Fruit Ninja is one of those games that you need “just one last go” and it was the only Kinect game I bothered to regularly play on my Xbox 360 – mostly when friends were over for a few drinks – it was fun and the motion controls worked really well. Kinect has had quite a rough run since its release and not even the more advanced Xbox One version could save the device from being labeled as a failed gimmick. For those of us that want more than a voice activated remote control, there are a small number of games that are worth playing and Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is a welcome addition, but can Halfbrick and Hibernum Créations inject a new lease of life into the fruit ‘em up?
As you’d expect, multiplayer is at the heart of the Kinect sequel and it returns with Battle and new mode on the block, Party. Battle has a new twist, the power-ups are now power-downs and by slicing one of the super bananas you can impede your opponent by flooding their screen with bombs, reducing the size of the fruit or speeding things up. It makes for some amusing matches, although I would have preferred a few more power-downs – there’s just not enough variety. I also feel that the frequency of the super bananas needs to be higher and made slightly harder to slice. Rather than offering a preset multiplayer experience, Battle should have had its own set of options so you could choose the length of the game and frequency of the super bananas.
The most fun to be had in multiplayer is with Party mode, where four players can challenge each other with the added thrill of mini-games that are activated by striking a special coin. There’s a good variety to them with the weakest being the Ninja pose – Kinect struggled to recognise each position – the most fun is the Ninja stars that you throw at passing balloons, the novelty of throwing rather than slicing was a big hit with my household. Another family favourite was where you have to avoid a spotlight while still attempting to slice fruit – it was most entertaining watching the family duck about while madly trying to slice the fruit.
Outside of multiplayer, Arcade, Classic and Zen mode return. Arcade is a timed fruit-slicing mode. Classic gives you three lives, missing a fruit will lose you a life and hitting a bomb is an instant game over. Zen mode is just you against the fruit in a peaceful timed fruit ‘em up. Each of the modes can also be played, for the first time, cooperatively and also include new power-ups but before you get too far into the quick play modes it’s worth checking out the four new game modes that are introduced by different sensei in the Festival mode.
The four modes see you jumping about dodging spotlights or shurikens, slicing seeds before they grow into bamboo shoots and obscure the screen, or throwing shurikens to pin fruit onto targets. It’s all good fun, although with only four modes there isn’t much variety to them – you will find a more ‘active’ game by playing them and they make for great entertainment watching someone else play.
During any Festival game or while you are trying to top the leaderboards in quick play, you can work toward your next ninja belt – each grade is achieved by completing objectives and each rank rewards you with new blades, backgrounds and shadow effects – you can jump ahead and buy these with star fruit that is collected by playing the game. It’s a nice idea to include player progression and the mission objectives give you something to strive toward but the rewards are rather weak and nothing new from what you were able to unlock from the first title.
At its core, Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is the same addictive, fun fruit slicing game but with mutators – it works and does so without making the sequel feel half
brickedbaked. The mini-games make the action more competitive but spatial awareness is a must. While concentrating on the action onscreen, the wife and I crashed into each other on more than one occasion. It’s a shame there weren’t a few more options thrown in to make the game even more different from its original outing, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it! The biggest strength of the Xbox One edition of Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is the addition of four-player multiplayer, which puts Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 firmly at the top of my family’s games pile.
Thanks to Halfbrick Studios for supplying TiX with a download code
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