|We get signal.|
- Developer: Pocketwatch Games
- Publisher: Pocketwatch Games
- Release Date: 24 April 2013
- Time played: 10 hours
I managed to grab Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine (or just Monaco for short) quite awhile ago when it was on sale as a 4-pack. The game is advertised as a "co-op heist game" where you're meant to assemble a team of 4 people to "pull off the perfect heist". As you know, I'm a big fan of co-op games and this one sounded like it required a bit more intelligence than the average co-op game. The game also has eight classes to pick from, all with different strengths. I also love class-based games so considering Monaco is co-op and class-based it seemed silly not to miss out on this golden opportunity. The game is apparently critically acclaimed too with a Metacritic rating of 83 and Steam rating of "Very Positive" with 91% of reviewers rating it Positive.
To be honest, I didn't concentrate too much on the plot at first but you start to appreciate the differences between each of the characters and ultimately the story when you realise the campaign isn't finished once you complete "the Locksmith's Story". After that you experience the whole story again but from a different perspective: from the perspective of the Pickpocket. My lack of concentration with respect to the plot (sometimes it's difficult to read the story when other players are rushing you to start a game) and lack of experience watching heist and caper films, probably put me at a disadvantage when I read what the big reveal was (don't worry, I'm not going to spoil it for you). Suffice to say, it really blew my mind. The story is deceptively good considering it's an indie game that didn't need to have a good plot - just good co-op gameplay.
Speaking of good co-op gameplay, Monaco thankfully excels in that department. In fact, you're more likely at a disadvantage when completing levels if you play it single-player instead of multiplayer. This isn't to say that some levels are impossible in single-player (at least the ones I've played) - just that they're made that more difficult due to the lack of extra abilities you could take advantage of.
So what exactly does that mean? Well let's start from the beginning. In Monaco, your objective is usually to steal something valuable from a certain location and escape in one piece. There are eight classes to pick from in achieving your goal such as the Locksmith who is fast at picking locks, the Lookout who is able to detect enemy movements on the map and the Mole who is able to break down walls with his "Freedom Spoon" (yes, that's what he calls his digging tool). If you're playing single player, this basically means you have eight lives (one for each class) when attempting the level. Run out of lives and you have to restart from the beginning. Usually it's possible to complete a level in single player when focusing on the primary objective but your secondary objective is to clean out the level of all its coins. The more coins you get the less you're penalised for your final score (which is represented by a time - obviously the lower the time, the better). Cleaning out levels can be incredibly tricky alone since some areas of the maps really benefit from having two or more skills available (e.g. the Redhead seducing a guard to a dark corner only for him to be knocked unconscious by the Cleaner). Consequently, if you want the high scores, you'll need to bring some friends along - or members of the public, since by default games in Monaco are open for anyone to drop in and play with you.
The quality of the players I've found range from the suicidal (players charging around the map alerting every enemy in sight), to the irresponsible (a.k.a. "it's not me who is the problem, it's my team"), to the co-operative - the latter being what you'd expect in a game like Monaco. When you've got a player willing to work as a team, the game is truly one of the best gaming experiences you can have (like most co-op experiences done right). It's not so much fun when you have someone who doesn't know what they're doing or just wants to do their own thing without communicating their intentions.
The only thing I can really criticise though (besides knobs on the Internet) is that it took a bit of getting used to this game as the controls aren't the most intuitive and certain quirks of the game (e.g. weapon ammo being tied to how many coins you collect) don't seem to have parallels with the real world.
|When your only means of escape is swarming with guards, you know you're in for one hell of a ride|
Audio is actually very important in this game and thankfully quite a bit of effort has been taken with respect to the sound of incoming footsteps while you're hiding in ventilation shafts or shipping containers. The aural cue actually helps you decide whether it's safe to come out of not (which is complemented by the visual cues of footprints).
Also everyone in Monaco speaks French, so top marks for authenticity. There shall be no taunting about your mother being a hamster of your father smelling of elderberries.
Music is performed by the very talented Austin Wintory who was the man behind great soundtracks on Journey, The Banner Saga and Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded. For Monaco, he's decided to focus mostly on piano solos which work well considering this is a game heavily inspired by heist or caper films. Think of comedic music from silent films and you're probably on the right track.
The only real downfall to the game are the graphics. You'll either love or hate the top-down, basic polygon, Minecraft-style graphics and while I wasn't the biggest fan of the graphics when I first started playing, I eventually got used to them and now I recognise what are items of interest and what aren't.
It took me about 8 hours to complete both the Locksmith's campaign and the Pickpocket's campaign (which officially conclude the original single-player campaign). However there are several origin story missions and the developers were nice enough to release a follow-up campaign (which is apparently "brutally difficult") a year later. There are also Steam Trading Cards and Achievements to collect, not to mention this is a game with leaderboards so it definitely encourages you to find a group of mates to see if you can beat the top scores.
And if that isn't enough for you, there's also numerous custom missions out there too. You can even try making one of your own if you're keen.
I didn't encounter any serious bugs while playing the game, but considering the game has now been out for well over a year, that's probably not entirely surprising.
Score – 8/10The graphics might take a bit of getting used to but the great soundtrack by Austin Wintory, the intriguing plot, charming characters and wholesome co-op play makes this game pretty good value for money. If you're looking for a heist/caper game that values co-operative play Monaco might be just the ticket.
Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is available from these retailers:
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[ LINK: Official Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine website ]