Fruit Ninja Kinect (Xbox 360)
Developer: Halfbrick
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Released: August 10, 2011
Price: 800 MS Points

We’re not the biggest Kinect fans in the office. With a few exceptions (ahem, Dance Central, ahem), most of the titles are lackluster attempts at tapping the casual market, and sloppy attempts at that. But the mobile phone game turned arcade title - Fruit Ninja Kinect - is a ridiculously, mindlessly fun game that we could play for hours if it were not for this particular reviewer’s feeble muscles. Ok, fine, non-existent muscles.

FOUR MODES OF FRUIT-SLICING

There are four modes to hone your ninja-slicing skills. Let’s start with our least favorite: Classic Mode. As frustrating as barely scratching the eight ball in pool, Classic Mode has you avoiding the crafty little bombs that pop up in between the brightly colored fruit. It almost feels like if you so much as look at one the wrong way, you’ll be forfeiting that score you just spent 10 minutes building. One accidental strike against those things will lose you your game.

Zen Mode suits this motion-gameplay best. Bursts of fruit will fly at all angles, with the only restriction being a time limit instead of the pesky bombs. Take a swig of the nearest energy drink, because you’ll be slashing in all directions for a minute and thirty seconds. Arcade mode is a similarly more forgiving environment. Bombs exist, but they’ll only dock your score by 10 points rather than completely boot you from your game. You’ve got sixty seconds and three different bonus bananas to help you out: Frenzy, Freeze and Double Points. Obviously, the most ideal combination would be to grab the double point boost, get an overload of fruit with Frenzy and Freeze it all to ensure you slice every single one of those juicy targets.

NOTHING SAYS SOCIAL LIKE COMPETITION

One of the most appealing aspects of this game, though, is duking it out with your friends. Whether it’s topping the leaderboards by taking your Xbox LIVE friends on in Challenge Mode, or playing some side-by-side battle or team-playing Arcade Mode, there’s no beating the constant thirst for challenge in Fruit Ninja Kinect. It’s all about the score in this game.

The polish that went into Fruit Ninja Kinect is near perfect. Even just barely three feet away from the sensor under the confines of our office cubicle didn’t hinder the calibration of the Kinect. The only situation where Fruit Ninja Kinect didn’t live up to this ease of use was in using the menu UI. Don’t even think about scratching your nose, because the game will excitedly pick this up as a cue that you want to get playing yet again while you desperately scramble for the controller only to realize that: remember, this is a Kinect game.

Fruit Ninja Kinect isn’t the most in-depth title you will play this year, but it’s definitely one of the most entertaining. Challenging yourself to slice every last shiny fruit, and to beat your friends’ scores can be surprisingly engaging. Plus, how else are you going to have your dream of ninja-blade arms realized?

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Score: 9/10

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