OXCGN’s Fruit Ninja Kinect Review
Flailing ‘about’ has never been so fun
©2011 Gav Ross
Having the honoured distinction of being the first Kinect-enabled Xbox Live Arcade title, Fruit Ninja Kinect has more pressure to deliver the goods than most downloadable titles.
Can slashing randomised produce with your arms be as fun as kicking back with an iPhone and just making your index finger tired?
Actually, it’s not just as fun, it’s even better.
Taste the rainbow
In the unlikely case that you’re unfamiliar with the iOS original that has sold its pants off on iTunes, Fruit Ninja is a simple premise: various pieces of fruit leap up from the bottom of the screen and it’s up to you, the ninja, to slice through them with the grace of a martial arts expert.
It’s not just about slicing each piece that appears in front of your eyes, however, as the patient ninja can slice through several melons, apples or kiwifruit at once if there’s a few moments wait for them all to align.
When playing the game for the first time, it’s easy to wave your arms around like a panicked person being engulfed by a swarm of wasps, trying your very best to decimate each piece of fruit before it falls below the bottom of the screen.
But by mastering a certain amount of finesse, playing Fruit Ninja Kinect can make you look somewhat as nimble as Jackie Chan.
There is definitely something vastly more satisfying about slicing fruit on screen with full arm motions instead of just your fingers.
Anyone can lie back in bed, idly swiping their finger or thumb across the small face of a phone: it actually takes effort, however, to stand and unleash swift, precise slices across your body.
After only a few rounds your arms, unless you’re a body builder or someone who happens to be used to exercising their limbs a lot, will hurt like hell. That’s one thing Halfbrick could probably add to the marketing of this game if they wanted: ‘guaranteed to make your arms feel like they’re on fire or your money back’.
The ‘Classic’ mode in Fruit Ninja Kinect is probably the best option to start off with.
Things begin calmly with only one or two pieces of fruit appearing on the screen at once, interspersed with deadly bombs, which really aren’t too
hard to avoid.
Later on in the same mode it all becomes a little hairy with bombs launching almost right next to fruit, and the fact that there’s a ‘three
strikes and you’re out’ rule relating to fruit that rises and drops from the screen without being sliced means that even though this is a good training level, it’s also over pretty fast.
Zen mode consists of lots of fruit, no consequences and a time limit. It’s an almost overwhelming free-for-all of fruit all at once, with special pieces of
bounty popping up occasionally that add bonuses such as double points or a temporary freezing effect. The key to Zen mode is racking up combos: slice 3 pieces of fruit in one swoop and you can feel smugly confident, slice 7 or more at once and you can feel almost god-like.
Other types of games include Challenge mode (pretty self-explanatory – each level requires a different goal, usually points-related) and Arcade mode – a fun mixture of bonus fruit and bombs all at once.
The lack of online multiplayer seems obvious at first, but its absence is only minor. Leaderboards mean that you’ll be checking efforts from your friend’s list far too often in order to pip their latest high score.
There is a local multiplayer mode which sees both players standing side-by-side and slashing at fruit that is colour-assigned to each player – which is fun until one participant gets walloped in the face by a wayward hand. It’s next to
impossible to play Fruit Ninja Kinect alongside someone without hitting them.
Or, I should say, it’s next to impossible if you have a small to average sized lounge room.
Fruit Ninja Kinect is certainly the most accessible and enjoyable Kinect experience yet. There would be the valid argument for Child Of Eden to be ahead of this in terms of depth and value, of course, but when it comes to immediacy you can’t beat Fruit Ninja.
Anyone can stand in front of the screen and understand what they need to do in a matter of seconds.