Mark of The Ninja is a 2D stealth game by Vancouver based studio, Klei Entertainment.
You can immediately tell that Mark of The Ninja is the works of Klei due to the familiar art and comic book style design. We have previously seen this in the Shank titles and just like before, it’s great.
Mark of the ninja is the total opposite to Shank. In Shank you will go through a level slicing and dicing up enemies like Rambo on acid, whereas Mark of The Ninja is all about keeping in the shadows and leaving no trace that you were even of existence.
Can Klei pull it off? My god yes!!!
You’re a ninja who’s tattoos withhold unbelievable powers but at a great cost.
Your clan is in danger of extinction and it is up to you to ensure this doesn’t happen.
The story is pretty good but to be honest, I didn’t really care what was said but instead just soaked up the great comic style animations..
Nowadays when we think of stealth games we mainly think of Splinter Cell and Tenchu Z.Although Tenchu Z had reasonably simple controls they were at times still a bit of a negative.Splinter Cell on the other hand has far too many controls/abilities when all you want to do is be a sly unseen man going about his work.Mark of The Ninja does not have any control issues! A is jump, B use, Y Ninja item, X attack/assassinate, RB grappling hook, RT run,LT focus and D-Pad select item… Simple.
The controls feel very natural very early on so, after you’ve completed 2 levels you know exactly what you’re doing without feeling hindered.
Throughout your journey you will be rewarded money, either for collecting collectible items, completing challenges or for general completion of the level. The money earned can be spent on some vital items/abilities etc such as techniques (new moves), Distraction items (smoke bombs) or Attack items (spike mine).Depending on your play style will depend on what you choose to unlock and use on each level and trust me, the slightest change will have a greater outcome so choose wisely.
The environments are unique and very well designed.Each level is mainly set at the height of darkness with nothing more than slight moonlight but, once within a vicinity lights and motion sensors become a danger to your progress. If a light could lead to you being spotted, take it out and maybe it will become a distraction so that you’re able to sneak past the guard(s) or maybe it will fall and take the guards out.If there is a laser, turn it off or if you cant, throw a smoke bomb and walk through. Your choice!
Many objects and doors are located throughout the levels so luckily for you there is always something for you to hide behind but again, be careful leaving your hiding spot especially if you chose not to take out a guard as he walks past!
You have a map that you can check by pressing the back button. This map supplies you with area knowledge as long as that area has been discovered by you.I didn’t find the map to be great but at times it was a help. I prefer to explore off of my own accord.
Enemies vary but are equally dangerous to you.Some soldiers are patrolling with guns, some have shields that have to (if you choose) be killed from behind, some are very tough and can only be killed after being dazed and dogs will sniff you out and give away your location.Being detected will lead to you being shot at and an alarm being activated for at least 10 seconds.You don’t have much health which I love because it means you really have to think outside of the box in order to progress or it’s game over.
Taking out enemies is your choice. If you want to complete the game without killing anyone you can, and if you want to take everyone out you can.When you’re close enough to an enemy to kill them you will press X. An action indicator will show you the stealth kill move ie push left and X but if you get it wrong the enemy will scream whilst dying which could lead to your presence being known.You can always use items to kill if you don’t want to get your hands dirty.Spike mines will go off when an enemy walks over them, or maybe you would prefer a poison dart that makes the enemy go a bit crazy and start shooting with a possibility of friendly fire J
Noise is represented visually and by this I mean, if you run, a large circle will surround you showing you the radius at which enemies could hear if they were within it.Light is obvious as again its reach can be seen visually, and then you have the sniffer dogs who also have a sniff radius.This is a brilliant yet simple idea that really keeps you on your toes.
Mark of The Ninja is as smooth as silk with the only let down being the map. You will grapple your way around levels sneaking into vents deciding what route to take and what actions you deem necessary.It’s great to have a game that is so simple to control and so focused on what it’s meant to be, a stealth game.You don’t need to be a stealth fan in order to appreciate what a great job Klei have done and to be honest this is my arcade GOTY.If I were you I would go and grab this bargain right now for 1200msp