Developers Halfbrick certainly know their stuff, taking a simple concept and wrapping it up into a package that is probably installed on over half the iDevices in the world. Fruit Ninja is one of the first games I bought and installed to my iPod, and was subsequently one of the first games I bought in HD for my iPad. Now it has landed on the Xbox Live Arcade in the form of a Kinect title. It had to happen.
The game itself plays well on a big screen; it is no different in concept to the original versions, with a plethora of brightly-coloured, cartoony fruit flying through the air, and the player tasked with slicing it out of existence while avoiding the random bombs that are thrown into the mix.
All the latest game modes (Arcade being my favourite) are there, and the new Challenge modes certainly add some ‘one more go’ spice. The same strategy is still employed, as you try to rack up the points with effective combos, and the user interface is as intuitive as a Kinect title could ever be.
It handles really well. The Kinect unit projects your shadow onto the back wall, and that is your guide to movements; punch, chop, swipe, elbow or kick, the choice is yours. The pace of the game can soon become manic, and the sensitive interface keeps up well without any of the lag that some community members like to notice in other titles. My only concern is that it can be all too easy to make a menu selection by accident, an innocent scratch of the elbow can put you back into another round of Arcade Mode, but games are short and the theme of the day is fun – so that’s really not too big a deal.
As with the iDevice versions, the game comes with a bunch of unlockable items that change the appearance of your blade and the background – something for completionists to strive towards, especially as the game gives you some indication of how much further you have to go to get the goods. Not to mention some reasonably achievable achievements and Avatar Awards (one Karate Pyjama Suit coming right up).
Sound-wise, the game does what it needs to do. The music can become grating, but the sound effects of chopped fruit are as satisfyingly squelchy as they ever were.
For me, Fruit Ninja proves that a Kinect title can be simple, fun and a pleasure to go back to for a quick blat. As much as I have enjoyed playing the touch screen versions there is something about chopping the fruit through Kinect that satisfies a primal urge, not only is it goading me to better my scores and those of my friends it is helping me work up a little sweat without having to jump up and down.
Consider this title 800 MS Points well spent.
Lasting Appeal: 7.0