Fruit Salad à la Ninja (Fruit Ninja Kinect)
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Warning: Playing may result in frenzied action, heightened competitiveness, and mild addiction. Extended exposure may also result in jellified arms and possessiveness of the gaming console. If you experience any of these symptoms, tag the closest person to help you…slice fruit like a boss!
After playing Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja Kinect for a straight hour and a half, I felt like the game needed the above disclaimer! Fruit Ninja Kinect proves to be highly addictive and entertaining, and it’s great for players both young and old, newbies and old-timers (as it were). People who are familiar with the Smartphone Fruit Ninja game will be excited to hear that you’ve got all the original modes available, with added modes and goodies that’ll make this a worthwhile addition to your Xbox Live Arcade collection.
For those unfortunate few of you who have never partook in the awesomeness of Fruit Ninja, the goal is simple: Your arms and hands are your weapons, and you slice through fruit that are tossed on screen, while avoiding nasty bombs that will either end your game or deduct 10 points (depending on what mode you’re playing). Special fruit will yield various power-ups: an icy banana will freeze the time and put everything in slow motion; a jazzy blue banana hands out double points; and a fiery red/orange banana will cause a fruit, and subsequent slicing, frenzy.
As a player who absolutely abhors the frustrating bombs but still likes a challenge, I thoroughly enjoy the Arcade mode where you have 60 seconds to attack the fruit and aim for a high score. Bombs in this mode only remove 10 points, and Halfbrick tacked on a fun Pomegranate at the end of the round. The giant red fruit fills the middle of the screen, and players have a few seconds to slice it as many times as humanly possible; the number of slices is then added as bonus points to the total score. Similarly, in the Team Arcade Mode, two players work side-by-side to clear the screen of fruit within the allotted minute. It’s games like these that are extremely addictive; You don’t feel obligated to stick with the game for hours on end, in hopes of furthering a plot, finishing quests and such, yet somehow “just one more round” turns into an hour’s worth of playtime!
The gameplay is easy to pick up, even for adults who are usually disinclined to play videogames. My mom was watching me play, and I invited her to try out the game. Within minutes, she was hogging the TV, slicing fruit like a pro – she even managed to avoid all the bombs in her second try! Every time a round ended, I half expected her to call it quits, but she stuck around for almost an hour. Together, we tried the Party modes (both Team Arcade and Battle). The Team Arcade was the better of the two – though we had to be careful not to hit each other in our wide-swept, frenzied movements! Battle mode pits two players against each other in a split screen game, and the goal is to hit fruit outlined in your colour (either blue or red) and to avoid the other player’s fruit which will yield a negative point. While Battle mode could be fun for the more competitive types, I felt like it wasn’t necessarily equal opportunity, as fruits seemed to show up on one player’s side more so than the other’s. Better to stick with Team Arcade, I say.
The graphics in Fruit Ninja Kinect are very similar to the Smartphone version, with the addition of the player’s shadow which helps orient the player’s movements. The contrast of colourful fruit against the plain wall background (e.g. bamboo wall, Asian painting in neutral tones) makes it easier to track your targets. It’s amusing to watch the fruit juices splatter in different patterns, making the walls your personal canvas. The colours are vibrant, but not overwhelmingly so. As mentioned, I played for about 90 minutes, and my eyes didn’t hurt when I finally stepped away. Another fun addition to the game is the unlockable blade options, all of which have their own quirky graphics. My favourite is the Butterfly Knife which has purple butterflies trailing in its wake.
However, it’s the sound effects that totally make this game the gem that it is. Fruits squelch and squirt with each slice, and the subtle ‘pop’ of fruit launching signals to the player to start karate-chopping. Similarly, a distinct ping sounds right before a bomb is lobbed into the air, and if you’re too busy wind-milling your arms and hit the bomb, the tiny rattle makes you realize your booboo (all too late) right before the big explosion. These minute details in the sound effects carry the game, and it’s easy to overlook the fact that there isn’t a soundtrack or other background noises to contend with (with the exception of the Zen Mode which has the occasional bird chirping). Not that this game needs a soundtrack – it’s unnecessary with all the craziness going on during gameplay!
One thing that really stuck out with Fruit Ninja Kinect is how apartment-friendly it is. In my experience with other Kinect games, my tiny living-room has just enough space (after I’ve engaged in some creative furniture moving) for the Kinect to track my movements. However, with Fruit Ninja, I can basically leave everything as is and sit in front of the TV for the Kinect to calibrate my arm movements perfectly. That brings me to the other awesome aspect of this game: the calibration. While you’re playing, if someone walks in front of the TV and Kinect camera, your shadow disperses but comes back within the next second (so long as the interrupter isn’t standing right in front of you). The game doesn’t fritz because the Kinect lost track of you, and you’re not bumped to a pause screen where you have to wave your hand frantically in hopes of re-calibration.
In all of its fun-filled addictiveness, Fruit Ninja Kinect is hard to walk away from. You can play by yourself or with your friends, but I guarantee that you won’t stop slicing until your arms are suddenly tired – and then you realize that you’ve been exercising your upper limbs for the entire duration. If I haven’t made it clear yet: I’m recommending this game to everyone! To the Fruit Ninja fans, frustrated Kinect owners who live in cramped spaces, kids and parents, and people looking for an amazing game to play. For the competitive players that compulsively collect gamer points: Fruit Ninja Kinect has a total of 200 GP’s worth of achievements for you to err…achieve. Since my biggest (and only) complaint is the Battle Mode’s fruit inequality, I’m giving Fruit Ninja Kinect a rating of 4.75 / 5.0.
About This Post