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Slicing and dicing

Slicing and dicing
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First Published: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 08 21 PM IST

High intensity: The game looks silly but is energetic and enjoyable.
High intensity: The game looks silly but is energetic and enjoyable.
Updated: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 08 21 PM IST
Fruit Ninja began as an iPhone game with a silly concept. You were a ninja who was swiping, slashing and committing all kinds of violence—against fruit. The silliness of the concept in no way diminished the fun that was to be had from the game, and it quickly became one of the top 10 games on the iPhone, Android phones and tablets.
As a Rs 50 download on the app store, it was successful, but Microsoft is hoping that the Kinect camera will add enough value to the game to make it worth paying 800 MS Points (approx. Rs 750) to download.
From a technical perspective, Microsoft and Halfbrick Studios have created something impressive. When you stand in front of the camera, your shadow appears on screen. A friend can take over from you at any point, and the shadow reflects this change. As you move around and wave your hands to play the game, the shadow moves in tandem, and the movements are faithful to your own.
High intensity: The game looks silly but is energetic and enjoyable.
The game, on the other hand, remains essentially unchanged. Fruits fly up wildly from the bottom of the screen, and you need to slash them before they fall back. Miss three fruits, and the game ends. The only change is the addition of one extra mode, where two people can play side by side.
The shadow shows you where your body is, and allows you to slash with great accuracy, and as the game picks up speed, you’re going to be flailing fast with both hands and even moving around to get just the right slice.
Fruit Ninja Kinect is one of the most energetic and enjoyable games available for the Kinect since its launch in December. It’s easy to lose yourself in the silly, cartoon-like graphics and audio (which is made up of Adam West-era Batman onomatopoeia).
The game, which requires some violent moves, is pretty tiring. The two-player mode is a little more physical than was probably intended. You will end up knocking elbows and probably even “accidentally” slapping the people you play with. Making sure that there’s nothing, and no one, near the area you’re standing is a good idea.
Fruit Ninja Kinect has the potential to be an amazing party game. There’s something approachable about it—the concept is really focused on just one core mechanic and it doesn’t add any complexity except by increasing the amount of fruit being flung. Watching the game for half a minute is enough to learn everything you need to know about it. Coupled with the bright and colourful visuals, it’s easy to see why many, particularly children, will really enjoy it.
While the technology behind the Kinect turned a lot of heads, few games have been able to use it effectively. Before Fruit Ninja Kinect, the only other games that really stood out were Dance Central and Child of Eden. More games are expected for the new system in a few months, but for now these three games are the best reason to own a Kinect.
On the other hand, there is no depth to the game. If you’ve played it once, you’ve seen everything there is to it. The different game modes are all similar—the zen mode takes away the bombs, while the arcade mode is a timed mode with unlimited lives. The essence remains unchanged.
That the game is a well-crafted use of the Kinect technology is undeniable. Fruit Ninja has a limited repertoire, but the few things that it does, it does well. It is a lot of fun, far more so than it was on phones. But the real question is whether that is enough for you.
Luckily, you don’t need to pay anything to experience Fruit Ninja Kinect. You can download the free demo, and if after some time you’re still having fun with it, then go ahead and unlock the full version with all the game modes. Even if you get bored with it in a week, a week’s fun at no expense is a win-win situation.
Platform: Xbox 360/Xbox Live download
Cost: Rs 750
gopal.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Aug 26 2011. 08 21 PM IST
More Topics: Game Review | Fruit Ninja | Xbox | Kinect | Gaming |