Fruit Ninja Kinect: review


Format: XBLA (Kinect)

Unleashed: Out Now

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Developer: Halfbrick Studios

Players: 1-2 (locally)


Fruit Ninja for iOS devices already proved that chopping oranges and pineapples to bits is way more entertaining than it should be, and porting it to the Kinect smelled of grabbing for cash– maybe even desperation. After all, Microsoft’s borderline creepy camera that watches you leap around your home isn’t exactly swimming in quality products. That’s why the creatively titled Fruit Ninja Kinect is such a lovely surprise; it’s a quality piece of software that makes a successful concept even better.

And that concept isn’t difficult to grasp: fruit will be tossed upwards and you must slice it. Of course, no longer will you swipe your finger along a screen to accomplish this, as your entire body becomes a watermelon-wasting weapon of war. Colourful fruit of all shapes and sizes will sail by as you slice, punch, and– if you’re feeling bold — kick it straight out of the air. Trying to rack up combos by cutting through bunches of fruit at once is as satisfying as the splatters of juice on the backdrop.

Slash those strawberries! Cut those coconuts! Punch those pineapples! Obliterate those oranges! Attack those apples! We could go on, trust us.

You’ll soon discover that any fighting style involving your limbs will work, whether you’re pretending to wield a pair of nunchaku like a Ninja Turtle, swinging your arms like an over-exuberant boxer, or thrusting to and fro as would a mighty samurai. Admittedly, we found ourselves grinning foolishly at the TV screen, panting and out of breath, after a particularly rousing battle as a Jedi knight.

Fruit Ninja Kinect’s technology works like a charm. The camera does a great job of calibrating silhouettes (a smart, subtle choice for representing players) and movement is snappy as can be. Minor twitches occasionally show up as haphazard slashes, especially in the all-too-sensitive menu, but that rarely interrupts your masterful demonstrations of martial arts.

Your arms are likely to fall off during this end-of-level extravaganza, but in a good way.

There are plenty of modes to keep the core mechanics fresh, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Letting a fruit escape or striking a bomb will knock you down a life in some game types, while others focus on power-ups and timers. A riotous multiplayer mode, both co-op and versus, is there for those with local friends, along with leaderboard support if they’re not so close at hand.

But now we come to the stickler: price point. Fruit Ninja Kinect runs for 800 Microsoft Points, which is a bitter pill to swallow considering the dirt cheap iOS version. New backgrounds, blade effects, and shadows for your character model can be unlocked (along with a host of worthy achievements), but with a concept this simple, there’s only so much you can do.

Multiplayer often involves punching each other in the head, but in a good way.

Nevertheless, in the face of questionable technology, a steep asking price, and essentially existing as an elaborate mini-game from EyeToy Play (anyone remember that?), Fruit Ninja Kinect does almost everything right. It only does one thing, mind you, but it does it well.


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Written by Stephen K

A lover of video games in general, Stephen will happily play just about any sort of game on just about any sort of system, especially if it's a platformer or an RPG. Except sports games. Sports games are boring.

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