iPhone App Review: Notebook Ninja

iPhone App Review: Notebook Ninja

May 9th, 2011 by

When I was a child I used to make throwing stars out of four nails and some electrical tape. These days something like that would most likely get a child suspended from school, but luckily the iPhone has come along to satisfy the sociopathic urges of kids everywhere. One little gem that does just that is Notebook Ninja from developer Proton Reactor.

How It Works

Against a backdrop of quad-ruled notepaper, you must use your throwing stars and stealth to eliminate a team of guards on each level. There are obstacles that you must rebound your projectiles around, moving and stationary guards, little teleportation smoke-fire thingies that will transport your throwing stars to another part of the map, and the ability to eliminate one guard in a more personal way by teleporting yourself and slashing him from behind. The game currently features 25 levels.

Pros And Cons

The gameplay of Notebook Ninja is solid, but even better than the gameplay is the graphical style. It’s a beautiful game in its own way: it has a charming art style and great, sharp graphics, as well as exceptionally fast and smooth animation. There is a good foundation here for what could be an amazing game, but the app itself has a few minor drawbacks that prevent it from achieving greatness.

The major problem with the game right now is that there is very little excitement to the game. There are guards that you must eliminate, and they carry guns, but they never attack. There is no sense of urgency to the gameplay, nothing compulsively driving you to complete each level. You could replace the guards with clouds, the ninja with a unicorn, and the throwing stars with rainbows and you might end up with a more compelling game. If I see ninjas and throwing stars, I expect the level to potentially be able to end from my life being in mortal danger, and not just because I ran out of ammo.

There are also a few missed opportunities in the interface that don’t affect the gameplay, but just detract little by little from your willingness to open up the app. There are 25 levels to play, but whenever you open the app (even if it’s only been closed for less than a second), you start from the opening splash screen (which contains exactly one option, “PLAY”, a pet peeve of mine). Then, instead of being taken to the last level you have yet to complete, you must tape through the list of levels yourself. You can’t even swipe through the list the way you swipe through your song list, you have to tap up and down arrows built into the interace and scroll through the levels one at a time. Like I said, it doesn’t ruin the app but it just doesn’t make any sense.

There is also a golden opportunity to allow the player to select from several styles of notebook paper background, as well as the lack of ability to play your own music (especially since the included music is so repetitive).


I feel like I’m being overly critical of the game, but it’s really just because I like it so much and want to see it improve. In its current state it’s a diamond in the rough, an early draft of a future game that is good now but can be great if it’s developed to its full potential. Maybe if more of us download then the developers can get to helping it fulfill that potential?

Featured iPhone App

About Fresh Apps

iPhone icon - Fresh AppFresh Apps is all about finding the best iPhone Apps. The idea is really simple:
- If you like the app
- if you use the app
- if it makes you smile
Then + Make it fresh!

Advertise on Fresh Apps...

New to Fresh Apps?

iTunes App Store, Fresh Apps is betterThere are a couple of things you need to see! So grab a cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy finding a few new iPhone Apps.
- Most Fresh iPhone Apps
- Most Fresh FREE iPhone Apps
- Newest iPhone Apps


Fresh Apps Stats

Total iPhone Apps:
Free iPhone Apps:
Total Users:
Total Comments:
Total Freshness:
Avg # of Apps Added Daily:

XHTML | CSS | © 2008-2009 Fresh Apps. All Rights Reserved

Fresh Apps Grass... Ahhh, picturesque.