Seriously, who doesn’t like stealth-based games? Show me one gamer who doesn’t enjoy at least one title that incorporates stealth gameplay, I dare you. Needless to say, for those of us who really enjoy sneaking around (in games) we have the inexplicably awesome “Mark of the Ninja” to keep us entertained.
In a nutshell, “Mark of the Ninja” is a modern ‘side-scroller’ with very artistic visuals, simplified gameplay and some great effects. What’s more, the in-game cut scenes play out like an animated feature which is very enjoyable. As you might expect, all is not ‘light-hearted and flowery’ in this land of violence and your character quickly learns that they have been designated as their clan’s next “champion”. While this might sound like the ultimate honor, it comes at a very steep price – your sanity and life. Naturally, a situation like this calls for swift action, which takes the form of our hero exacting revenge upon a rival clan.
When you think of the word “ninja”, what comes to mind? Well, take all of those preconceived ideas about garb, architecture, and dark mystical settings and get ready to experience them, because “Mark of the Ninja” provides plenty of visual examples of the most well-known ninja clichés. Aside from style however, the graphics in MotN are quite good for a 2D game, the level designs are perfectly suited to the on-screen action and the lighting effects really do it justice as well.
“Mark of the Ninja” is another in a long line of arcade-like games which feature simplified controls that provide surprisingly deep gameplay. In other words, just because there are a ‘limited number of moves’ one should not expect to become immediately become bored, it’s all in how you apply them. For example, takedowns from stealth cover are always fun, but in order to prevent your hapless victim from alerting the other guards you’ll have to complete a quick time event. It is the little additions like this that keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.
However, you can complete missions without inflicting damage upon lesser targets if you choose. One of the funnier / more interesting features of this game is that it offers you multiple ways to complete each level (and you can even scare guards with bodies).
Certainly 2D games are not for everyone, but for those of us who can appreciate what they have to offer, “Mark of the Ninja” is a great experience. In all reality “MotN” is a great little stealth platformer that plays out like a demented / evolved version of the original Mario bros. only with ninjas instead of Italian Plumbers.