Fruit Ninja Kinect
Fruit Ninja on mobile devices was a considerably successful venture for Halfbrick Studios, and with good reason too. It accommodated to the limitations of its original platforms in ways that were naturally suited—slicing large quantities of fruit with a touch screen was just pure fun. This latest version is essentially the same experience but adapted to the hand-waving tomfoolery that is the Xbox 360’s Kinect camera; and despite an inflated price tag, this Summer of Arcade inductee justifies its existence by successfully accommodating to new technologies in the same manner it originally did on mobile devices.
The general conceit of the original Fruit Ninja remains intact here—small numbers of fruit (everything from pears to limes) are propelled up onto the screen for a short period of time, and you perform ninja-like swipes and slashes with your hands to slice the fruit before it all disappears. The faster you decimate each colourful fruit the higher your score total becomes; and slicing them together as a group will multiply your combo to even greater numbers. You’ve also got to avoid slashing the game-ending bombs that pop up alongside the fruit, too; and certain modes provide opportunities to briefly slow down time, add a multitude of more fruit to the screen or extend the multiplayer.
Thankfully, the Kinect handles these tasks with relative ease. There are times where it will accidentally read your stationary arm as a slice, which is especially irritating when you suddenly hit a bomb and it’s game over. This problem occurs more in the menus, however, as Fruit Ninja Kinect ditches the Kinect’s seemingly standard menu navigation practice of hovering over a selection and waiting a few seconds. Instead, you slice a menu option as you would anything else in the game, but it tends to be a little too sensitive with its detection and it’s not uncommon to select a menu option you didn’t want to.
Minor issues aside, the experience is largely similar to its mobile counter-part. Because this is a Kinect game that is entirely focused on your torso and arm movements, it’s also possible to play in small bedrooms or fairly narrow living room spaces. There are only a few modes on offer, but they’re unique enough from each other to be enjoyable on their own. That said, ‘Classic’ mode is the one we found ourselves returning to the most—it offers the most challenge and requires Zen-state levels of concentration when the difficulty starts to amp up. When things do start to get hairy, the game begins to get surprisingly physical and you’re bound to find yourself sweating in a heated, fruit-destroying fury.
At 800 Microsoft Points, some might turn their nose up at this Kinect-enabled version of the mobile favourite, but Fruit Ninja Kinect genuinely doesn’t deserve such quick dismissal. It’s the same game in almost every way, albeit re-mastered to the strengths of a different platform that provides an alternative way of violently murdering hordes of opposing fruit with the original’s visual and technical appeal still kept thoroughly in place. The price of admission is a small cost to pay for the massive crowds of starved Kinect owners, and haters of fruit across the globe will undoubtedly get their money’s worth too.
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