Review: Fruit Ninja Kinect

Like Angry Birds, I had never heard of Fruit Ninja until it rose to incredible heights of popularity. As a consistently top-ranking mobile app, it’s finally making the leap to plenty of other platforms (including Facebook), and most recently Xbox Live Arcade. And where its life as an iPhone/iPad app relied heavily upon usage of the touch screen, Fruit Ninja Kinect now has the power of the Xbox 360’s pricey peripheral to back it up. While core Xbox 360 users such as myself still have yet to find a meaty title to sink our teeth into, Fruit Ninja Kinect is as satisfying as it is bizarre, as long as you break up your gameplay sessions into short, juicy chunks.

Fruit Ninja is played exactly as you’d expect: slashing motions slice through various fruits like a hot knife through butter. Bananas, oranges, apples, watermelons, and a variety of other juicy treats hurtle your way and you’re tasked with cutting them in half before they hit your silhouette or meander out of your field of vision. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the Kinect-enhanced version, and even though you’ve traded in the precision of the touch of your finger for the Kinect’s motion tracking, multi-fruit combos and collecting power-ups still feels just as sweet.

It’s easy enough to get caught up in the simple joys of slicing fruit, so Classic, Zen, and Arcade modes ensure you’re being challenged, allowed to play for the sake of tuning out and massacring some fruit, or set up with time on the clock to see how many points you can rack up in a 60 second time period. And while the Kinect provides cutting precision with each and every movement (startlingly accurate even in my small amount of space), the split-screen versus mode left me feeling a little cold, as when both players are sharing the same screen and play area, it’s difficult to slash only your own fruit rather than your opponent’s. However, working cooperatively worked the best for me and the friend I roped into stepping out of their iPhone comfort zone and into the world of Kinect.

Leaderboards and a mess of achievements round out the reasons why Fruit Ninja Kinect is a must-play for anyone who plunked down the cash on this sweet and juicy little time-waster. It’s silly, quick, and messy – in a good way, and though it isn’t soldiering forward the Kinect’s library of “ambitious” titles, it’s a decent reminder that one of the best reasons we play games is to have fun. Halfbrick Studios’ popular mobile title is certainly that, and its surprising how well the original game’s touchscreen control translates into completely touch-free control on Microsoft’s platform. Fruit Ninja Kinect can certainly bring the charm, but if you’re looking to stay within a budget, I’d recommend trying the more economically priced App first to whet your fruit chopping whistle.

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