It’s easy to be sceptical of a game that is essentially ported from iphone to console, lets face it there aren’t many iphone games which grip your attention for more than 5 minutes, I might be been harsh but Fruit Ninja is what you expect, it’s fun in small doses but once the novelty wears off there really isn’t much depth and you begin to understand why Fruit Ninja Kinect unlike its summer of arcade counterparts is only 800MSP and not 1200MSP.
That been said, there is something special about this release as it is the first arcade release to use Kinect (XBLIG Avatar Superstar does Kinect but is a pretty dire game!) and as such I was excited about it. There is something fun about Kinect but sadly Fruit Ninja translates pretty averagely. The first issue I had was on the menu, unlike other Kinect games where you hover over what option you wish to select , you slice into the option you want to chose, this is all good and well but it’s incredibly easy to catch the wrong button, there were several times where I caught replay instead of quit, that said it’s only a minor issue and more likely stems from the amount of room Kinect requires.
Once you boot up the game you’re given a few options, the first mode I played was arcade mode, in theory this can go on forever, permitting you don’t slice a bomb or miss 3 pieces of fruit. It’s fairly basic and as with all the modes available it’s about getting the highest score you can, the longer you go on the more difficult it becomes with more fruit and more bombs, the fun of the high scores here been with the leaderboards as you can compare your score to your friends, indeed one of the achievements is to rank higher than your friends on the weekly leaderboard.
So how does it play? Surprisingly well, the hit detection feels precise and not once did I feel my arm movements weren’t recognised. Your body is shown as a shadow on the background (you can change/unlock backgrounds) and you use your arms to slice fruit that appears on screen, you get a bonus for hitting 3+ fruits at any one time. Across the different game modes (Classic, Arcade, Zen) you can earn different power-ups including one that doubles your scores and turns the screen colourful. You can also, through, completing challenges/getting high scores unlock different slice trails such as fire, pixels and more, they add a little more colour to the game and give you a reason to try to keep gaining those high scores.
One thing you will notice is that you will find yourself just waving your hands everywhere, in some ways this is good, it’s easy to pick up and play but it detracts from any sort of skill, although that said mindlessly waving your hands will only get you so far as more and more bombs appear on screen and slice one of those and it’s game over!
On to the game modes, I’ve already mentioned classic mode, no time limit, just fruit and bombs, miss 3 pieces of fruit or hit the bomb the game is over. There’s also Zen mode where by you get bombarded by extraneous hazards and power-ups meaning combo’s are your best bet at survival/high scores. Finally, in terms of single player, there is arcade mode, which like with zen mode is limited by time so again you need to ensure you are picking up some sweet combos. Moving on there are two modes in local multiplayer, co-operative or battle mode. Both have time limits, in co-op you work together to get the highest score whilst in battle you fight again your friend, you can’t hit their fruit, you instead have to hit your own but there are bonus fruits that will give you extra points. What is disappointing is the distinct lack of online multiplayer, I do feel like the games re playability could have benefited from such an addition. One other disappointingly lacking feature is any sort of video replay or Kinect share, it’s always fun to watch back how much of an idiot you look and again it feels like an opportunity missed!
There are loads of unlockables in the Dojo, I did touch upon this before you can unlock new backgrounds and new trails but it’s horribly laborious to navigate, it’s so easy to mis-select options and constantly having to go between the screens using Kinect to select new unlockables can sometimes feel a little tasking.
Something I failed to mention early was how Fruit Ninja Kinect will track your whole body. I previously mentioned how could the tracking of the game was with one exception, you feel like you have to kick quite high for it detect full body movement but it is nice to see that the full body tracking was implemented. I do feel that this is more of a hardware issue with Kinect seemingly always calibrating to the waste line up. And whilst on the subject of calibrating, I was shocked at how much calibration Fruit Ninja Kinect took, whilst on the game itself there was none, I did experience calibrating in-between menus which made loading between menus feel slow and sluggish, fortunately this doesn’t affect the actual gameplay.
I find Fruit Ninja Kinect a hard game to review, on the one hand visually it’s very bright and colourful and the core simple gameplay is fun and addictive (this is the game that has sold over 20 million copies on mobile devices!), however, I do feel that the game lacks any sort of depth and in many ways feels like a glorified mini-game. Sure there are enough modes to keep you going but don’t be fooled, you can experience all the game has to offer in terms of gameplay in one session but that isn’t want will bring you back but it is the simplicity, bluntly put it’s a fantastic party and arcade game that you will undoubtedly have fun with, is the content worth 800MSP? 800MSP is definitely the highest price point, I think the best way to approach Fruit Ninja Kinect is to try it, if you have friends over or family that play Kinect with you then you’ll grab plenty of game time from this but if you only play Kinect on your own then you’re going to have a wait a bit longer for a core single player experience.
Overall Kinect Fruit Ninja is a fun premise, but unlike with finger swipes throwing your hands around makes it much more difficult to avoid bombs so ultimately you can feel at times like your throwing your hands around just to keep your hands away from the bombs but don’t let this detract you, for 800MSP points you get a simple idea, executed well that is fun and addictive. Fruit Ninja Kinect is certain to be a mainstay when you have family and friends around. As the game tag goes you don’t just get to be the Ninja, you are the Ninja!
|Simple, addictive, fun gameplay, Lovely bright colours||Menu's can be tedious, not much depth behind the gameplay|