I finally hooked up the Kinect camera to my Xbox 360 in the new home this weekend. It wasn't to play Child of Eden, which I've heard is great. It wasn't to play a bit more Dance Central, which I know is great. It was to cut fruit.
Halfbrick's Fruit Ninja hits the Xbox Live Arcade this week (on Wednesday) as part of the Xbox 360's Summer of Arcade. I wasn't convinced that Fruit Ninja, a game that debuted on the iPhone, would be the sort of game I'd want to play, let alone be the game that would get me to dig out and hook up the Kinect. But one night playing it at an event in New York had me convinced.
It sounds sort of silly. You stand in front of your television and swing your arms at the fruit that pops up from the bottom and sides of the screen. Hit a fruit and it slices neatly in half, spatter the background with some juice. Depending on the mode, you also have to avoid some bombs popping up on the screen. Pretty straight forward. Not the sort of thing I'd probably play a bunch.
But, it turns out, it is.
First, there's the idea that if you hit more than two fruit at once you get a bonus. The more fruit you cut with one swipe, the bigger the bonus. String enough bonuses together and you get a secondary bonus. So there's some strategy, some risk and reward, to this fruit cutting.
Then there's the thing that kept me playing the game, playing until I couldn't really flap my arms any more and the next day forced me to pop acetaminophen a couple of times. When a Xbox Live pal breaks one of your scores a message pops up to tell you about it. This on-the-fly challenge mode means that you're likely not going to play for very long without someone you know rubbing it in how much better than are then you at Fruit Ninja.
Playing the game before its release I found myself urged on to keep playing thanks to the fruit-cutting skills of MTV's Russ Frushtick and Penny Arcade's Mike "Gabe" Krahulik. I got so into it I started Tweeting smack talk about my scores. I even took a picture of one particularly high (for me) arcade score.
Yeah, this is a great game and at 800 Microsoft Points ($10) you're going to need to pick it up if you have a Kinect, if only so I have more people to mock (or be mocked by).
Update: An update on Penny Arcade sets one detail straight –Ed. Mike Krahulik writes:
My friend Brian over at Kotaku posted a nice preview of Fruit Ninja for Kinect. In it he mentions the fact that the game will notify you when someone has beaten your score. Since he had the game early and so did I, he says he was competing with me. I hate to break it to you Brian but you were competing with my son. Lil' Gabe is the Fruit Ninja in our house.