Fruit Ninja is a game that a lot of people will recognize because the game is an absolute blast in Apple's growling library of iOS games. Now it's being featured on Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade, and while it may not be a hit to the hardcore crowd, the game is still a blast to play and is probably the most intuitive experience available on the Kinect.
What Is It?
Fruit Ninja Kinect offers no instructions. Quite frankly, it doesn't need any. Starting any mode automatically throws the play into the fire. Like the iOS version, Fruit Ninja Kinect is all about slicing fruit. That's really all it is. The five modes of play (Classic, Zen, Arcade, Party, and Challenge) all require you to slice all the fruit you see on the screen. Nothing more and nothing less. Each mode just handles things differently.
Classic Mode is a marathon that ends as soon as the player is unable to slice three fruit or accidentally slices a bomb.
Arcade Mode does away with Classic's strictness by allowing the player to miss any number of fruits and by making the accidental slice of a bomb simply result in a 10-point penalty. In addition, there are also special bananas that can freeze the action, cause a fruit frenzy where a whole bunch of fruit show up on the screen, and even cause the player to slice fruits for double the points. At the end, a special pomegranate appears that takes multiple slices to completely cut to further raise the player's point level and make them even more tired.
Zen mode is the last of the single-player modes and is the most subtle. Each level lasts only about a couple minutes and there are no bombs or special bananas to worry about. It's simply about slicing as many fruits as you can before the time runs out, getting as many combos as possible.
Lastly, there's a challenge mode that requires players to accomplish a specific goal in each level, such as score a certain number of points.
Why Should I Care?
On the surface, Fruit Ninja Kinect isn't all that different from the $1 game people are playing on their Apple devices. The main value the game has as a Summer of Arcade feature is the fact that the game is Kinect-enabled, and it makes great use of the hardware. Players are always aware of where to flail their arms because the silhouette remains visible at the center of the screen, making it easier to decide where to slash. If there's room, players can even kick the fruits, making them seem more like a ninja. With that, the controls are incredibly timely, exact, and responsive–even moreso than Kinect's marquee lineup of titles.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The game is simple and incredibly fun to play, while also being a title that makes wonderful use of the Kinect hardware. In reality, the game itself really has no flaws. It tries to raise the stakes by offering unlockables such as different backgrounds and "blades" to slice with, but it's still the same experience, and there's nothing wrong with that.
The problem is that it's available on another platform for a tenth of the price. The game is $10 on the Xbox Live Marketplace. It's 99¢ in the iOS App Store. As fun as it is to play, these games do have a short shelf life. So is $10 worth it even for what's currently the most responsive Kinect game available? That's hard to say.
What's easy to say is that it's a lot of fun, even if you have your friends laughing at you. Besides, you'll be laughing at them later when they're playing.