I’m sure you’ve had one of those moments where you do something, and at the exact same time know you shouldn’t be, right? My separated shoulder and I had that moment last night with the new Xbox Live Arcade title (the first of its kind on Kinect, mind you) Fruit Ninja Kinect.
I regret nothing.
Like its counterparts on iOS, Android, and WP7, Fruit Ninja Kinect is a fruit-slashing adventure for your finger…or, in this case, your hands and arms. It’s pretty simply really: fruit flies on the screen, and you wave your appendages to take ’em out. Extra points are awarded for combos of three or more fruit taken out with one slice. That simplicity makes the game easy to learn, fun to play, and at times, still pretty difficult to master.
The hot: Like its predecessors, Fruit Ninja Kinect offers three different game modes: Classic, Zen, and Arcade. Classic mode has you slicing each fruit that you see, aiming for combos whist avoiding the insta-death bombs that also pop up. If you miss three fruits or hit a bomb, it’s game over. In Zen, the objective is to get as many combos in the time allotted – and with no bombs to be seen. Arcade steps Zen mode up a notch in that you’re timed and have to produce combos for points, but hitting bombs brings your score down. Arcade mode also features three super-powered bananas that double your score, slow down the game, or product a frenzy of fruit to slash. All modes are pretty awesome.
The achievements in the game are attainable, but you’ll have to get practicing to unlock them—and that means you’re going to be in front of your Kinect for a bit flailing those arms. By the time I’d unlocked 140 of 200 gamerscore, I needed a shower. Fruit Ninja Kinect gets bonus points for exercise that didn’t feel like exercise. Add to that the weekly leaderboards, showing how you rate against your friends, and you’ll be flailing for quite a while longer just to beat your dastardly “nemesis” – or as I like to call him, Jiggsy2Point0 (check the Zen scores, bud!).
The coldish-meh: Coldish-meh, you ask? Well, let me put it this way: the game starts off leaving a sour taste in your mouth, and after five or so rounds, it doesn’t. It starts off sh*te, and then quickly gets into shrug-it-off territory. Allow me to explain.
For me, Classic was the most enjoyable mode on my WP7 device, but my least favourite on Kinect. The reason? On a phone, using your finger, you know exactly where you’re cutting. Release your finger from the screen, and no more cuts are made. No so much on Kinect. You swing your arm to the left to hit fruit? Perfect. Then, usually, you’ll bring your arm back to the side. Half the time Kinect thought that movement was a slice, and half the time it didn’t – not so bad some times, but horrible when a bomb pops up in your movement path. Don’t get me started on how many times I brushed my sweaty hair back or scratched my nose and ended up hitting a bomb after 200 or so hard-earned points.
Other times in Zen and Arcade, I had seven fruits lined up perfectly, made a huge slash motion – and nothing happened. It gets a bit frustrating, especially when that group of fruits would have gained you a high-score or achievement.
Overall, some of those Kinect-y problems aside, the game definitely succeeds at taking a mobile-based swipe game and translating it to a console-based motion-controlled platform. You get used to the subtle differences after a while – I found it easiest to cup my slicing hand in that Burger King/Hungry Jack’s “Whopper hold” that you see in commercials, and moving my arm in a way that positioned the fruit I wanted to slash between my fingers.
You’re making the “Whopper hold” motion right now, aren’t you? Stop it. Go get the game and do it THEN. For 800 Microsoft Points (or free with a copy of The Gunslinger, this game is a steal. Fruit Ninja Kinect gets a pretty close to top marks and hopefully is the first in many more great Kinect-based Arcade titles to come.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go ice my shoulder.