Ninjala on Nintendo Switch
Ninjala is a new free-to-play online multiplayer title from GungHo Online Entertainment and it’s out on the Switch now. The vibrant and colorful tones of this wacky Japan-inspired world might remind folks of a little series called Splatoon, but Ninjala plays much differently.
Ninjala’s main online game mode is called “Battle Royale” and it pits eight charming characters against each other in a three-minute match to see who can acquire the most points.
These points are obtained by either destroying floating red drones that are scattered across the map or by defeating opponents. You can also get some sweet bonus points for killing your foes with stylish moves.
Right now, Ninjala’s weapon and stage selection is very minimal, with there being only two stages and just a handful of weapon types to choose from. GungHo is planning on adding more free content to the game as its first season comes to an end.
While two maps is definitely a bit light, I’m OK with the two stages that are playable at the moment. Do I want more? Yes, of course, but because I’m having so much fun battling my way up the Ninjala ranks, it didn’t bother me all that much.
The stage that you’ll end up playing on primarily is a very small squared-off arena, which is my favorite, and the other is an urban metropolis that allows for more exploration.
It’s a very vertical level with tall skyscrapers, bridges, speed ramps, and taxi cars, but the reason why this level isn’t as fun to play in is that it can take way too long to find opponents on the field, making it hard to score much-needed points.
I wish that the traversal mechanics littered about the stage were available on the other, smaller battleground, because they are highly enjoyable and it can really shake up the combat in surprising ways.
As I mentioned, more stages are coming, but the lack of consistency between the two that are currently in Ninjala is something that needs to be addressed.
As far as the combat itself goes, it does feel good to get kills, and using your super abilities to knock out multiple players at once is very satisfying. You can also use your Ninja Gum skills to block attacks, boost in the air, and craft bigger weapons, but something about the system feels off and it can make Ninjala feel a bit sloppy to play.
Once you get stuck in a combo from another player, it’s difficult to get out of it and it can be frustrating to get hit only once and then to not be able to move or block at all, only to be smashed against the floor like a cockroach.
There doesn’t seem to be a concise method to take down enemies. It can get random at times but I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t having fun anyway.
The parrying system is also very gratifying and exciting, as it can turn a battle into a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If two players clash at each other at the same time, this mini-game will pop up and you must choose a direction, and if your “answer” is the winner, you get to hit the opponent and vice versa.
These are obviously mostly based on luck but there’s some skill there, like making sure you’re not just hitting the same option over and over again if you both tie.
It’s a fun twist that some hardcore players might be upset with, but I think it gives anyone a chance to score points, especially kids or inexperienced players.
Besides the eight-player free for all mode, there’s also a 4v4 team battle and there are ranked matches too. It’s also not that annoying to team up with friends online for matches, but we did experience some connection errors from time to time, which didn’t happen often while I was playing solo.
It’s also worth mentioning that it can take some time before you head into a match, which can get really annoying if you end up getting disconnected after waiting for several minutes.
While the game is primarily a multiplayer experience, there’s also a paid single-player story DLC pack that’s about $10 that explores the lore and backstory of Ninjala’s world.
While there are some interesting and amusing story beats and an insane boss battle with a giant bottle of pop, the story mode fell flat for me.
It was repetitive, slow, boring at times, and I don’t think it’s worth playing through unless you want a long, padded out tutorial to familiarize yourself with the controls and combat.
At the end of the day, Ninjala is a surprisingly entertaining free-to-play game that doesn’t require players to pull out their wallets to have a little fun. The microtransactions are all cosmetic, free content is on its way to add even more depth, and the visual style just oozes with charm.
If you have a Switch laying around, there’s no reason not to download Ninjala and give it a shot.
- -Charming art style
- -Microtransactions are cosmetic only
- -Enjoyable combat system
- -Disconnection errors happen often
- -Combat can be messy at times
- -Not a lot of content at the moment
June 24, 2020
GungHo Online Entertainment
GungHo Online Entertainment
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