Notebook Ninja Video App Review
Notebook Ninja, by the deliciously named developer Proton Reactor, offers truly original gameplay for both the iPhone and iPad. The game is a bit short (even with the additional five levels introduced by the latest update) but if you’re looking for a real up-and-comer in the AppStore, you could hardly do better than Notebook Ninja.
The gameplay of Notebook Ninja is a bit hard to describe: That alone should tell you how unique the game is. Your in-app avatar is a small, angry looking ninja who resides along one side of a notebook. On the other half of the page is an assortment of barriers and enemies which you’re charged with slaughtering. To do so, you’ll need to strategically hurl ninja stars at them, all while staying on your side of the page. Aligning shots takes a bit of practice, and in fact, reminded me a lot of billiards. The game keeps up the pace though, adding teleportation holes that shoot your stars Mario-Warp-Pipe style onto the other side, as well as adding a neat assassin feature.
Notebook Ninja provides detailed, pictorial instructions on how to play the game, but it’s still a bit confusing at first. I didn’t realize I could move my ninja around until I’d just about beaten all the levels. Likewise, the scoring system is a bit odd, and I would have appreciated more documentation on how exactly it works.
Graphics and Design
Thankfully, Notebook Ninja looks fantastic on the iPad. The graphics are crisp and delightful, and feel very immersive for a casual game. There’s nothing more exciting then hurling stars across the page, and then watching boxes, enemies, and stars swing about in a mass of chaotic shards. Menus are very simplistic, and navigating different levels is as easy as clicking left or right through the full list at the home screen. Likewise, in-app information (scores, available stars, assassinations, pause and menu functions) is very well-integrated and non-obtrusive.
My only complaint with Notebook Ninja’s design is that the game is oddly short. I easily played through all the offered levels in about thirty minutes: Quite a feat considering there are at least a dozen present. Either this means the levels were a tad easy, the game is too short, or—very unlikely—I am one wicked ninja.
Overall Value and Replay Fun
Priced at the ever-comfortable $ .99 in the AppStore, Notebook Ninja will hardly break the bank. It offers a truly unique casual gaming experience on the iPhone and iPad, and the graphics alone ensure you’ll have a good time. As stated, the app’s length could be enhanced with future updates, at which point, Notebook Ninja could easily be a featured app in iTunes.
Notebook Ninja [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 3.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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