As a testament to Mark of the Ninja’s excellence, I’ll start off by saying that I’d never been one for stealth games. If a game offers me the choice to either be stealthy or punch my way through (Like Deus Ex, Hitman.), I’ll opt for the latter.
But Mark of the Ninja was something thing different. Released in late 2012, the 2D side-scrolling stealth game by Klei Entertainment (and published by Microsoft Studios) proved to be a real gem in the indie uprising of past years. It is easily the pinnacle of 2D stealth games, and by far the most intuitive stealth game I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience.
MotN’s animations and art style is sleek as anything your eyes would have ever feast on. Here’s the mad cool launch trailer. Cue Ninja mythical arts and contemplative narration.
Klei Entertainment did an excellent job in making things not just look pretty, but also clear and distinct. You’ll easily identify friend from foe. The enemy’s line of sight and sound triggers are distinct, while light and shadow bring the dark oriental world to life. The death animations too are super stylised, making you feel bad-ass maximus.
Once you grapple with the key mechanics of MotN, gameplay will become second nature. About 2-3 levels in, controls became instinctive to me. You’ll fling above and below enemies with buttery smoothness, pulling off killer combos on the fly that’ll even catch you off guard. And with some (but not too much) effort put into exploration, every possible angle of approach will open up to you.
If you’ve heard of MotN before, or had a tiny itch to try it out, trust me, get it. You will not regret. Not one second of it wasn’t polished to Katana perfection. Every inch of it has been pored over by Klei’s team with tone and manner to match its Ninja-ish story of honour, death, and redemption.
Verdict: A full teethed smile that’ll be cherished till the dawn of time.
Here’s the Steam link for Mark of the Ninja. It should be discounted really well during any Steam sales as it has been a number of years since its release.