I Crane-Kicked a Pineapple

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For anyone not familiar with Fruit Ninja, the insanely popular mobile time-waster, the concept is incredibly simple. Fruit is tossed on to the screen while you, playing as someone who either doesn’t like fruit or is a short-order chef trying to make a large fruit salad, draw lines on the screen to cut the fruit in half. Every so often, bombs are mixed in with the fruit, which you don’t want to cut, as well as special bananas that either slow down time or send more fruit flying across the screen, allowing you to increase your score combos.

Pairing the concept with Kinect’s active play-style is an easy concept and makes for an exciting game. Fruit Ninja Kinect keeps the same fruit-dicing mechanics as the mobile game, but adds a few new modes and the ability to use both hands rather than one finger. Two-player multiplayer (both co-op and competitive) is available as well, though based on our hands-on time, you’ll want to make sure you have a lot of play space. The action gets wild and arms will flail.

The juice-letting takes place across a number of modes, including Classic, where you need to cut fruit while avoiding bombs and trying for the highest score possible, and Zen, where you cut to your heart’s content without worrying about bombs for 90 seconds. Arcade tosses in power-ups, including the brand new pomegranate, a rare fruit you can slice multiple times. Fruit Ninja Kinect will also support online leaderboards.

Even though there are a few timing issues with the Kinect in general, Fruit Ninja Kinect does a great job keeping up with your movements, even on the usually un-calibrated (at least to individual users) systems used at E3. The game even keeps track of where you’re standing by displaying your shadow on the screen.

I only played the game for a short time, but had a blast. Fruit Ninja Kinect is slated for release this Summer as part of Microsoft’s “Summer of Arcade” promotion.