August 8, 2011 3:00 PM | Michael Rose
I remember having numerous conversations with people when Microsoft's Kinect was first announced, where everyone agreed that the hardware would do well as long as it didn't see a barrage of games where you simply stood in front of the TV and swiped your arms about frantically. Imagine my surprise, then, when I played Fruit Ninja Kinect and discovered that this is, in fact, exactly what Kinect needed.
Fruit Ninja Kinect takes the original smartphone touch-screen game and blows it up for the big screen. Instead of swiping fruit with your finger, you're instead cutting them down with your arms and, if you feel like it, your feet too. Fruit is launched onto the screen, and you're looking to slice through it all and coat the screen in juice.
It's impossible to understand how much fun this game is without trying it yourself. I admit, before actually playing, I'd already dismissed it as a silly use of the Kinect technology. But how wrong I was - this is now easily one of my favourite Kinect games, and everyone who owns the hardware should give it a try.
What makes it so playable is the incredible feeling of precision. Every slice you make appears on the screen exactly where you aimed it, and it's so intricate that you can make a perfect cut through a fruit and around a bomb, and know that, if the bomb goes off, it was your fault and nothing to do with the game. Games like this can feel frustrating if you don't feel in complete control, but this is definitely not an issue.
There are plenty of modes to play through, most taken straight from the original smartphone release. Bombs appear on the screen and need to be avoided, while special power-ups allow you to concentrate on setting up epic combos and earning more points. Online scoreboards spur you on to give it just one more go over and over again, and a new special fruit sees you chopping away furiously on the spot.
The only real issue with Fruit Ninja Kinect is that it doesn't really last all that long. After a couple of hours, I felt like I'd seen enough and didn't feel like continuing. Having said that, it's great as a party game - you can take it in turns to beat each other's scores, or fire up the two player mode and slice fruit alongside your friends.
Kinect owners - make sure you don't dismiss this one lightly, as there is plenty of fun to be had. Fruit Ninja Kinect will be available to download from Xbox Live Arcade from this Wednesday.