Ninjala is out now on Nintendo Switch and it lets players partake in a ninjutsu and bubble gum-fueled melee fracas either in solo or team-based modes. One of the selling points of Ninjala is that it’s free-to-play and can be downloaded at no cost, but what lurks behind that free model? We have the lowdown on what’s free, what’s not, the Jala free and premium currency, game microtransactions, premium Story Mode content, and more.
Is Ninjala free?
Looking at the core question here, "is Ninjala free?," The short answer is yes, but only if you’re playing multiplayer. Ninjala has a single-player Story Mode, but it’s locked as premium content. Chapters of the Story Mode will be launched as large segments of single-player content with items like the Ninjala Story Pack: Chapter One being sold for $9.99 plus tax on the Nintendo eShop.
That said, if you aren’t interested in playing Ninjala for the story, then you don’t have to spend a dime. The multiplayer game is fully featured with a wealth of different weapons to use, various game modes and maps, level progression that will allow you to customize your playstyle as you level up, and plenty more. Sure, there’s a premium currency attached to play of the multiplayer game and a season pass of cosmetics, currency, and other goods to go with it, but Ninjala’s multiplayer side doesn’t hide gameplay content behind a paywall. So that is to say, Ninjala multiplayer can be played for free and it has a satisfying array of content and progression to it. You’ll have to pay for Ninjala in its single-player Story Mode form.
Jala, Ninjala Season Pass, & microtransactions
We did say the multiplayer component of Ninjala is free to play, but that’s not to say it’s not without a few different purchasable options as well. Ninjala has a wealth of cosmetics such as character emotes, costumes, character accessories, music, and more that can be earned through either the game’s Ninjala Pass (its version of a season pass), the Gumball Machine, or the Specialty Shop. Nearly all of this is handled through transactions of Jala.
Jala is Ninjala’s premium currency. It can either purchased directly from the in-game store in various increments with real money or it can occasionally received for free through different means, such as through a special event or reward from the devs. The currency is divided into categories of Paid Jala (Jala you buy with real money) and Free Jala (Jala you receive through earned or given means), but it all goes in the same total and serves the same purpose.
With Jala, you can purchase the premium version of the Ninjala Pass. As with season passes in many other games, the Ninjala Pass has a free track of a few goodies including some free Jala, as well as a premium track with extra items you otherwise won’t get. It costs 950 Jala to get the premium Ninjala Pass and there just so happens to be a 1000 Jala pack in the in-game shop for $9.99. It’s worth mentioning that there is 200 Free Jala that can be earned through the free Ninjala Pass, but with the premium pass, you can also earn up to 1450 Jala altogether if you work your way all the way up to the 100th tier. So feasibly, you could just buy your way to the premium Ninjala pass once and then earn your way to further seasons of premium Ninjala Passes through season progress for free from there on out. It’s also worth mentioning that Jala can’t be used to buy pretty much anything that will directly affect your gameplay, so that will probably come as a relief to many.
As for other microtransactions, there’s the Gumball Machine and Specialty Shop. The Specialty Shop features a collection of costume, emotes, and other cosmetics that will change and refresh on a timer. Everything in the shop requires Jala to purchase. Meanwhile, the Gumball Machine is a grab bag machine that will dispense a random array of items. Most of it is weapon skins although it would appear that occasionally there will be special items in the mix like the Cool Runner Style outfit. It costs 100 Jala to get a random pull of 10 items from the Gumball Machine. You can also use 300 Gold Ninja Medals for a pull in place of Jala, but we’d recommend saving your Gold Ninja Medals as they can also unlock ninja ability Shinobi Cards to customize your gameplay. It’s your choice though.
All-in-all, Ninjala has a pretty standard economy in its free-to-play format with the exception of the paid single-player Story Mode. That said, if you’re just looking to play the multiplayer, there’s easily enough to enjoy for free. There are plenty of cool cosmetics and a solid-looking season pass through the premium Ninjala Pass if you want a little more out of your progression, but there’s little that's truly predatory about the game’s microtransactions. The premium currency, Jala, can’t be used to buy anything that affects gameplay, so you also don’t have to worry about whales buying their way to beating you in a match.
Whether you spend real money on Ninjala and the Jala currency or play it completely free, it’s a fair and fun time between ninjas and superpowered chewing gum. Be sure to check out our other Ninjala coverage, such as the weapon guide for more help in being the best ninja you can be.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Is Ninjala free? - Jala, microtransactions, & premium content
So the story mode is locked behind a pay wall, but how much is the multiplayer? Does it have lobbies? What's the age rating? Is it appropriate to play with kids?
Multiplayer is free. Season Pass is $10, but is entirely cosmetic content. The game is super appropriate for all ages. It's like Splatoon but more melee-focused. You can invite friends to online matches or make custom lobbies.