With this particular review I’ll be focusing on the free to play elements of the game which are essentially just the multiplayer modes. There is also a single player campaign type comic offering that is a premium component of this title. I thought that was worth mentioning for those possibly interested in this game.
That aside, this is a brawler type of experience featuring a very basic mashing rock, paper, scissors type of combat. There are essentially two modes to play. The first is a free for all battle royale, the second is a team brawl. You unlock the latter after having played a few matches, or well hitting a certain level marker.
There are only two maps to play on, with the most popular of the two being a bland box map. The latter one has some neat levels of verticality to it within a city street. This map takes full advantage of the movement and game flow, whereas the first one is just boring. That’s a lot of this though, a sort of random boring melee mashing and I’ll go over more of what I mean under the gameplay section.
Back to the offering, that’s really all there is to it. Prior to matches, which take only a few minutes to complete you’ll be in a dojo waiting room. They need this because the wait is often as long as the actual matches are to play. It’s short, minimal and really nothing too special quite honestly. I foresee this one dwindling out in the not so distant future. If it doesn’t, good for the developers I suppose.
That’s just how I see it. Moving past that, there’s a neat solo area for customization. I was truly impressed by the depth in changing how your character looks with the whole bubblegum aesthetic coming into play as well. That’s a big theme of this, bubblegum. You do unlock things fairly often, with a battle pass being present as well. I mean, can’t be a multiplayer game and not have one of those these days.
This definitely has some visuals that pop, being very similar to say Splatoon in color. Each of the characters look unique through the game’s varied customization. Despite that, the levels feel very uninspired. The box level is literally just a box with some stuff spray painted along the concrete. On the maps you will find neat little bots to break down and some tokens to collect during battles.
You’ll also find others to fight, though that’s a given. The goal is to mainly just eliminate foes, while of course getting the extra points by bashing those machines. The same is also present in team battles. I did find the placement for some of these smashing bots to be a tad odd since it would push some players away from the actual area of conflict.
That’s weird map flow, but I suppose that comes in the realms of it literally just being a square area. There’s having a minimal selection of map offerings, and then having only two. That really isn’t acceptable, particularly in the case of the secondary map being hard to matchmake for.
With that secondary map being far better and more tuned to the actual style of gameplay that’s presented here. So, with combat you have a few attack options. You have some basic specials that have a brief charge and then a regular combative option. When you’re fighting another individual things will go into a stick move and button tap sort of combo allowing you to get behind them for a hit.
There’s no real grace, or even format here with it really being a sort of random tapping. Sometimes I won the skirmishes, sometimes I lost them and I could never really get an idea if there was a way to really be “good” at it. It’s basically just nonsensical combat, and I didn’t really see much depth within it. Oh, I should also mention occasionally you get an ultimate attack such as a tornado to use briefly.
With that, I really wasn’t too thrilled with the combat structure, and since this is a brawler that’s a rather big issue quite honestly. There are some other neat movement features to this. You can run up walls swiftly, or hop up in the air fairly high. You could reach even higher points if you get slapped across the arena after being defeated.
Ninjala is a rather bland free to play brawler in terms of combat, despite having some lovely visual aesthetics to the characters. The maps are far too limited, and very tiny to play on. The most boring of the two is a literal box, and seems to have the most weighting. Well, it seems to be the easiest to get a match setup for. I had some issues with matches starting, and the wait times are just ridiculous. There needs to be a completely new matchmaking system for this as it’s dreadful to deal with.
I wasn’t a fan of the combat in this, finding it to be rather boring and just purely random. I didn’t feel a sense of skill within it, or the concept of being able to master it in a way to dominate opponents. I did get better at it, winning more as I played. At the same time, I never really understand what I was doing different aside from timing and luck. It felt very nonsensical, and that may be different for you of course. As mentioned, I can’t speak for the single player content since that was a premium.
I did want to reinforce that it’s there, and might be neat to try out. This is a very limited multiplayer offering despite having a plethora of costume choices. There just isn’t much in this to keep my interest, and what’s available was rather bland quite honestly. Some might enjoy this, I just can’t see the longevity of this one unless they rapidly provide some additional content to build it up a bit more. It just wasn’t very good in my opinion. It reminded me of Arms, and I did not like that game.
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Ninjala Review on Nintendo Switch