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Mark of the Ninja, probably the best 2D stealth-action game I’ve played.

Content of the article: "Mark of the Ninja, probably the best 2D stealth-action game I’ve played."

Game: Mark of the Ninja

Year: 2012 (original) | 2018 (remastered)

Developer: Klei Entertainment

Genre: Stealth, Ninja, 2D


It's generic… even downright cheesy in my opinion. The cutscenes are dope though, they're in the style of animation reminisce of ye olde Cartoon Network and/or Nickelodeon. It's about a clan of ninja attacked by some private army company(? I don't know the term), and one of the Ninja got tasked for revenge, why is he special? because he got tattoo… or the Mark of the Ninja (huehue) that enhances his senses, the catch is that the tattoo is toxic, and will drive him mad over time. He got passed all fortification, assassinated the CEO of the company and return back only to find a greater conspiracy.

5/10 — it's… "meh".


This is where the game shines, while it's not as "beautiful" as Child of Light or GRIS, but its done its job excellently. The character's viewfield is represented in a subtle cone, where your character can't see, it's either blurry or blocked off by only displaying the exterior, so you have to peek to see into a room, but being a ninja that you are, you can just lean into a door to see what's behind it.

The stealth aspects are shining through the graphics, it visualize everything you need to know like: whether anyone is exposed (characters in full color) or not (dark shadowy figure), how far sound travel, and how much sound do you make. At higher difficulty, I think you can turn off the sound visualization.

10/10 — it conveys everything you need clearly in a stealth game.

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It's Tenchu… in 2D. You got grappling hook, sword, some gadgets, and superpowers. You'll also unlock several costumes later for a preferred gameplay.

Killing an enemy will prompt a QTE event where you have to press the murder button and a direction with analog stick, do it perfectly and you'll land a silent kill, fail and you'll have a screaming victim, luring his friends to your position. You'll later get a costume that remove the kill QTE but you can't bring any distraction items, there's also costume that silence your everything but you can't carry a sword thus you can't kill anyone, and I really don't recommend a non-sword combat, it kinda sucks and you'll be dead pretty quick.

You have 2 kinds of item, distraction item that you can use to… well, distract or hide and a killing item that you can use to kill or temporarily disable enemies, plus one more item that is a dart which you have unlimited use to destroy light sources, switches, etc.

Costumes and items can be changed each level or when you find some kind of ninja flag on a level.

The game has scoring system, and while you can hide the numbers that pop up everytime you do something, you can't hide the score indicators on the top left corner. It's not that bad, really.. not as bad as Hitman:Absolution, at least. Everything you do will earn you score, killing, hiding body, distracting, etc. The only score reduction is from being found out, and considering this is a ninja game, it kinda makes sense.

The game can be completed without killing a single enemy except maybe in some cases where the objective is literally to kill a target.

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Each level has 3 collectibles, 3 challenges, and 3 score tresholds, which will net you 9 ninja coins if you completed them all. The ninja coins can be used to unlock new techniques (like killing from a hiding spot) or new items.

There's also some platforming puzzle, but they're not challenging like The Messenger or Celeste. It's an overall slow-paced game that forces you to plan ahead and kill mooks creatively. The game is also very lenient with checkpoints so you can restart-checkpoints as much as you like when something goes south without losing much progress.

9/10 — It's everything I want from a 2D stealth game, only the non-sword combat and traversing mechanic (going from point a-to-b) need a bit of polish.

Overall 8.5/10, Totally Recommended. An excellent game to scratch your stealth-action itch, especially after Tenchu and Splinter Cell are in hibernation. The closest modern 3D relative to this game is probably Sekiro.

The dev (Klei) has other nice 2D game, but none are as well executed as MotN. Really wish this got a sequel.

What do you think, stealth games fan?


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