Fruit Ninja is a game that, by all reasonable standards, has no right to be so idiotically entertaining. A sensation on the mobile scene to rival Angry Birds, the game’s absurdly simple concept of just slicing fruit works brilliantly with the Xbox 360’s Kinect. In fact, it works so well, Fruit Ninja may well be the best game yet to use Microsoft’s super camera.
The big screen version of Fruit Ninja is largely identical to the one on your phone. The interface has switched from your finger to your hand (or, really, your whole body), but otherwise this is exactly the same fruit-slashing action millions have come to know and love. Also, at 800 points (or about $10), it’s certainly more expensive than the mobile version. The reward for that extra cash is a game that’s as hilarious to watch as it is to play.
For the few who haven’t experienced the wonder that is Fruit Ninja, the concept is as simple as it gets. Fruit flies up onto the screen, and you swipe at it to cut it in half. If there’s a group of fruit, you’ll get bonus points for cutting multiple fruit in half at once. In the main game, bombs will fly up as well, and slashing them will end the game. Missing too many fruit also ends the game.
There’s the zen mode as well, for those that want to leisurely cut fruit for a minute or two. The Kinect version adds a party mode that allows two players to slash fruit together, although the potential for personal injury and the slapping of each other instead of fruit looms large. Achievements and high scores unlock new blades and dojos, which essentially means different colored slash marks against different backgrounds.
While the game itself is the same, the motion controls turn Fruit Ninja into an original experience. The game helps players relate to the screen by superimposing a ninja-like shadow image on the screen. This shadow figure mimics the player’s moves exactly, and helps immensely with creating a sense of connection to the screen. Admittedly, the shadow becomes background noise and there are some spots on the screen that are consistently hard to cover.
The lower corners of the screen are especially hard to reach no matter how the Kinect is set up, so expect some fast moves and kicks to catch all the fruit. As expected, how well Fruit Ninja functions depends on how well the Kinect works. The game is definitely one of the most user-friendly and responsive Kinect games available, but don’t expect miracles if the Kinect normally has issues with its location.
Blast Factor: Fruit Ninja isn’t deep or complex, but for a shallow good time, there are few games that virtually everyone—no matter their age or gaming prowess—can just start playing and have fun. The move to the Kinect is a natural one and the game is simply one of the best uses yet for the camera. Fruit Ninja is a cheap good time, and one that will likely burn a surprising amount of calories to boot.