Summary: If PAX Prime 2012 had a yearbook, under "Most Popular" would read this week's XBLA release Mark of the Ninja . It's rare that I'm interested in a game so well liked that I have to throw elbows just to check out a demo, but there I was last weekend, shamelessly flashing press credentials like they were a goddamn police badge in my attempt to test drive this compelling, crowd-drawing title. I'm glad I did. Quite literally, this is the most ninja game ever made.
Summary: " Mark of the Ninja " is a big step up from Klei, and at moments, is one of the best stealth games ever made. You feel so powerful and yet so fragile at the same time- a giddy high that 3D stealth games have so often failed to replicate at all. Yet the B-movie ninja vs. corporation plot and overly-long levels do bring the game down a little bit, which could have also benefitted from a little more visual variety.
PAX East 2013: Mark of the Ninja lead designer on the Special Edition’s new playstyle & more
22 October 2012
Excerpt: Mark of the Ninja and Don’t Starve represent a very powerful turning point for Klei Entertainment in my mind. Shank and Shank 2 never quite grabbed me. The art style was cool, but the gameplay felt shallow and wasn’t as refined as I’d hoped. Suddenly, Klei has two games that are the antithesis of those complaints. Mark of the Ninja may be the very definition of refined, while Don’t Starve carries a ton of depth with it and continues to expand.
Graphic side-scrolling action game with assassination kills.
Common Sense Media
16 October 2012
Summary: Parents need to know that Mark of the Ninja is a side-scrolling action game intended for a more mature audience than its initial appearance might suggest. Though it features simple, single-plane movement and has a cartoon aesthetic, action is often intensely violent. Players control a ninja, and assassinate their enemies by cutting throats and stabbing chests. Plus, dialogue contains infrequent but very strong language, including the "f--k.
Conclusion: Not since the Thief series has a stealth game been so immediately and consistently gratifying. For some reason, the rest of this genre seems to be stuck in a rut of overcomplexity. To illustrate, let’s consider a similar scenario—say, taking out a guard—in both Metal Gear Solid and Mark of the Ninja . In any MGS game, downing a guard begins by deciding how to do it. Will you choke him out from behind? Maybe you’ll shoot him in the neck with a tranquilizer.
Conclusion: Mark of the Ninja is a small, downloadable victory for Klei Entertainment. Stealth games have struggled to keep up with the industry’s intense emphasis on action, and thankfully Klei averted their gaze from the choice of pandering to an alternative audience. Instead, Mark of the Ninja causes the player to feel resourceful, intelligent, and capable of making independent decisions.