Fruit Ninja Kinect Hands-On Preview -- Virtually No Fruit is SafeBy Adam Rosenberg - Posted Jun 17, 2011
The popular mobile game Fruit Ninja, from Australian developer Halfbrick, requires that you imbue your finger with the grace and finesse of a trained dancer. Weaving complex patterns across the touchscreen on your device of choice, you skillfully slice your way through miles upon miles of airborne fruit, while avoiding the occasional bomb that gets chucked into your path. Your points score rises quickly as combos mount, and fruit starts to fly faster and more furiously. You're a Zen master though, quiet and patient, striking out with the tip of your digit only when the moment is right.
Summer of Arcade downloadable title Fruit Ninja Kinect is virtually unchanged from its smaller screen predecessor in terms of the gameplay, but in trading up from a touchscreen to a motion-sensing camera, the experience changes from an idyllic test of your concentration and patience to a muscle-straining workout of flailing arms and ridiculous posing.
It is, to sum things up simply, out of control fun.
As you've probably guessed from the title and above description, Fruit Ninja Kinect is built entirely around Microsoft's new-ish Xbox 360 peripheral, which was the company's big focus during this year's E3 festivities. The game is coming later this summer as an Xbox Live Marketplace at a price that falls in line with other Summer of Arcade releases. We've come a long way from a $0.99 tap-to-download purchase.
The bigger price means a bigger game, of course, and not just because, as Microsoft would probably have paid us to say it, "your body is the controller." All of the single player modes from the mobile game are here, Classic, Zen, and Arcade, along with a pair of multiplayer modes for local play. There's also an additional Challenge mode, which pits your chopping skills against a score set by someone on your friends list, as well as a system for unlocking different backgrounds and player shadow looks so that you can customize your game.
Overall, the game works exactly as you'd expect it to once you've replaced your single finger with a pair of hands and your body's full range of movement. The Kinect maps out the shape of your upper body and casts it in silhouette on the screen. As fruit flies around, you slash your hands in the air to cut them apart. It's much more difficult to be accurate here than it is with a touchscreen, so it's best to use exaggerated movements and constantly refer to the screen image as a guide.
The multiplayer modes show the most promise, as Fruit Ninja Kinect really translates best to the big screen as a party game. In cooperative mode, you and a partner each take one half of the screen and work together to grab as many points as possible. The competitive mode uses the same setup, only here each player is assigned a color, and all tossed fruit glows red or blue. The two colors stick mostly to opposite sides of the screen, but the occasional appearance of a white-glowing fruit -- bonus points for the first person to slice it -- keeps things interesting and, among the right friends, a little physically competitive.
Fruit Ninja Kinect takes a simple idea, one that has worked marvelously well in the mobile space, and blows it up into something bigger. The whole feel of the game changes as a result, even in spite of the fact that you're essentially reaching for the same goal. The "reach" is quite literal here, and it promises to lead to lots of ridiculous fun.