Klei Studio’s (the folks behind Shank) new 2D stealth platformer Mark of the Ninja was released on September 7 and when I bought it yesterday it took me at least five minutes and six addition screens (I counted) to get from my ad-infested Xbox dashboard to a page where I could actually buy the dang game. Given that Mark of the Ninja is being lauded critically and is an Xbox LIVE exclusive for the time being, you’d think that Microsoft would be promoting that game on at least the front of the games tab.
But alas, there is not a single mention of Mark of the Ninja until you go to the game’s specific page and buy it. That’s a damn shame, considering that it’s pretty incredible. If you have no idea what this game is, here’s a quick gameplay video for Mark of the Ninja (we really need some more video content around here, don’t we?) which should give you the gist of what it’s all about.
I played it for a couple of hours last night and I’m already in love with it. The game’s visual style is really eye-catching while being informative at the same time: if your character is black, he’s hidden, and if he’s in color, he’s not. This also applies to the various guards you’ll be slicing, letting you know if the body of your latest victim is in plain sight or not. Stealth is also a lot of fun, this being the first game to really do it right for me since Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. You have so many options to be a badass ninja, from hanging from the ceiling to traveling through vents to pausing time in midair to throw your noise maker to distract a guard before you land behind him and shove your sword through his neck.
If you’re hesitant about the 15 dollar price tag, at least download the demo and try it out; chances are you’ll be hooked. Personally, I think everyone should buy this game, if only to shove Microsoft’s poor marketing back in their face. Has anyone played Mark of the Ninja? What do you think of it? Any thoughts on the hoops I had to jump through to find the game?