RipTen Review: Fruit Ninja Kinect (XBLA)
Not long ago, an evil mastermind crafted a plan to kill us all using the most powerful substance known to man: fruit. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to judo chop all those fruits in twain.
Fruit Ninja Kinect
is one of the Xbox Live Arcade Summer of Arcade arcade games, in which you arcade your Kinect to ninja some fruit. I thought this would involve stealing, but it doesn’t. Instead, you’ll see your shadow self on screen reflecting your supreme beefcake-itude and ginzu hands. Fruit will be tossed up, which you are commanded to slice into pieces. It’s quite simple, really.
There are several modes, including “slice fruit with a time limit” mode, “slice fruit without missing any or setting off any bombs” mode, and “slice fruit while… something happens but I’m not sure how it’s different from the other modes” mode. The options are near limitless!
So I try all the different modes, and they… exist. Bonuses are acquired by slicing 3 or more fruit in one swipe; hitting special fruits can slow time, double the point values, or initiate a “frenzy,” which is basically the fruit equivalent of a multi-ball. There are also special “slice this a million times while we freeze your screen” fruits that give you a few seconds to spaz out before they explode — these are usually the last fruits you’ll see before your time runs out. The whole process of fruit slicing earns you points, and you eventually unlock new backgrounds, blade styles, and shadow forms.
These options become available in the Sensei’s Swag shop, which features the most frustrating, piece-of-shit menu navigation system I have ever experienced in my life. You can scroll up or down the list by slicing up or down, and the speed of that slice determines how far the menu scrolls. So, take for example the idea that you swipe down but don’t go far enough, so you have to raise your hand into the air in order to be able to swipe down again — trust me, that’s just simple geometry. In doing so, however, the GODDAMN SCREEN SCROLLS THE WRONG DIRECTION BECAUSE YOU RAISED YOUR HAND TOO FAST AND IT REGISTERED AS A SLICE. Now you’re farther away, so you swipe down again with a similar result. Repeat until you accidentally hit okay or back or give up because it’s taking too long.
And that’s the biggest problem with the game — accuracy. Or, maybe precision. Either way, you’ll likely find yourself not slicing the fruit you clearly should have just sliced, or accidentally slicing something you clearly did not slice. Sometimes my slices would go unrecognized completely, so I would lose because the game didn’t want to register my hands. Actually, I found that if I sliced too fast, the game wouldn’t pick it up at all, while slicing slowly would result in me looking like a fairy. Solution: I grabbed a butter knife to use as my sword, which surprisingly helped a bit. I also stood behind my couch at one point, so my shadow was cut off at the dong. The dong, my friends, is a perpetual slicing machine that routinely got me into trouble.
Of course, I can’t say whether these problems are the result of the game itself or the Kinect hardware, but it exists on a level much more obvious in this game than, say, Dance Central. I can see how a game like this could be fun on some kind of touchscreen system, as the popularity of the original 99-cent iOS version clearly illustrates. On the Kinect, however, it lacks the precise slicing that would be necessary to really excel at the game. Even if it were totally accurate and didn’t make me yell in frustration every time my perfectly timed side-slice to a line of fruit doesn’t even register, I would still be looking for something else to play within 20 minutes.
The coolest part of Fruit Ninja Kinect
is the simple idea that “Hey, I can chop through the air and it knows where my hands are and the fruit gets cut in half, a durrr.” As technology goes, that idea is kinda cool. The Kinect has been out a while now, however, so the novelty is starting to wear off, and there’s not much else really out there yet to show off Kinect’s potential. Fruit Ninja definitely didn’t do it, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to cost 10 times more than the iOS version.
If we were ever to be invaded by fruit and the only way to save the planet was to stand in front of our TVs flailing our hands about, I can attest to the notion that the fruit would win. Not because the fruit is overly powerful, nor because my hands do not flail fast enough. No, it is because the fruit will still be flying long after I’ve grown bored of it, and I’ll be too busy thinking about the 10 bucks I just wasted to fight back. Also, porn.