The ninja has a variety of tools to unlock, such as smoke bombs, great to block lasers and escape guards. The spike mine (very painful for the enemy) and flash bombs. There are some more tools but we'll leave those for you to discover.
We don't want to go too deep into the actual gameplay. Just take it from us that the game is really smooth in terms of control and gameplay systems, there's a lot of fun to be had levelling the ninja up and using those skills to freak the guards out, Batman Arkham Asylum/City style.
It's essentially a ninja game where you feel like Batman (or for Batman purists who know about Azrael: that guy).
Don't worry though - if things get too hard you can always change the difficulty level, though we left it on default because we're ninja like that. There's also a New Game+ mode too, so there's even more reason to play through again!Graphics
Mark of the Ninja is a good looking game. The 2d backgrounds are really well drawn and the characters all have that Shank-style Klei feel to them. The whole thing has a great palette and the use of light/shadow really helps bring the ninja stealth atmosphere to the fore. Then you have the actual lighting effects, with one level set in a massive awesome thunder-storm that rolls on in the background with fast thumping rain.Animations
Alongside the gorgeous 2d graphics, there are the tactile and fluid animations that deliver a smooth gaming experience. The stealth kills are well animated and the whole thing flows beautifully as you move around the various levels. The various guard types all have different visual personalities and many of them can be seen dozing, smoking, patrolling or just talking to each other. The ninja moves around the levels smoothly, traversing walls, climbing, running, jumping and flipping from point to point without a skipped frame. It all looks fantastic.Physics
Objects have weight; bodies can be dragged, thrown and used to scare the hell out of the other guards. AI
The AI for the enemies varies in Mark of the Ninja, based on their type. Elite guards are harder to scare than grunts; some guards have shields and need to be approached from behind. All guards will become suspicious if you break lights in their visual or auditory range and they will patrol earnestly for a while. If they spot you during this heightened awareness time, they may well call in an alarm or go in for the kill. The only way to escape from that point is to hide, break line of sight, or beat them to a pulp until you can deliver a peasant's death to the downed bad guy. Then there are dogs, dogs with noses that can smell you even before they see you. These little buggers will bark like mad calling any guard in the nearby vicinity based on their hearing range.
All in all the AI for Mark of the Ninja delivers a fun and satisfying experience, especially when the guard's nerve breaks and they become terrified – shooting wildly – scrambling around, perhaps even stumbling to their death off a ledge if they're truly scared.Sound
The audio suite for Mark of the Ninja really complements the various levels and the game. There are some great spot effects, the stealth kill gurgles and the sound of soft footfalls as the ninja sneaks around are some of the highlights. The storm effects are brilliant and there's not a single audio glitch whatsoever.Music
The soundtrack to Mark of the Ninja is superb with some great set pieces and a really fantastic tune to kick the whole game off. We want a stand alone OST of this game's music stat!Script
Mark of the Ninja is really well written too, which is a great thing to see for a downloadable game like this. The story is engaging, the dialogue is basically perfect for the game's atmosphere and it has some superb moments in terms of storytelling – especially when the origin of the mark is revealed during a cut-scene early on. We were reminded of Samurai Jack, and in a good way.Voice Acting
There is some great VA here in Mark of the Ninja. The dialogue delivery is spot on for the characters and there are some truly solid moments that stand out. All in all a fantastic job for a game like this, truly setting the bar for downloadable titles alongside the likes of Shadow Complex.Yes or No?
Skipped to the end at all? Yeah, well here we tell you, YES, get the game. 1200 points is about right for a game like this and it's got a lot of replay value in how you approach the various levels to try and get the best score, new toys, find secrets or just mess with the guard's heads on the Path of Nightmares. Mark of the Ninja is an ass-kicking good time on XBLA and it's worth the price of admission.
We can't wait to see if there's DLC or even a sequel, Mark of the Ninja 2? Yes please!