Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 Review: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is the follow up to 2013's Xbox 360 hit that brought the addictive fruit slicing game from phones to your living room. As where the original game was a Kinect version of the mobile app, this time it adds some unique gameplay modes that are only available on Xbox One. That being said, the limitations of Kinect are still its biggest drawback.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2's gameplay (just like the original version) revolves around slicing fruit for high scores in different game modes. This technique is done by standing in front of your Kinect and moving your arms in slicing motions as if they are blades. Perhaps the best thing about Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is that anyone can play it since there is very little physicality involved. Fruit Ninja is by far the most simple Kinect game there is.
Along with the usual game modes Zen, Arcade, and Classic; Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 has added four new games modes. These game modes include Katsuro's Ninja Dodge, Mari's Strawberry Stealth, Nobu's Bamboo Strike, and Han's Apple Range. Each game mode is still based off of scoring the most points, but you must do so while being put to the test.
For example, with Katsuro's Ninja Dodge you must dodge shurikens that are being thrown at you while going for a high score. This feature turns out to be more exercise than you will probably anticipate. In Mari's Strawberry Stealth, you must avoid the spotlight that is on the screen while slicing fruit, or you lose points for every second the spotlight is on you.
This game type leads you to twist your body certain ways and ultimately feels like you're playing Twister in the air. The gameplay is fun for both, but the small twist in gameplay isn't enough to keep you wanting to come back for more.
Nobu's Bamboo Strike was in my opinion the most fun while still presenting a challenge. In this mode, you are still always trying to slice fruit for a high score. However, you must do this while slicing bamboo seeds as well. If you miss a bamboo seed, then bamboo will grow in between you and the fruit preventing you from slicing them. In order to get rid of the bamboo, you must then slice it away to get back to your fruit slicing ways.
Han's Apple Range is a unique game type because you are not slicing fruit. Instead, target boards pop up behind the fruit being thrown in the air, and you must throw knives at the fruit in order to pin the fruit to the board. Pin multiple fruits on multiple boards at the same time and you will earn yourself some combos. It sounds like a simple premise but due to Kinect it's easier said than done.
The fun of playing with a partner continues with Fruit Ninja Kinect 2. Party Mode and Battle Mode return this year and perform exceptionally better with Kinect V2. That being said, it still has its underwhelming moments. The newest addition to multiplayer is that now anyone can jump in at any moment and turn any single player game into a multiplayer one.
The best multiplayer experiences in Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 are of course still within the multiplayer specific modes. In Battle Mode, you compete against your friend for the best score, but this time around you can turn the tide in your favor with new power-up bananas. Once sliced, these bananas affect your opponent by either making their fruit become smaller, fly across the screen faster or bombarding their side of the screen with a wave of bombs.
In Party Mode, you now play up to four players while having two players on the screen at one. The objective of this mode is to outscore your opponents while completing spontaneous mini-games during regular gameplay. For example, you could be destroying your rival while slicing fruit until all of a sudden you guys are prompted to strike wacky ninja poses. Other mini-games include balloon popping and pomegranate slicing.
Believe it or not there are a ton of really challenging achievements for you to work towards earning in Fruit Ninja Kinect 2. Some achievements may force you to fail on purpose such as the Bring the Pain achievement. This achievement has you getting hit by all of the shurikens in a single game of Katsuro's Dodge.
Perhaps the hardest achievements in the game are "Feels like the Lottery" and "Green Thumb". You earn Feel like the Lottery by slicing the (not so secret anymore) secret fruit. I've played at least 30 games of Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 and have yet to see any sign of a secret fruit so this achievement could virtually take forever.
Green Thumb is achieved by slicing 60 seeds in a single game of Nobu's Bamboo Strike. The thing about this achievement is that I don't think I've seen 60 seeds in a single game of Nobu's Bamboo Strike. I easily imagine this one being stressful whenever missing a seed, or getting them all and there only being 59.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is fun, and the new modes are a welcome addition to the game. That being said, I don't see Fruit Ninja Kinect 2's lasting appeal, especially at $14.99. Although the game works better than it did on the Xbox 360, it still has its flaws due to the limitations of Kinect. There were more than a handful of times where I would swipe at a fruit, and it wouldn't register. Other times I wouldn't swipe at all or slightly move my hand, and it would register as a full slice.
This failing is more prominent in Nobu's Bamboo Strike more than anything due to its gameplay mechanics. You have to throw knives in a motion that's similar to throwing darts. And because of Kinect it is rarely thrown exactly where you want it to land.
Even without the flaws I see this game sitting on the shelf after a day or two until you have family or friends over that want to play Kinect. But even then they'll just play a few rounds of this and want to switch back to Kinect Sports Rivals.
So as of right now I would skip a purchase of the game unless it drops somewhere near $7.99. Yea it's fun and all, but for an arcade title like this that's just full of mini-games, it doesn't have the lasting appeal that others do. Especially when all you're doing is swinging your arms around in the air.
Have you played Fruit Ninja Kinect 2? Let us know what you think about it and whether you agree or disagree with our review!
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 - $14.99 - Xbox Store
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