Published and developed by Halfbrick Studios, Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 follows on from the games huge success in 2011. Halfbrick wanted to bring Fruit Ninja back bigger and better than ever and they certainly succeeded.
As far as improvements go, Halfbrick have added a whole heap of new content to keep you occupied and aching for hours on end. Firstly, a new Festival mode hosted by four characters. The first game mode was Katsuro’s Ninja Dodge. As well as slicing the many fruit that appear on the screen, you have to dodge red targets that home in on you with a Shuriken hurtling towards you swiftly afterwards. Fruit held up by propellers also fly quickly across the screen for you to slice and so much is going on at the same time it can be hard to chop it all unless you have already mastered the art of being a fruit-chopping Ninja.
Second was Nobu’s Bamboo Strike, where the aim of the game is to slice n dice the seeds that are falling with the fruit, Bamboo will also shoot up on the screen and collect bombs so you need to cut that down as well as avoiding bombs to score big points. After that was Hans Apple Range. Targets appear randomly around the screen and you have to throw daggers and pin the fruit to the target, bombs still make an appearance and will knock some points off if you hit them.
The final new added game mode is Mari’s Strawberry Stealth, not only do you have to slice fruit and avoid bombs, multiple spotlights will circle the screen forcing you to lean and duck to avoid them while waving your arms around like a lunatic trying not to lose any fruit, any part of your body entering them will start a countdown of all your hard earned points depleting until you duck out of it. Each game mode lasts just over a minute and will not fail in severely damaging your arms to the point where basic tasks will be near impossible.
The thing is, at the time you have no idea how much pain your arms are going to be in the next day. The game is so addictive and fun that you can literally slice Fruit for hours, start feeling the burn but want to carry on anyways. Along with the new game modes comes a new leveling system designed to keep you exhausted for longer. You level up by completing challenges like scoring a certain amount of points without letting any fruit escape, dodging spotlights while slaughtering any and all helpless fruits that fly into your blades and hitting a set number of a certain type of fruit. Completing these challenges fills in a slot on your belt and filling it ranks you up.
Ranking up unlocks rewards. New backgrounds, shadow outlines and blades become available and there are a whole host of them to unlock. Some have other requirements like playing and scoring high in the games many modes. You also earn Star Fruit after each game which can be used to purchase rewards you have unlocked. On occasion they will fly across your screen with the other fruit.
The old favourites are back Arcade, Classic and Zen extend the fun with the new Jumbo Banana in Arcade mode that makes the fruit really big for your slicing pleasure. I’m yet to find something more satisfying than slicing a massive Passion fruit in half and watching the juices splatter colourfully all over the screen.
Arcade mode is hectic, with the many Bananas that provide different bonuses and can lead to massive points. They freeze time allowing you to carefully choose when to slice making sure you hit as much fruit in one swipe, double your points and the frenzy Banana which causes so much fruit to appear on your screen, the smoothies are on you. Bombs don’t end the game just subtract points and obliterate everything on the screen. You also unlock various bonus points at the end of the round which make arcade the highest scoring mode you will play.
Zen is more laid back. No Bombs, Shurikens, Spotlights or Bamboo, just fruit and lots of it. Wave your arms around like crazy or carefully plan your swipes for points until the timer ticks down.
Classic is a bit more of a pain and actually requires some form of skill or just really good luck. You hit a bomb and you’re done. Game over. Let a fruit drop and you get a strike and if that builds up to three, you’re out. Points are harder but more satisfying in this mode. Although swinging your arms around with excitement scores points, mastering the way of the Ninja requires precision and the ability to rack up big combos by hitting three or more fruits with one slice.
The new multiplayer modes were a blast to play when you aren’t accidentally hitting your family in the face as you swipe your arms around trying to score higher than them. I never got the chance to experience the four players the game allows but I can imagine you’d need a lot of room and maybe some protective bodywear just in case. You can play party mode together for fun or battle it out in a fight to see which of your children is going to throw a tantrum first when they lose.
Overall Fruit Ninja Kinect was a complete blast to play. For some reason mindlessly chopping fruit for hours upon end is immensely fun and is a great way to pass the time. The leveling up system extended the game play and gave you an objective to aim for instead of just scoring high and the new game modes added some variety to the game that multiple fruit types just couldn’t provide. The amount of rewards to unlock gave me something to aim for and I loved changing my outline and blades as I progressed through the levels. It’s just pure and simple fun (until the pain kicks in) and if nothing else, will leave you pining for a nice fruit salad.