(Available for Nintendo Switch only)
This is a free online multiplayer battle royal game for the Switch that pits 8 players as cartoony Ninja’s battling against each over on a map for a set time to see who can get the highest score for knocking their opponents out. This game arrives at an interesting time on the switch since it’s on a platform that has both Fortnite and Splatoon 2, the latter of which Ninjala has been compared to quite a bit from and aesthetic point of view since both have rather cartoony designs.
Personally I was intrigued by Ninjala when I saw it during the Nntendo Direct at E3 2018 and again in the Nintendo Direct Mini in March but i wondered if it would be fun and challenging enough to compete with Splatoon 2 which takes up majority of my online multiplayer time on the switch. the games developers were also being very coy about the in game spending, there obviously would be some given the base game would be free but just how the micro transactions would work was not revealed prior to release. It also got a delay but received an open beta test on what would’ve been it’s first weekend which was a good taste of what to expect in the game but now that it’s here the big question isn’t should you buy it since it’s free but is it worth investing your time in. well unlike many of the aforementioned games this one has a focus more on Mele weapons rather than ranged weapons which does a good job to separate it from other battle royal games. It also has a larger focus on very large environments with multiple floors and a verity of locations. In that sense it is more ambitious than a game like Splatoon 2 in terms of map design though I feel Splatoon 2 maps were slightly better implemented for it’s gameplay compared to Ninjala.
- gameplay: I actually think the game improved it’s balancing since the open beta since I had a much better time with the mechanics of the gameplay this time and was consistently doing better as a result. it helps that the conection issues are improved and the game is running at a good framerate even in games with players having choppy connections. the gameplay is fun but challenging which really encouraged to experiment with different kinds of Mele weapons and Ninja gum which acts as a secondary weapon to see what suited my playstyle and the servers do a good job matching you up with players on your level. I also enjoyed the strategy between balancing attacking opponents or destroying drones to power you up especially since there’s bonus points for most knockouts and most drone destruction. A few mechanics seem underused like wall climbing and disguising yourself as objects in the environment and the parry system has a bit more of a luck factor to it but I suspect new maps in free updates will fix that issue
- soundtrack: it’s a really good mix of songs that change depending on whose currently winning which is really novel
- the microtransactions: they’re not terrible since they are mostly cosmetic stuff for your character and don’t effect your ability to play but it still feels slightly predatory and you will not accumulate up much of the in game currency through gameplay so expect to spend a bit of money on this
- The designs: I like the cartoony designs on the whole but the Splatoon comparisons are not unwarranted and to a good extent it is distracting. I shouldn’t be reminded of another game whilst playing this one especially when the other is far more creative and unique. The graphics as a whole are pretty good and can match with many other Nintendo Switch exclusives though it’s not among the best looking games on the system
- The single player: yeah this surprised me I wasn’t expecting a single player campaign but it’s alright, it gets the job done but it’s nothing amazing and it costs a bit of money which I’d rather spend on multiplayer items
- Only 2 maps on launch: this will be fixed later since the game will most likely get new maps in updates but at launch I found 2 maps which is pitiful considering Splatoon 2 had way more at launch and has loads right now. It leads to not much variety with games and before anyone says you can only play 2 maps at a time on Splatoon 2 that game at least periodically changes the maps through the day and I can change what style of game I play if the map I want is in a different one.
I had fun with Ninjala. It was really cool and really engaging and will likely get better with updates. However with my online multiplayer time I think I’ll be sticking more with Splatoon 2 and Smash Bros. it’s not that I thought this game was bad, far from it it’s a really good game, but I personally get a bit more fun out of those. However I will not say i don’t recommend trying it I really do I just recommend Splatoon 2 more since it’s gameplay is slightly more accessible and it has way more content without microtransactions though I had more fun with this than Fortnite
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