Ninjala: Tips on how to win

Ninjala is the latest multiplayer action game to arrive on Nintendo Switch, and it’s definitely a must-play. With big plans for the future, a season pass fully stocked with unlockables, and fun competitive brawling gameplay, it seems like Ninjala will be active for a long time. If you’ve jumped into the game and find yourself struggling to get wins, or are even having a hard time placing in the top three each round, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help secure that W.

Revisit the Tutorial

This is a fairly simple but effective trick to really learn the ways of the ninja in Ninjala. When I first played the game, I did the tutorial, and then I jumped into a few multiplayer rounds and got my butt kicked. The tutorial is loaded with info about attacking and defending, so it’s wise to revisit this quick briefing on how the game works at least one more time. It’ll give you a better handle on the game’s basics, and it’s just a really good way to get those basics to stick.

Tutorials are rarely fun, but you’ll be surprised by how useful it is to revisit the tutorial in Ninjala and read the bullet points just once.

Go Straight for the Drones

Alright, so you’ve played the tutorial twice and now the basics of combat have really sunk in. You’re ready to attack other players head-on as soon as you start a new battle… except that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. In Ninjala, you’ll find large, apple-shaped drones everywhere on the map. Attacking and destroying these drones grants you S-Energy, which is tied to your abilities and can let you turn your standard weapon into a giant weapon.

By upping your S-Energy, you’ll be able to use more special abilities, and you’ll be closer to getting your giant weapon. Using a giant weapon is essential if you want to deal big damage and have a major advantage over players who are still using their standard weapons. Drones also give you some points when destroyed, so you won’t need to be too worried about falling behind early on.

Obviously, there might be times when the only thing standing between you and a drone is another player. In those cases, you should definitely fight it out. Just be on the lookout for drones from the start as destroying these will give you a nice advantage early on.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll gain a points bonus at the end of the round if you destroyed the most drones out of all players. Those extra points could help you dethrone the first place player at the end of the match if you’re just trailing behind by a little.

Don’t Forget to Use Your Transformations

In Ninjala, you can morph, or transform, into normal objects you’ll see onscreen such as flags, metal barricades, and potted bushes. There are a lot of uses for these transformations. You can hide from enemies if your health is low. You can lie in wait near a drone and ambush another player. Or you can wait while multiple players duke it out and then jump in and pick them off once they’ve all been weakened.

Transformations can get you out of trouble, but they can also give you an advantage in battle. Use your powers of transformation often and wisely.

Extra Tip: Keep an Eye Out for Opponents Who May Be Hiding in Plain Sight

Just like you can use your transformations strategically, so too can your opponents. Be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Hey! Did that bush just shift a little? Better smash it, just in case.

Use Your Ninja Wall Running Abilities to Ambush Players

It may be cartoon-y and cutesy, but Ninjala really captures the spirit of ninja action movies. Sort of. You can run up walls and do all sorts of crazy parkour moves while you scale the map and battle players. Interestingly, if you run up a wall, you can stay attached to it indefinitely. Use this to your advantage. A lot of players have tunnel vision, sticking strictly to the ground and going straight for drones and other opponents. By chilling on a wall occasionally, you may be able to surprise other players who aren’t aware of your presence.

Use Your Gum Dash to Retreat from Bad Situations

Sometimes you’re going to get clobbered. There’s no getting around it. If you’re overwhelmed by fast enemy attacks, you may be able to retreat by using your gum dash. By blowing a bubble and then pressing B (default controls), you’ll be able to quickly dash forward. This is great if you need to create some separation between you and your opponents. Gum Dashing does use up your S-Energy, though, so be mindful about that as you won’t be able to just spam dash your way out of every situation.

Remember: You Have More Than One Attack

When you first play Ninjala, you might be tempted to simply mash on the buttons. Sure, this will get you a couple of KOs here and there, but you’ll soon find yourself in trouble when you come face-to-face with more experienced players.

Using ZR with a flick of the left stick will let you pull off different moves. For example: If you’re using a hammer, ZR or ZR plus up on the left stick will result in a standard bash attack; ZR plus left or right on the analog stick will let you pull off a sweeping attack, and ZR plus down on the analog stick will result in a spinning attack. Experiment with these moves using the different weapons in the game.

Also, remember that Ninjala uses a rock-paper-scissors parry system. If you enter a parry state — triggered when you and your opponent use identical attacks on each other simultaneously — you’ll have to select an up, down, or left/right attack, as will your opponent. Up beats down, down beats left/right, and left/right beats up. The luck of the draw means you’ll be doing some guesswork and might come up short as parrying results in a 50/50 success rate.

Use Powerful Attacks to Pick the Scraps

Over time you’ll gain the ability to perform really powerful attacks. You can unleash a dragon or turn into a tornado, for example, and destroy everything in front of you. While you can — and in most cases, should — use these abilities in one-on-one encounters, a lot of the time it’s best to save them for when you’re entering a battle against multiple foes. This will allow you to deal huge damage and even possibly eliminate multiple players at once for big points.

Successfully Pull Off Ippon KOs

Just like the player with the most drone KOs is awarded extra points, there’s also a bonus for the player who pulls off the most Ippon KOs — that’s a KO that sends you or your opponent flying through the sky across the stage and getting splatted on a wall. You won’t always get an Ippon, but knowing the requirements to do so should encourage you to at least try and go for these special KOs as much as possible.

There are a couple of ways to get an Ippon finish. The first is winning a parry duel against your opponent — if their health is low enough, that is. If you win a parry against a weakened foe, they’ll go flying into a wall and you’ll rack up an Ippon finish.

Another way to score an Ippon finish is by KOing an opponent that is gum bound. There are multiple ways of putting your opponents in a gum bound state. You can blow a bubble and shoot it at them. You can burst an opponent’s gum bubble, which will make that player gum bound. There are even some special attacks that will bind players. When in a gum bound state the player can’t move, so that’s your time to deal as much damage as possible — if you successfully deplete a gum bound opponent’s health completely, you’ll hit an Ippon KO.

Stick with Other Players in Team Battle

Aside from free-for-all matches, Ninjala also includes team battles. It’s natural to want to go off on your own, especially if you’ve mostly played the battle royale mode, but doing so will mostly lead to failure. Yes, there may be stragglers on the other team, but you could also come up against two players who are sticking together. Worse still, you could be in a one-on-one contest and then get jumped from behind by that player's teammate.

By sticking with another player, you’re likely to take down a lone player with ease, but you’ll also have more of a shot if you encounter two or more players on the same team.

Spend Time Equipping and Upgrading Shinobi Cards in the Menu

There are skills you can equip in Ninjala that can give you an edge in battle. These skills come in the form of Shinobi Cards, which you can unlock by spending Ninja Medals, an in-game currency that’s earned simply by competing online. You can equip four of these in total at once.

Shinobi Cards are pretty great as they’ll grant you some really cool kills, most of which are passive. For example, some cards will allow you to see drone locations through walls or will grant you more morphing or transformation time. There are Shinobi Cards that grant you heath when attacking, let you know when someone’s behind you, and grant you max S-Energy at the start of the battle. Experiment with these Shinobi Cards and find the combination that works best for your play style.

You can also upgrade your cards by using points. Doing so will give your skills a noticeable boost. Be aware, though, that there is a points cap, so you won’t be able to upgrade every Shinobi Card all the way and become a monster on the battlefield — choose your cards wisely and really think of which ones it benefits you most to upgrade.

Ninjala can be a pretty tough game to get a grasp on at first. Even after you’ve played a while, getting victories may prove to be a challenge. The tips and tricks outlined here are sure to get you a few steps closer to getting more KOs, successfully pulling off Ippon finishes, and being a bigger threat in battle.