For the past six months, Microsoft's Kinect peripheral for Xbox has been, like a forgotten customer slouched in the back of an obscure Chinese restaurant, literally starving for interesting titles to get someone, anyone to bring it back to motion-sensing life.
Maybe all it really needed was a big serving of fruit -- in this case, fruit that's been slashed, splashed and splattered all over the screen.
Anyone who's come within five feet of an iPhone or iPad in the last few years knows that Fruit Ninja holds a hallowed place in the Hall of Essential Game Apps, four or five places lower than Angry Birds. As of this week, it now occupies a similar slot in the Kinect library.
Unlike its small-screen sibling, in Fruit Ninja Kinect, you're not using your furious finger to slice 'n' dice watermelons, bananas and that score-bumping pomegranate. You're slashing with your whole arm. And whaddaya know, making like a dervish hopped up on wasabi, mixing up circling slashes, sweeps and uppercuts, looks pretty damn cool on screen, thanks to the fact that the camera displays your shadow flailing around in the background. Whirling your disco blades also proves a pretty effective way to convert passels of flying fruit -- and yes, those damned score-killing bombs -- into so many pixelated pieces.
There's plenty of game modes here to turn your arms into limp noodles, whether you're assailing challenges, trying to rock the Xbox Live leaderboard with a ridiculous 10-figure high score or going ninja-a-ninja with a friend. (Friendly, bruise-avoiding hint -- don't play the chop-socky party mode in a cramped space.) Some of the versus competitions seem a little unfair, in that one side of the screen seems to get bonus-amping white fruits tossed their way a little more than the other, but eventually, everything evens out.
I'm not sure what it says about the ever-evolving battle between mobile and console platforms that the latter is now openly looking to raid the former for interesting titles that appeal to a mass market, but those looking to unleash their inner fruity Bruce Lee aren't likely to care. And neither are Kinect users, who'll flock to this a lot more quickly than they did to Kinect Sparkler. Look -- there's another watermelon to vivisect, grasshopper.