Fruit Ninja Kinect Review
Microsoft Xbox 360
I woke up the other day with a hangover. It's not the same kind of hangover you might usually get - no, this one was in my arm. Slowly piecing together memories of the night before, I realised. I'd played Fruit Ninja Kinect for two hours straight. I hadn't meant to, but there's something about the challenge mode that pits your score against your friends list that has that same indefinable "one more go" factor that Geometry Wars had. As a result I had - for the first time - ninjured myself in pursuit of a high score.
But back to basics - what is Fruit Ninja? Well, it's exactly as it sounds - you're a ninja who chops fruit. The fruits go up, you chop them with your arms, your score goes up. Simple, right? But added into the mix are bombs that reduce your score (or in some game modes, actually end your game), combos for slicing multiple fruit, and magic bananas that alter the gameplay, throwing a little strategy in the mix. There's a few basic modes of play - arcade, which is a 60 second high score run, zen, which removes the bomb element for an altogether calmer experience, and challenge which throws challenges at you based on your own scores and those of your friends.
Then there's the co-op. We'd caution you to only play it with someone who you had a close enough relationship with that accidentally smacking them in the face or knocking off an ornament isn't going to lead to weeks of sulking. There are two varieties of multiplayer - co-operative and competitive, which are exactly as they sound. We'd recommend co-operative, because competitive tends to lead to nasty incidents in which the other player's arms are "accidentally" interefered with.
There's not much to say about it. It works, for the most part, we found Kinect to be accurate with only the odd missed swipe. In an ideal world, the achievements would have added another dimension to the game (they're pretty straightforward, being of the high score, high combo variety) and extend the lifespan in the way that Geometry Wars 2 made you play the game in a different way, but that's nit-picking.
For some, Fruit Ninja Kinect was the ginger stepchild of this year's Summer Of Arcade line-up. A mobile phone game? Tarted up for Kinect? For ten times the cost? Pah. As it turns out, they couldn't have been more wrong - it just feels right to play this with Kinect, and that extra - very real - physical dimension is well worth the additional cost. Fruit Ninja is Kinect's first truly killer party game, a great high-score title and the kind of thing anyone can instantly understand, pick up and play. It's a sure sign that Kinect titles have a place in the XBLA line-up.