The Summer of Arcade has been pretty good this year, especially for its leadoff and cleanup games. Bastion was very well received for the unique storytelling and environment; Fruit Ninja Kinect is the first ever XBLA Kinect game. After weeks of watching the Food channel and previews for FNK, I decided to give it a try. This is my story.
I have a limited history with Fruit Ninja. I am well aware of its success in the mobile market; hell, I’ve even seen it playable on 42-inch touchscreen monitors at Dave & Busters. The concept is as simple as it gets: Let no fruit go unsliced.
Step 1: Get decent lighting. FNK seems more sensitive than other Kinect games when it comes to tracking. If the Kinect can’t get a solid read on you, then your shadow won’t even pop up on the screen. There are few things more frustrating than getting cheated out of Pomegranate hits. More on that in a bit.
Arcade mode is my personal favorite. You have 60 seconds to score as many points as possible, making combo slicing very important. The more fruit you slice in a single swipe, the higher the combo bonus; for additional points/awesomeness, string multiple combos together. Three types of Bonus Bananas occasionally pop up: Freeze (stops time), Frenzy (mass fruit production), and Double Points (doubles your…points?). You don’t want to be within six feet of someone who gets all three simultaneously.
Every arcade session ends with Pomegranate Punishment. Seriously. I capitalize it out of respect. This is probably the best way to describe it, though you are likely not as cool as this guy. It’s approximately five seconds of furiously waving your arms to hit the Pomegranate as many times as possible.
I played a couple games of co-op and versus gameplay with my girlfriend and I inevitably got slapped a few times, but it was still fun. This is also probably the easiest way to get a couple of the more difficult achievements, like slicing 8 or more fruit with one swing.
Other than the obvious “it can get repetitious,” I don’t have a bad thing to say. Halfbrick knows fruit slicing and didn’t stray from the winning formula it discovered on the iPhone. I consider the 800 MSP ($10) pricing a win, as the other Summer of Arcade games were all 1200 Microsoft Points. If you have a Kinect, this is at least worth a demo.