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At the beginning players choose a Ninjago ninja (either Cole, Zane, Jay or Kai). Each ninja has a separate story to complete, which culminates in them fighting the dragon of their respective element in order to obtain the Golden Weapon of their respective element. Each ninja starts off with different stat levels for each element: earth, ice, fire, and lightning. These, along with health players start with at the beginning of each level, can be increased when they earn enough experience points, allowing them to level up. The stat levels can also be raised in different ways by choosing different weapons, though these changes only last as long as that particular weapon is in use.
After choosing a ninja, players are introduced to the basics of the game through a training level. In levels, both the ninja and enemies each have nine square tiles, organized in a square, which they can move between. These two squares are side by side, but the player cannot cross over to the enemies' side, just as the enemies cannot cross over to the player's side. The player uses the arrow keys or the "W", "A", "S", "D" keys to move. The spacebar is used to shoot kunai at enemies and deliver a certain amount of damage based on what level the player is at. The player can also use cards by pressing the "1", "2", "3", "4" keys. The cards provide different power-ups, such as increasing the player's health or allowing the player to deliver greater damage to enemies. These cards are continually replaced with new ones. A bar on the bottom of the left of the screen starts loading after players receive a new set of cards, and once it is finished loading, players are given a new set if they have used up all of their cards or if they press the "E" key. Once the enemies onscreen are defeated, new ones take their place. All enemies must be defeated in order to complete the level. At the end of each level, the experience points and coins earned by the player in that level are tallied up.
After completing the training level, players may check their stats; use the coins gained to purchase new, unlocked weapons or cards; enter secret codes; or play another level that is either related to their quest ("Story") or is not ("Random"). There are a certain number of each card that the player can buy, which allows them to use it more often in their decks in comparison to other cards. To make their own decks, players must choose one of the weapons they have bought that they will use the deck with. Any bought card can be used if the player's stat levels with the chosen weapon meet the card's requirements. A total of 15 cards may be added to a deck, but since cards are continually replenished in the levels, this only represents which cards will be used in the levels and how often they will appear.
Some time after the player has completed all of the levels for each ninja, they will be able to choose one of the ninja to play as in a story that involves Samukai stealing the weapons (it is revealed, however, that one of the weapons is fake in the game Spinjitzu Smash DX).
Spinjitzu Smash spawned multiple sequels that can be separated into canon and non-canon sequels. Spinjitzu Smash DX was the direct sequel to Spinjitzu Smash. The next game to be made, Smash Creations, was non-canon, and allowed players to customize their own ninja, but kept the gameplay intact. Smash Party retained the ability to customize your own character, and was similarly non-canon but added the twist of new skeletons with strange, sometimes food-themed attacks. Finally, Viper Smash and Viper Smash ZX were canon, focusing on Season 2.
- The Gameplay is similiar to the Megaman Battle Network series.