By Jeremy M. Zoss in Reviews
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm
It could have been a failure in so many ways. And yet, it's somehow the exact opposite.
Fruit Ninja Kinect is one of the best Kinect games so far.
You could take that as a back-handed slam of the Kinect's weak game library, but it's not intended that way. As simple as FNK is, it's just flat-out fun. There's nothing to it -it's about chopping fruit with your hands and then... chopping more fruit. Okay, there's a little more complexity than that - there are bombs to avoid, power-ups to acquire and combos to set up, and multiple game modes with slight variations on the theme. But the bottom line is that it's about chopping fruit, and chopping fruit is fun.
Fruit Ninja Kinect has some of the most responsive one-to-one motion controls I've encountered thus far, and that's a big part of what makes it work. Fruit pops up, you karate slice through as many pieces as you can in a single chop (for the sake of combos) and you're awarded a score. In most modes, you're working against the clock, and the getting those multi-fruit combos is the key. Like real karate, restraint wins over flailing. Go nuts and you'll chop a lot of fruit, but you won't line up the combos that are key to high scores. And those high scores are what spurs you on. Like the best PopCap games, Fruit Ninja Kinect has that perfect "just one more round" potato chip appeal that will keep you standing in front of your TV for hours.
For your $10, you'll get Classic Mode, Zen Mode, Arcade Mode, Challenge Mode and a two-player party mode. The appeal of the head-to-head two-player mode is obvious, but for me the real draw is Arcade mode. With it's 60 second timer, the aforementioned "just one more round" appeal was highest here, although Challenge Mode is a close second. This mode gives you a different goal to accomplish each round, such as hitting a certain score in a certain mode, or beating a friend on a leaderboard - and who can resist shaming a friend? Zen mode gives you a longer timer, and Classic Mode emulates the mobile game, in which you chop until you miss three fruit or hit a bomb. Without the timer, it's the least compelling mode for me, which is like calling it the least tasty dessert.
That's what Fruit Ninja Kinect is: as dessert. It's simple, it's enjoyable and it's addictive. It won't be the game you show off first when friends want to play your Kinect, but it might be the one they like best. Yes, the very concept of Fruit Ninja Kinect is questionable. But ultimately, the only people you'll hear say that it isn't fun are those who haven't played it.
The Official Verdict: 4 out of 5
This review is based on an Xbox 360 copy of the game provided by the publisher.