Is Mark Of The Ninja Sneaking Onto Steam?

If you remember Shank, you might also remember that he was less stealthy than Andre the Giant driving a monster truck across a minefield. Mark of the Ninja shares a developer and has a similar graphical style, but it is all about stealth, at least when it’s not about beetles swarming over and consuming people. That can probably be quite noisy. Already out on XBLA, Blue notes that a Steam content description for Klei’s latest side-scrolling stab ’em up has been spotted. Give the jollity that’s met the Xbox release, that’s reason for excitement. Given that I haven’t played it, take this next bit with a sizeable pinch of salt. It’s 2D Arkham City. The trailer below is proof!

Batman would never do those things to a person. They must be androids filled with ketchup.


  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    I wish someone would make one of those 2D games like the old Abe’s Oddysee games. God they were good.

    • Kein says:


      Signed in just to comment on this. Man, I miss Oddworld’s 2D games. They were brilliant. And very, VERY underrated and unnoticed.

    • grundus says:

      Yes, yes, yes. So much agreement.

      Ha haaaa ha-ha.

    • Perjoss says:

      Only heard about this a couple of days before it hit XBLA. Quite a stealthy release.

    • SelfEsteemFund says:

      Still hoping for that ‘HD remake’ :[

  2. CaLe says:

    They’ve said on their forum that they are working out the details with regard to a PC version. I suspect it’s only a matter of time. Definitely a day 1 purchase for me when it does come.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Likewise. I gave the demo a spin on the 360 and absolutely loved it. It may look a lot like Shank but it’s very much a stealth game, and a good one at that.

  3. Squire says:

    “Quickly! Gunpoint looks good and is only being made by ONE guy, in his spare time. Surely we can release a clone of it on Steam before he even get a demo out!” said Klei Entertainment.

    • merc-ai says:

      “Quickly! There is another stealth game with side view in existence, surely one is a clone of another”, said Squire.

    • Justin Keverne says:

      I’ve played both, they are very different and both great. There is an ability you acquire in Mark of the Ninja that superficially resembles Gunpoint’s cross-link mode but that’s about the limit of the similarities beyond a shared design philosophy inspired by the likes of Thief and Deus Ex.

      Also any game with achievements called The Dark Project and No One Lives Forever is worth playing if you ask me.

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      This game is much better though.

    • QualityJeverage says:

      That’s basically the most ridiculous thing anyone could have said here. They are both 2D Stealth games. The similarities end there. Neither game owns the genre.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Stealth Bastard would like a word with you: link to

  4. Suits says:

    Sounds shady to me

    • Zanchito says:

      Are you shur I ken play that without a controller?

    • atticus says:

      It has been so long since I’ve played a game like this… Hopefully it comes with some sort of helpful gaiden.

    • TariqOne says:

      I’m getting tired of the same old musical tropes in these sorts of games.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Are you shur I ken get it on Steam?

      Edit: Damn, I was Ninja’d!

    • Muzman says:

      None chuck a pun ta bi reckoned with like you sir

  5. ukpanik says:

    Looks good…kinda reminded me of Saboteur on C64.

  6. flang says:

    Hopefully without GFWL… please.

    • Tuco says:

      Yep, I already skipped iron Brigade because of it, and I still feel almost bad for that.

      • Slurpy says:

        Don’t feel bad for skipping it. Much less fun than it looked.

  7. HisMastersVoice says:

    It’s already looking 34.6 times more interesting than Shank.

  8. LXM says:

    Excellent news, I’ve held off picking this up for 360 because a steam version seemed likely. Supposedly a very very good stealth game.

  9. Justin Keverne says:

    Arkham City in 2D is being really unfair. If I were one to exaggerate I’d say it’s Thief in 2D. All told that’s not that great an exaggeration. Focus on movement and tools to enable experimental play both “I have a cunning plan” intentional and “oh fuck he saw me” improvisational.

    Violence is just one way to approach the game, you can go full ghost if you choose, it’s not easy but you can. Certain unlockable outfits even remove the sword so you can’t kill anybody.

    • Zanchito says:

      This makes me excited.

      • Oozo says:

        Especially coming from Mr Keverne – he’s an expert in all things stealth. (The dissection of Thief-levels on his blogs more than shows that he knows what he’s talking about…)

        In other words: I really didn’t like Shank all that much, but this one here… it sounds really exciting.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          Do you happen to have a link to that blog, would like to read that but cant find it

          • Naum says:

            Clicking on Mr Keverne’s name I found a blog; searching for “Thief” revealed a series of articles about levels. I guess it would be worth a click for you as well.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Unfortunately that links not working on my ipad…. 5 more days till broadband.

          • Oozo says:

            The blog is called “Groping The Elephant” (awesome name, btw). Here you go:

            The Thief-games are mentioned often, but the series I was referring to is the – quite literally – step by step-analysis of the Thief II-level “Life At The Party”.

        • Justin Keverne says:

          Heh, thanks. I’m not sure expert is justified, I just like to write about Thief.

          I also write for Sneaky Bastards which is focused on stealth games, there’s more about Mark of the Ninja there too.

          And nobody calls me Mr Keverne, that’s just weird. ;)

    • ffordesoon says:

      This. As sad as it is that “Arkham City in 2D” will probably make many orders of magnitude more people excited about the game than “Thief in 2D”, it really is much closer to Thief in 2D, to the point that ypu pick your loadout of tools before missions and are rewarded for getting through levels undetected and non-lethally.

      Which is no knock on Arkham City, or a denial of its influence. The grappling hook’s proof enough of that.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Having played through a bunch of levels now (I’ve just got through the catacombs), I have to disagree. It’s still more Arkham Asylum in 2D than Thief in 2D.

      It’s not about hiding in shadows, nor finding your own path through a pseudo-realistic space. The levels are primarily linear, with a few side passages that conceal bonus loot, instead of multiconnected as in Thief. There’s a much greater focus on killing guards than Thief ever had, and the terrified guards, grappling hook, and stringing up guards upside-down is straight out of Arkham Asylum. It’s got lots of explicit puzzles with singular solutions, instead of scenarios (the only part of Thief that was designed in this way was the antenna puzzles in the final level of Thief 2).

      Edit: The scoring is very un-Thief-like too. It’s a distraction; I don’t hide a body to avoid it being seen, I hide it because it’s 250 points. Getting seen is not an “oh shit, now I have to hide” moment, it’s an “oh shit, I’ve lost 800 points” moment.

      • Justin Keverne says:

        That’s surprising to hear, I am consistently finding connections between different locations, and alternate pathways. I’ve replayed some of the levels in the middle and the difference in route I took was surprising, yes there are certain choke-points that everybody will reach but there are often multiple ways into and out of those locations.

        I disagree about the puzzle situations having singular solutions. Depending on the equipment you have with you a variety of different approaches are viable. Take the frequent appearances of laser beams, you can block them with large objects, or disable them by damaging the fuses boxes and these are the two most obviously presented solutions. You can also use guards (both dead and alive) to disable them (Similar to DX:HR), or temporarily disrupt them with smoke bombs. Or if you’re paying attention to the environment and making some risky jumps you can even avoid them entirely. I managed to skip what felt like half a level by making a jump off a high roof and grappling at the apex to reach the next roof. I even managed to perform what felt like a sequence break by dragging a dead body through three rooms and down a vent to disrupt some lasers blocking a doorway.

        Maybe we see Thief-like as meaning different things, but the focus on movement and manipulation of the environment is very much at the heart of what I like about Thief and Mark of the Ninja handles those elements very well; with some of the clearest feedback I’ve seen in a game.

        It does have a focus on extrinsic rewards in terms of points and bonus objectives, and how you react to that will determine how appealing them are. They latter take the form of challenges, such as “Reach the tower without being detected” which can be enjoyable to attempt regardless of the reward offered.

        • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

          I shouldn’t have said “singular solutions”, because as you rightly point out, the tools available give you a variety of ways to tackle most obstacles. In terms of movement options, I find most of them to be very limited. It feels like a platform game in the way most of the levels I’ve encountered so far are put together. I dunno, I lack the ability to describe what I mean very well–but it feels like I’m playing commander keen with a few stealth options.

  10. Dominic White says:

    This one seems to be racking up glowing reviews, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it from friends. Here’s hoping it does make it to PC. Word is that there’s quite a lot of fun to be had in playing it different ways. A ‘maximum stylish murder’ playthrough is wildly different to a pacifist ghost run.

  11. Crainey says:

    Was really excited for this game and wanted to make it my first console-toy purchase in god knows, then I remembered, Xbox points have a stupid pricing structure. I’ll wait for the Steam release. Meanwhile, Black Mesa Source and FTL, oooh yeh!

  12. DandyShlongLegs says:

    This is a Microsoft published game so I would expect some period of exclusivity, although hopefully it won’t take as long as something like Iron Brigade! Really excited to play this.

  13. Love Albatross says:

    Completed first run through this week, fucking excellent. Most enjoyable title I’ve played in some time. It does stealth better than many but doesn’t force you down that path if you want to fuck some shit up. Nice drip-feeding of new toys and abilities as well, there are some fun new options later in the game and it’s enjoyable going back to the beginning with those.

    My only complaint is that I wanted it to be twice the size. Hopefully we’ll see a sequel.

  14. CptSqweky says:

    Am I th eonly one reminded of an old flash game called Ninja Rinseout?

  15. GigaCosmoShark says:


  16. VanishedDecoy says:

    This, Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, and Dishonored are all my most wanted games.

  17. Buemba says:

    My game of the year so far. I hope they add some new content to the pc version to give me a reason to double dip.

  18. SkittleDiddler says:

    Shank was the first game I ever played that cramped my hands up something fierce, and that’s coming from a guy who used to play his Atari 2600 so much that he’d get grape-sized blisters on his thumbs.

    Mark of the Ninja looks fantastic, so I’m hoping it eschews the hand-cramping aesthetic completely. Also, note to the devs: please release this on something besides Steam.

  19. QualityJeverage says:

    My favourite game of 2012 so far. The more people who can play it, the better.

  20. Zyrxil says:

    I thought Shank was rather shitty- all the work seemed to have gone into the animations and very little into the gameplay. Why should I believe this isn’t going to be the same?

    • QualityJeverage says:

      If you have access to an Xbox 360 you can try the trial. I assure you, it is far, far better than Shank.

      • ffordesoon says:

        As someone who loved Shank, I nevertheless completely agree.

    • VanishedDecoy says:

      Honestly, this is the first pure, non-hybrid stealth game that I’ve seen in a long while.

  21. Lokai says:

    I sure hope so. I’ve been playing the game a lot on XBLA and it is pretty damn good.