “I just flew in from (insert city name here), and boy are my arms tired!” Let’s freshen it up for the times, shall we? Hey guys, I just played three days of Fruit Ninja Kinect, and boy are my arms, neck, shoulders, and upper back sore! When I first heard that Fruit Ninja, an iOS game I was very familiar with, would be heading to XBLA as a Kinect title, and as a featured game within 2011’s Summer of Arcade event no less, I was somewhat skeptical. I knew HOW the game would be played, I just wasn’t sure HOW WELL the game would play. Well, Fruit Ninja Kinect is just as fun as its predecessor, but you get the added benefit of a low-impact upper-body workout. I’ve spent the last three days sore from flailing my arms around like a moron in 5-10 minute bursts, and I don’t regret a second of it.

I have played, and continue to play, quite a lot of Fruit Ninja on my iPhone. It’s a game that took advantage of the iPhone’s touchscreen beautifully. It successfully implemented the gameplay mechanic in a way that did not get boring, inconvenient, or just plain bad. In this way, Fruit Ninja Kinect is exactly the same as its iOS predecessor. While at times the Kinect implementation is a bit too sensitive, it is for the most part incredibly accurate. Halfbrick did a great job using Kinect’s motion tracking to turn your hands (and feet, if you’re athletic enough) into lethal (for fruit) weapons. Since the quality of the motion tracking is what I was skeptical and worried about going in to the game, discovering that it was very well done was quite a relief.

Fruit Ninja Kinect is not a major departure from Fruit Ninja iOS. If you’re familiar with how Fruit Ninja plays on mobile devices, then you will go into Fruit Ninja Kinect knowing how to play Fruit Ninja Kinect. It’s the same game, on a bigger screen, with a higher probability of knocking over a lamp or accidentally slapping your multiplayer partner (one of these things happened when I was playing; guess which one!). Fruit is thrown onto the screen. You use your limbs to slice said fruit. You avoid bombs, while slicing bonus items. You imagine you’re E. Honda when the superfruit comes on screen and pull out your hundred hand slap to try to get as many points out of the one fruit as possible (my best is 64, so far). You try to get as many fruit in one slice as possible to get bonus combo points.

The multiplayer is both fun and dangerous. It’s a lot of fun, because you can either play with your partner as a team, or play against them in a score battle. Either way, someone is going to get hurt. Picture this: You’re standing in your living room next to your wife, preparing for a great session of Fruit Ninja Kinect multiplayer (team or VS, doesn’t matter). The game begins, and the fruit starts jumping onto the TV. Slice! Slice! Avoid a bomb! Slice! 3-fruit combo! Sli-“OH SHIT MY HAND,” in unison with your wife, as you slam your right hand into her left hand while going for some tricky fruit. Do that about another half-dozen times, and you have one round of Fruit Ninja Kinect multiplayer. That being said, it’s still a lot of fun. THAT being said, my right little finger STILL hurts.

Now, in a game like this, it may be difficult to see the replay value other than as a quick time-killer kind of game while you’re waiting for your wife to finish getting ready in five minutes (a five minutes which, by the way, started over 15 minutes ago). Challenge mode is a score battle between you and your XBL friends across the different game modes. On top of challenge mode, and the desire to beat your own top score in the single player modes, there are a bunch of unlockables. Different slice effects, different backgrounds, and different player shadow effects are all waiting to be unlocked as you perform feats of fruit nina-ing.

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Unlike the rest of 2011’s Summer of Arcade, priced at 1200 MSP, Fruit Ninja Kinect is priced at a more affordable 800MSP. Is what essentially amounts to a mini-game worth 800MSP? If you have a Kinect, absolutely. You get replay value, you get pick-up-and-play value, you get leaderboards, multiplayer, challenge modes, unlockables, a great upper body workout, and more. It’s a bit of a different approach than the rest of the games presented in this year’s Summer of Arcade, not having a story, or plot, or really anything other than just gameplay, but it’s entertaining, and that’s what matters, at the end of the day.

Review

ProsCons
Great workout
Replay value
Moronic arm flailing
Moronic arm flailing
Potential damage to multiplayer partner or self
Exhausting
Rating
90 out of 100
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