REVIEW: ‘Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi’ is a Blast to Play (Switch)

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Nijala: Gumball Shinobi
Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi is a free to play arena brawler for the Nintendo Switch developed and published by GungHo Online Entertainment. The game can remind players a tad bit of Splatoon in the sense that it’s teenagers that are roaming around a map with various weapons trying to knock out each other and score the most points. The premise of the game is simple, but the game mechanics of Ninjala are quite complex, such as the Parry system where you have a rock, paper, scissors mini-game, or even just learning how to play with the 3 variations of weaponry. Though I’m not much of a competitive gamer as much anymore, Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi’s charm allows me to get lost in the game with ease.

Whether it’s the game’s colorful aesthetic, which Splatoon also shares, or the rather decent character customization. I really enjoy the fact that you can get new gear for your shinobi, but I do not like that weapon skins are single-use and have to be unlocked. I mean if they’re cosmetic, why are they not just permanently added to my account? Yet even with that gripe, the game is still a blast to play.


There are only currently two game modes and two maps to play on. Ninjala’s base game is online-only, but if you want to be able to play offline or even delve into the lore, you have to purchase the currently available story pack, from the eShop that’s on sale right now for $4.49, usually $9.99.

Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi shines best in the combat, though it at times can feel really janky. The combat in Ninjala has you gum-dashing, wall running, transforming into random objects to hide, and of course slapping around fellow shinobi with the goal of scoring a Knockout, called IPPON, and earning the most points to grab hold of the coveted first place title.

Post-match scoring is where things can really get frustrating as there are score multipliers that are applied that could easily shift your placement. I personally have gone from first place to second or even third place because other players had close scores, but snagged “Drone or IPPON Master” post score bonuses and dethroned me. It does make it a bit disheartening to see, but the fact that you want to snag those post score bonuses keep me coming back for more.

Ninjala does have a season pass, like most games these days do, and it comes with two tracks. Of course with the paid track giving more goodies than the free track, but you have 100 levels to clear. You also can earn things from medals to unlock card slots to augment your favorite weapons to emotes and even swaggy costumes. The tracks seem fair for what they offer and personally won’t be buying the paid track just because I’m not a fan of the Season Pass model.


Overall, I have to say Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi is a blast to play. It does have its shortcomings, but for a game to come out the gate this polished and fun, I can see myself playing this game for quite some time. Ninjala is a ninja’s fan introduction game and I feel it does a good job.  If you’re curious to check this game out, pick it up now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for the cool price of Free!


Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Overall, I have to say Ninjala: Gumball Shinobi is a blast to play. It does have its shortcomings, but for a game to come out the gate this polished and fun, I can see myself playing this game for quite some time. Ninjala is a ninja’s fan introduction game and I feel it does a good job.  If you’re curious to check this game out, pick it up now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for the cool price of Free!