Hands-on ‘n Slicin’ ‘Fruit Ninja Kinect’ Preview (XBLA)

I’m die-hard Fruit Ninja fan. When the folks at Halfbrick Studios first introduced me to the game in early 2010, all I could think was, “Holy Crap! I love slicing fruits!” I loved eating fruits as a kid, but never slicing fruits. I was the lazy kid who left that job to his mom, while I spent my time playing video games and basketball. Yes, I’m shaking my head at myself in shame. However, Fruit Ninja allowed me to slice fruits while gaming.

One word. Bliss.

fruit ninja kinect

My mom would be so pleased to know how much I’ve matured. If only, there was a way to eat the fruits after, I’d be in heaven.

Now, Fruit Ninja is coming to Kinect on XBLA. At first I was apprehensive. I love Fruit Ninja. But, Kinect? Meh. Conceptually, Kinect is great, but it feels like the technology and firmware is about a year or so out from being perfected. Plus, forcing a dual-thumbstick game to be Kinect driven is like asking a dog to drive a car. It just won’t work.

However, Fruit Ninja Kinect actually works out to be the perfect Kinect driven game. Slicing fruit wildly with your hands in broad strokes works with near 1-to-1 response. What’s even cooler is that the game shows you a shadowy outline of your body as you slice the fruits. So gamers will able to see what they are doing as they do it. If only this was available on some of the Wii games when the console first launched, perhaps there would not have been so many accidents. Gamers can also adjust the game to show a more boxy digitized outline of their bodies instead of the shadow.

fruit ninja kinect

The game has all the features and modes of iPhone/iPad game. You can play in classic or arcade mode, depending on how much you like the threat of slicing a bomb. You can also play in head-to-head and coop mode, which is a nice addition. Instead of seeing one shadow in the background of the screen, you will see two outlines. It’s kind of awesome to be able to watch a mirrored version of yourself and your opponent and see the different techniques you use for slicing fruit. Some gamers will move more like a robot (I’m thinking of the Dave Chappelle sketch as I write this with Ashy Larry doing the Robot through the club), while other gamers will go for more broad stroke karate chops. The game doesn’t pick up mini-movements so expect a workout, especially in the summer heat.

In competitive mode, fruits have a different hue denoting player one and two. If you strike the wrong fruit you will get penalized. However, there are some fruits which are freebies that any player can strike.

The Kinect seems designed for a game like Fruit Ninja and this will definitely be one title that will get plenty of replay value with a modest cost of 800 points. So step aside Rock Band and Just Dance gamers, Fruit Ninja will dominate the party if a Kinect is around. Unlike Dance Central, bashful gamers won’t have a problem slicing fruit. By the way, Sensei is back with even more fruit facts. Can you say awesome? Hell yea!

Fruit Ninja Kinect hits XBLA’s Summer of Arcade on August 10.

iPhone & iPad Game Update: Fruit Ninja Creators Returns with Age of Zombies (+New Trailer)

On Oct. 28th, the creators of Fruit Ninja return to the iTunes store with Age of Zombies, an all new game featuring Barry Steakfries. When we last left Barry, he was running through an endless parade of zombies, demons and other undead monsters in Monster Dash (see review).

Age of Zombies is a dual-stick shooter that will be available for the iPhone and iPad. It was released earlier this year on the PSP. Halfbrick states that the upcoming iPhone & iPad release will have “new graphics, controls and extra update content.”

About Age of Zombies:
Age of Zombies features the hero Barry Steakfries as he travels through time, blasting faces, heads and zombie junk. There is no shortage of dudes to kill, including ninjas, mummies, cavemen and even the legendary Zombie T-Rex!

See the Trailer:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ3RV07v1Rk[/youtube]

iPhone Game Review: Monster Dash

Casual gamers have seen their share of endless runner titles released on the iPhone. Similar to on-rails games, in runner games, you don’t have full control of your character’s movement; the character runs endlessly from left to right. Typically, you can only make your character jump to avoid pitfalls, monsters and the occasional land obstacle. Sometimes you are given the option to shoot monsters. Since these games pop up so often on iPhone, it’s easy to turn a blind eye. However, when Halfbrick Studios, makers of BuzzFocus favorite Fruit Ninja, decides to release a running game, you have to sit up and take notice. Monster Dash, Halfbrick’s latest release, breaks the monotony of running games, while offering several gaming niceties that make for one addictive title.

Monster Dash features Barry Steakfries, a guy who likes to run around with a shotgun blasting zombies, mummies and vampires. Did Halfbrick unknowingly discover the long lost Winchester brother from Supernatural? Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) do love their shotguns, and apparently so does Mr. Steakfries. Monster Dash features four stages Tomb town, Demon Dynasty, Zombie Metropolis, and Vampire Kingdom. Once you run 1,000 M you will advance to the next board. What immediately makes this game different is that the game randomizes the order of which boards you play on. So, essentially, every time you play the game is different.

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You have two buttons at your disposal: the left button to jump and the right button to shoot. You’ll need to jump to avoid falling into chasms or on top of land spikes. The longer you press down on the left button the farther and higher you will jump. Gamers can also jump over the roaming undead or jump on top of enemies to kill them, much like Super Mario. If you jump on an undead enemy that is walking through land spikes, the spikes will not hurt you. But, why jump when you have an explosive shotgun? You’ll want to play Monster Dash with sound, watching the small fire bursts out of your shotgun just doesn’t have the same monster-pounding feel that seeing and hearing the fiery blast does. Halfbrick did a great job in adding a little bass to each blast, really making the shotgun boom. The Shotgun fires short range bursts.

If you ever get tired of the shotgun, there are weapon upgrades to be found in crates sprinkled throughout each board. Upgrades include the Pacifier, which acts like a powerful handgun that shoots across the entire length of the board. There is a Machinegun Jetpack that allows you to rain death down from above. The Jetpack also gives you some added height as the momentum from the downward bullet blasts propels Steakfries upward. The Mr. Zappy gun provides an electric burst that disintegrates your enemies and leaves you glowing bright blue. No word yet if this will have any long-term health effects on Barry Steakfries.

monsterdash2

Gamers are given three hearts. So you can die by losing all your hearts or by falling into a chasm. There are about two hearts on every board, but mistiming the jump to grab them can result in a quick death. When you die from heart loss, you will explode into a bunch of bones.

Barry starts the game off at a moderate jogging pace. As the game progresses, he will slowly gain speed. However, the faster you run, the more difficult it is to control your speed, dodge enemies and time chasm jumps. By the third board, you’ll see a lot more monsters on the screen as well as longer land spike beds. With the added speed, you’ll be able to jump the spikes with your superfast running start. By the third board you’ll really feel the adrenaline of Monster Dash, even if it is fleeting. When Barry picks up speed you’ll be wishing you had one more life. Alas, you don’t.

At the end of each game you can check out your stats and see how they compare to your overall stats. The game tracks stats like distance, monsters killed and how many monsters you killed with each weapon. Much like Fruit Ninja’s wise sage fruit facts, Monster Dash leaves you with a gaming quip from Barry Steakfries. You will also get different rankings based on how well you do. Ratings range anywhere from “False Start” and “It’s time to start a Re-run” to “Jet Setter.” Gamers can upload stats to leaderboards via the Openfeint system. Monster Dash also allows you to post updates to Twitter and Facebook.

Monster Dash is one running game worth checking out. The game is priced at a reasonable $0.99. Halfbrick already has additional boards planned for release in the coming months, which may come sooner than later. In conclusion, here is a quote from Barry Steakfries: “Why am I the cat with only one life?”

Monster Dash
Monster Dash

Genre: Action
Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: HalfBrick Studios
Release Date: August 19, 2010
Rating: 8.7 / 10

Buy App on iTunes:
Monster

iPad Game Review: Fruit Ninja HD

What’s better than being a stealthy ninja that slices fruit on your iPhone? Well, being a stealthy ninja slicing fruit on your iPad of course.

Half Brick Studios has just released Fruit Ninja HD, an enhanced iPad only affair that has all of the produce slicing glory of Fruit Ninja, but updated with bigger, more vibrant graphics. It also has some new game modes to boot. The end result is the same: fun, addictive and simple gameplay that will have you saying “Just one mo’ game.”

Just like the first game, you are a ninja in training whose sole job is to slice fruit that appears on the screen. Simple swipes represent a slice from your blade and you must slice the fruit in half in order to score points. Miss fruit or slice one of the tricky bombs that appear and you’re on the fast track to “game over” (Actually, slicing the bombs is an instant game over, but missing three fruits makes you suffer the same fate).

New to the game is a brand new multiplayer mode which essentially splits the screen in half, allowing two players to compete simultaneously in either the classic mode or Zen mode (a timed challenge where there are no bombs or strikes for missed fruit, but players focus on attaining the highest score). Even with half of the screen, the multiplayer doesn’t suffer from a having less real estate and its just as responsive as the single player mode. This is a neat new feature and is a simple way to have a friend share in the fun.

fruitninja_ipad

With the iPad comes the ability to do multi-touch gestures and the player can slice with up to 8 fingers at once. While this is another cool addition and can sometimes save you from missing a fruit, the game is best played with one blade, especially given that you score extra points for slicing more than 2 fruits at once with one swipe. This is especially crucial for the Zen mode and besting your previous scores. You will need to have the combos coming fast and furious if you want to keep beating your own score.

There are new unlockable items in “Sensei’s Dojo,” which include new blades (which are usually just different colors) and new backgrounds. They are a nice bonus, but the addictive gameplay keeps you playing rather than these items. Of course, the game still uses OpenFeint integration which will have you vying for achievements and for your place on the leaderboards worldwide.

Price is where Fruit Ninja HD separates itself from the iPhone version. The iPhone game, appropriately priced at $.99, is a serious bargain. But the iPad version is 5 times that amount at $4.99. The cost would be fine if there were more iPad specific upgrades, but the game doesn’t deter far from the core of the original. If you haven’t played the iPhone version, this one will be a ton of fun. But if you already own it, paying five times that amount may seem a bit high to justify the slightly enhanced graphics. However, Halfbrick is committed to expanding on the title, so you’ll be sure to see new content and upgrades in the future. This will somewhat amortize the price of admission.

As is customary for our Fruit Ninja reviews (see iPhone review), we leave you with one of Sensei’s Fruit Facts: “You can rub the inside of banana skin on mosquito bites to stop the itchiness.” And you thought bananas were only good for potassium or knocking out foes in Super Mario Kart.

Fruit Ninja HD
fruit ninja hd ipad iphone
Genre: Arcade Shooter
Platform: iPad
Publisher: HalfBrick Studios
Release Date: July 14, 2010
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Buy App on iTunes:
Fruit

iPhone Game Update: 'Fruit Ninja' Introduces New Zen Mode

Halfbrick Studios is adding Zen power to their wildly successful and fruit slashing game, Fruit Ninja. We reviewed Fruit Ninja for iPhone and iPod Touch last month, and since then it climbed to the upper echelon of iTunes store success. The new Zen mode takes out the bombs, removes the lives and breaks down Fruit Ninja into its purest form – fruit slashing. Gamers will have 90 seconds to take their fruit slashing abilities to the next level.

To add a little extra fun to the Zen mode, Halfbrick has also added in new combo attacks. Gamers will now get bonuses for 3 and 4 fruit combo slashes. The more combos you rack up, the higher the multiplier you will earn. Halfbrick has also added in Limes and Red Apples in version 1.2.

This tasty new update is available right now worldwide in the App store and is free for customers who have purchased the original game. New players can purchase Fruit Ninja which includes 1.2 features for just 99 cents.

Buy App on iTunes:
Fruit Ninja

Check out the new trailer featuring Ninja, Banana and Strawberry as they reunite for a new adventure together

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqZlWxrAd60[/youtube]

iPhone Game Review: Fruit Ninja

Fact or Fiction: Ninjas hate fruit? It’s a mystery worthy of the MythBusters. While, we may doubt the validity of this statement, there’s no denying that Fruit Ninja from HalfBrick Studios is one slashtacular game worthy of any iPhone gamer’s attention. Fruit Ninja is a casual gamer’s dream. No tedious instructions. No unnecessary gameplay. You just slash fruit. That’s it.

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There’s not much that can be said about Fruit Ninja. Several fruit are tossed up in the air, including bananas, kiwi, strawberries, oranges and watermelons. Your job as a ninja in training is to slice the medley of fruits in half before they fall off screen. It’s like being one of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each time you let a fruit fall off screen, without getting sliced, you will get a strike. Three strikes and you’re out. It sounds like an easy job, but your ninja master will be tossing a few well-placed bombs into the mix. Set one bomb off and game over.

Like a ninja, you’re not seen. You just see your slashes on the screen and the juicy aftermath. If you start drooling like Donkey (Eddie Murphy) in Shrek would over a parfait, it’s because HalfBrick did an amazing job with sound design. Not only do you see the fruit juices splatter against the wall, but you hear it with surprising clarity. Each fruit has a deliciously unique sound when cut, with the least impressive being the banana. We actually decided to connect our iPhone’s up to pro-speakers to really enjoy the clarity. The music bed is filled with classic marital-arts movie ambient sounds that will make any Kill Bill: Vol. 1 or Ninja Assassin fan proud.

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Throughout the game you will be given Critical Hit bonuses for well-placed fruit slashes as well as be rewarded with quotes from Sensei. Even in defeat, Sensei will give you a fun Fruit Fact about Kiwi or some other fruit featured in the game.

Fruit Ninja is addictive – plain and simple. And, at $0.99, you should really be downloading this app right now. This is one of those games that everyone will be talking about and have no idea why they’re talking about it. Fruit Ninja is a wake up call to iPhone game developers, reminding them that games don’t need to be boggled down in extraneous details to be fun. Developers just need to focus on delivering a fun gaming experience. HalfBrick did what they set out to do: create an exceptional game that can provide endless hours of fun for anyone – gamer or not. Before I leave you, here is a fruit fact from Sensei, “Early explorers used Watermelons as canteens to carry their water supplies.” We just hope they ate the Watermelons first.

Fruit Ninja
fruit ninja

Genre: Shooter
Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: HalfBrick Studios
Release Date: April 21, 2010
Rating: 9.2 / 10

Buy App on iTunes:
Fruit Ninja