Reviews - Updated on April 6, 2022

The Nintendo Switch is sorely lacking in multiplayer competitive games. In addition to Splatoon 2, Overwatch, Fortnite, and Tetris 99, there’s nothing to even remember (except Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with its nightmarish online), but all of them could get bored over the years, and the developers are in no hurry to offer something new.

This is why the console audience followed Ninjala with such interest – outwardly it resembles Splatoon 2 with its bright effects and fast matches, but in reality, there is little in common between these projects. And although at this stage the game is more like a skeleton that will be overgrown with content in the future, it is difficult to break away from it now. If you figure it out, of course.

Battle for leadership

Ninja is distributed on a shareware model. This is an arena action game where eight players face off in a match. There is a mode in which everyone acts for himself (for some reason it is called the “Royal Battle”, although no one drops out after death), and there is a team battle with two squads of four people. All participants are proficient with melee weapons and can fight each other using various attacks and techniques.

For many actions, points are issued – who scored more, won. That is, killing as many opponents as possible seems to be optional, but for this, at the end of the match, they give an impressive bonus that will help you get to the top line in the final table. It is important to deal damage to opponents, as well as smash drones – they will not only improve statistics but also give more opportunities in battle.

Ninjala game review

There is also a Statue of Liberty here.

Your student

The main problem of Ninjala, due to which some of the users who downloaded it may lose interest, is the lack of normal training. This is not Tetris 99, where they didn’t explain anything at all, but here the developers limited themselves to only basic things that you can guess on your own. Hit this button, dash with this one, there is a double jump, there is a wall run … As a result, you get into a multiplayer match and you see something completely different from what you were told in a short “tutorial”.

For example, nowhere is it said about different types of strikes depending on which direction the stick is deflected – there are normal attacks, teleportation behind the opponent’s back, and throwing him into the air. And when you fight with an opponent and suddenly you both hang in the air, after which some multi-colored arrows appear on the screen, you generally become perplexed. You decide to go back into the workout, press pause, and after a few more presses, you find several slides describing these elements.

Sometimes you use the “ult” at very good moments.

Ninja uses a Rock, Paper, Scissors-style system – when two players attack each other with the same moves, they must tilt the left stick in the chosen direction. If you tilt it up and the enemy decides to down, you will win the duel and deal damage to him. If you chose to the left, and the enemy is down, then he will start beating you. Now you often find yourself in such situations precisely because everyone attacks each other with the same attacks, but those who understand the mechanics have to rely on “random” less often. By the way, I advise you to move the stick to the left or right – it is very rarely tilted down.

Energetic ninja

Another element, the explanation of which has sunk somewhere deep into the menu, is related to drones – large objects that appear a few seconds after the start of the match. In normal mode they are red, in command mode they are green. Standard drones, when destroyed, not only give the player points but also increase his energy scale by one bar. Drones with Umbrellas increase it by 2 and take slightly more hits to destroy them.

Energy is needed for various actions: to dash to the side (to get closer to the opponent or fly away from him), to accelerate (three cells are used), and to create a powerful weapon based on the existing one – as soon as there are eight cells, you can increase your strength to the end round. Such weapons are most useful in those moments when Rock, Paper, and Scissors are activated. In a normal situation, tilting the stick in the same direction forces the participants to re-select directions, but with powerful weapons, this does not matter – if the same ones are chosen, the owner of the big bat still wins.

When too busy with the drone, you can miss the enemy.

Why all this is not explained in any way in the game itself, although users had questions during beta testing, is not entirely clear. The more you understand the combat system, the more fun it is to participate in matches. You roughly understand when it’s better to use a shield (in Splatoon everything is connected with paint, here it’s with chewing gum, so inflated chewing gum acts as a shield), and how to break through the opponent’s defense when it’s better to engage in battle. Since we’re playing as ninjas, we can turn into various objects (from garbage cans to air conditioners) and wait for unsuspecting enemies near the drones to deliver the final blow and take all the points for ourselves.

There are 12 types of weapons to choose from, which can be divided into three categories: fast, regular, and slow. They differ not only in appearance but also in the techniques performed with their help, as well as the “ults” that accumulate during the match. By pressing X, the character either turns into a hurricane and inflicts heavy damage to the affected opponents within a couple of seconds, releases a powerful beam, or otherwise practically secures points for one or two kills.

It is a pity that there are very few cards – only two. Moreover, they are very different from each other: one resembles an arena, while the other is a small area with tall buildings. Obviously, on the second one, it is much more difficult to find enemies than on the first one – it seems to be good that special tactics are required at each location, but, on the other hand, the difference in size and verticality is too great.

But there is no difference between the characters – no matter what appearance you choose, they will do the same thing, only their equipment is important.

One loss in “Rock, Paper, Scissors” does not mean death – there is always a chance to escape and win.

Fighting mods

The creators of any free-to-play game have to make money somehow, and in Ninjala, fortunately, almost all microtransactions involve cosmetic items. From the very first day, a battle pass is available with rewards for each level: including costumes, masks, hats, emotions at the beginning and end of the match, all sorts of graffiti, and so on. For completing the pass, you get the same amount that you paid for it, so next season you won’t have to spend 599 rubles again. I liked the game enough to want to immediately buy a pass, but those who want to play for free will not be left without gifts – they will be given a couple of emotions, a mask and 200 coins, that is, after five seasons they will be able to save up for a paid version.

Only medals from the pass, which are used to purchase cards with bonus passive abilities and slots for them, can be considered “Halloween”. One card activates lifestyle on hits, another increases the amount of energy at the start of the match, and the third allows you to see drones through walls when approaching them. The cards themselves are cheap, but the slots are more expensive, and although medals drop out often in the free pass, there are more of them in the paid one – its customers will get them faster than others. But I would not call these “passives” too important – if you understand the mechanics poorly, they will not help in any way.

The main shortcoming of the monetization system can be called one-time coloring for weapons. They drop out after matches, and you don’t experience a shortage of them, but they also added loot boxes with a ton of different wrappers, and they ask for real money for this. Of course, no one warns about a limited number of uses, so unknowing users can spend money on what is taken from them after the first match. Now players are predictably dissatisfied with this state of affairs – because of this, skins do not want to be used at all. It would be better if the colorings were eternal but very rare – for example, they would be added to the same battle pass.

Ninjala game review

A common situation in the single-player campaign.

The shop also sells a story campaign, or rather, its first chapter. It consists of five missions and takes about an hour to complete. In such a short time, the story of one of the characters and his mentor is told, fighting with space ninjas. The plot is served with the help of comics and is not particularly interesting, and the missions can hardly be called exciting – just fights with not the smartest opponents. It would be great if at least here the main mechanics of multiplayer were explained in more detail, but apart from running along the walls and turning into boxes, nothing needs to be done here. But the final boss is good. But for the sake of it, I don’t recommend spending 599 rubles – I generally bought this DLC at a discount, for 269 rubles, and it became a pity.

***

The main mode – multiplayer is available free of charge and does not require any investments (even a subscription to the Nintendo online service is not required). Frankly speaking, there is not too much content in Ninjala – only two maps and two modes. But there is some kind of rating mode; however, to gain access to the leaderboard, you have to delve into the menu.

It would be nice if here they explained in more detail how to play correctly and how to act in certain situations. It’s me who is meticulous and went to look for advice on the Internet from those who figured everything out faster than me, and some people will be confused at the sight of “Rock, Scissors, Paper” and go back to Splatoon 2 without giving the game a chance. Ninja has potential, it looks great, it’s fun to play, and the battle pass allows you to get a lot of cosmetic items for minimal investment. But when you come up with so many mechanics, you need to help users understand them – after all, they will keep the game afloat.

Pros: bright visual style; deep enough for a game of this type of combat system; fun gameplay that gets even more fun when you get a better understanding of the mechanics; a dozen unique weapons; the presence of a battle pass for those who desire cosmetic items, but do not want to pay a lot.

Cons: tutorial does not explain the combat system well, ignoring its most important elements; not enough maps and modes; One-time weapon skins look weird; paid single mode is not worth the money.

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