Become a Ninja with the Ninja Trainer ZenBlade

Ever want to take your Fruit Ninja skills to the next level? Well, now you can slice your way through the game in VR—but is it worth your samurai skills? Here’s our take.

Sitting down with the old Fruit Ninja game, one could find many renditions of the game being acted out on YouTube. Now, instead of imagining what a real world Fruit Ninja game would be like, we have virtual reality to thank for the creation of the real life Fruit Ninja: ZenBlade. There’s a big leap from swiping a screen to actually wielding a samurai sword and cutting through moving targets. Will the game and your body measure up? Let’s find out!

What is Ninja Trainer?

Ninja Trainer is Fruit Ninja in a virtual environment in every way possible. This game sends fruit into the air that you must cut into one or multiple sections for points. Over a period of one minute, the amount of fruit that is sent at you increases doubly and so, too, do the bombs. When you hit a bomb, you lose points and if you hit more than one fruit in a row, you will gain even more points. An additional part of the game, which is not a part of Fruit Ninja, is that you can lunge to put the fruit on your sword and if you hit the fruit from the side with the tip of the sword the fruit will just bounce off. This adds to the realism that you are controlling an actual sword.

The game was first a demo that came with the HTC Vive and was called Ninja Trainer, but, since then, the game has been released on Steam as ZenBlade.

Graphics and Visuals Score 3/5

There isn’t much to the game visually, but, for what the game does have, it is impressive. The game takes full advantage of virtual reality by sending the fruit in a curved lob towards you instead of straight up. This not only makes the game harder, but you will find yourself trying to dodge the fruit while hitting it. Additionally, the motion tracking is so well done that you can land a five hit combo on a single piece of fruit if you are fast enough.

The scene is simple but engaging.
The scene is simple but engaging.

Hardware Requirements Score 4/5

This game is incredibly small while being able to provide a great experience with the only space requirement being that of 300MB. Just like the rest of the virtual games though, the hardware is generally the same. You need an Intel i5-4590, 8GB RAM, a GTX 970, and at least a Windows 7 Operating System—and your HTC Vive of course.

Are you ready to slice through 60 seconds of samurai fitness?
Are you ready to slice through 60 seconds of samurai fitness?

Fitness Score 4/5

In the one minute that you accept the challenge of virtual Fruit Ninja, you will find yourself sweating very hard just to keep up with the game. At times, you will find yourself making six to seven swings in the air just to get all the fruit. These are full bodied swings that take a lot of effort and maintaining such a speed greatly increases your heart rate. In comparison, playing this game for an hour is the equivalent to fighting an entire battle in Samurai sword fashion on your own. Of course, you don’t actually carry the weight of the sword or feel the resistance of slicing through the intended targets. This is great for making cardio fun, but with the exception of making some people’s bodies go through motions and extensions they likely rarely experience in their daily routine, you’re not getting much for your muscles.

Gameplay Score 4/5

The game is another Early Access game, so there are many bugs to sort out and the game itself is only a minute long with one playthrough. The game is short and sweet when it comes to learning the nuances of how to play and actually playing it, but it challenges you whenever you attempt it. While there is currently only one game mode, the makers of the game have announced that they will be releasing new modes for it in the future along with different swords and challenges. There is even a hint of adding multiplayer compatibility to the game since the makers of the game want to make it more socially interactive.

A simple game that you won't get tired of.
A simple game that you won’t get tired of.

Final Grade 3.75/5

Just like its predecessor, ZenBlade is just as addictive and straight to the point as it ever was. Instead of looking down at the phone to fulfill your Fruit Ninja addiction, you can jump into virtual reality and get a great workout from that addiction. There’s so much possibility contained within this one game, such as simulated samurai battles or ninja stealth missions, that the future of virtual reality looks ever brighter with the continuous addition of new games. For $14.99, this game is a steal. Go get it. It’s fun, you’ll burn some calories and probably do more in one minute of game play than you have all morning.

-Tommy Mertell

Do you have a game that you want to us to review? Make a comment below and we’ll get right on it!