Believe it or not, Kinect has been available for almost half a decade and it's still rolling out games. Of course, it's not as fresh and exciting as it was back in 2010, but that doesn't mean that it isn't any fun. The newly released Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 will have Kinect owners asking if this sequel to last generation's controller-less hit is worth all of the arm strain or is it better to fiddle with buttons and sticks?
Graphically, you won't see much new in this installment. However, it looks as sharp and colourful as you would expect. Fruit pops off the screen wonderfully and stages are rendered with subtle Japanese-inspired backdrops and objects. Your shadow is defined enough to clearly see where you are yet is understated as to not get in the way. The Asian music adds a layer of authenticity to the ninja theme and also helps create an enjoyable atmosphere as it contrasts with the mindless gameplay very well. Where the audio stands out is the sound effects. As you quickly move your hands, the swiping sound makes you feel like you're as fast as a ninja while the splats and squashes of fruit as you slice them up adds a consistent feeling of gratification to even the smallest of accomplishments. Overall, its presentation may not be impressive, but it does a great job of creating an enjoyable and satisfying experience.
In case you're not already aware, Fruit Ninja Kinect is played by swiping your hands in order to slice fruit that moves across the screen. It's incredibly simple and universally fun for all ages. If you want to score high then you'll have to master how to slice multiple pieces of fruit in one motion. When it comes down to it, less skilled players can have fun just waving their arms around aimlessly but players who take their fruit cutting seriously will actually find a challenge in balancing accuracy with speed and efficiency. It may sound silly to talk like this about such a simple game, but it does offer more than meets the eye when it comes to skill. After all is said and done, the Kinect performs its job seamlessly as it matches your movements intuitively with perfect precision.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 features a decent amount of modes. You can play using the classic rules where you get a game over after attacking a bomb or missing three fruit, or with modern rules that use a time limit in either arcade mode or an easier Zen mode. Besides these basic modes, there are four additional character challenges that offer some much needed variety. Each one utilizes a unique gameplay mechanic such as avoiding shurikens or spotlights, stopping bamboo seeds from sprouting trees, and having to pin fruit to targets. All seven of these modes each features its own leaderboard as well. If you prefer to play with a friend then they can jump in at any time. You can also challenge them in a battle match or invite a few more friends to play a party match together.
Although this may sound like a lot of modes, the basic gameplay barely changes. At the beginning, it can be quite fun but the enjoyment factor rapidly depletes after a matter of minutes due to repetition. Although this is problematic, the game tries to keep you playing via a wide assortment of unlockables. Unfortunately, every one of these incentives is completely superficial. You'll unlock blades, shadows, and backgrounds which only change the way the game looks. You can also complete challenges that mostly require grinding to upgrade your belt level. Again, this is purely meaningless since it adds no tangible value besides a false sense of progression. It should be mentioned that this iteration is only a slight upgrade to the original so if you already own it then this one probably isn't worth purchasing.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 can be a lot of fun for players of any age or skill level. However, because the fun is so short-lived, it's a difficult game to widely recommend. In the end, if you enjoy repetitive motion control games then you may find something of value in this arm-waving experience, but if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea then you're probably better off with a controller in your hands.
- + Kinect motion controls are intuitive, responsive, and just plain fun
- + Character levels offer some needed variety
- + Crisp graphics and satisfying audio effects
- - Repetitive gameplay quickly loses momentum
- - Not much improvement over the original
- - Replay value mostly consists of grinding for unrewarding unlockables