Gaming: MONACO What’s yours is mine

SHARE

Gaming-Monaco

Everyone loves a good heist. Whether it’s the comedic events surrounding the disappearance of the Pink Panther, a long, complicated job in Italy, or a quick rappel down to a secure mainframe, the feeling of using your wits, cunning and a little luck to bypass tight security and outsmart authorities leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth that goes well with caviar and champagne.

In reality, heists aren’t all that easy. As much as I would like to give it a try just for the heck of it, I’m really not willing to go through the requisite jail time associated with getting caught. To scratch this particular itch, and for this month’s Gaming section, we’re reviewing a nice little indie game called Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine.

The game, available for USD15 on Steam, is a wonderfully-devised heist game that puts you in the shoes of one of eight ne’er-do-wells each with different abilities to get you through the mission. You start out with the Lockpick, whose main ability allows him to open doors at a significantly faster rate than the rest, the Pickpocket, who can hide quickly in bushes and whose pet monkey grabs helpful coins throughout the map, the Cleaner, with the ability to knock out unwary guards of civilians, the Lookout, able to enter and exit vents and windows quickly, plus a helpful radar-like ability that shows everyone on the map. As the game progresses, you will bust out or meet the Mole, who can dig through most walls, the Gentleman, who can disguise himself automatically when no one is looking, the Hacker whose home brew computer viruses disable cameras and other electrical hindrances, and the Redhead, who charms hostile characters.

Gaming-Monaco1

Heist show fans will immediately see all of the thief class archetypes in the lineup, and each behaves as you would imagine they would. While missions can be completed with any class, character selection does two things: firstly, it will make your task either simpler or much more difficult, depending on your strategy and how you use the skills, and second, it adds immense replay value to the game. If you can ace a level with the lockpick, why not try again with the hacker and see if you can get through the level without being able to open doors quickly?  It also opens up other paths that, while also accessible when playing as other characters, might not be as practical.

Gameplay is simply-presented via a top-down, third-person view. You navigate each level with the usual WASD keys and mouse, which means most people will be able to jump right in and play. You might not necessarily do well, but at least you won’t have any control issues.

Gaming-Monaco2

The game is very heavily stealth-driven, as any good heist is, and you’ll spend a lot of your play-through ducking into the nearest available corridor, jumping into bushes, and generally avoiding the suspicious gazes of those around you. The game helps you along by providing equipment that can be found throughout the map. Depending on the level, you can get anything from smoke grenades to provide cover when you accidentally trip an alarm, to tranquilizer guns enabling you to knock NPCs out before they one would expect from the premise behind Monaco. This is not to say the game is massively easier-it’s not, exactly. When there are more moving parts, more things can go wrong, and unless you all have worked together in the past, and your moves are in concert, you’re going to be spending a lot of time reviving and being revived.

The game, with its charming, blocky LD graphics (but effective shadowing) and engaging soundtrack really pull you into the experience, and it’s just one of those games that keep you trying over and over to get the run just right, particularly in multiplayer. Runs are put on a global scoreboard, so you see how fast others did it, further adding fuel to the “one more time” flame. In a gaming landscape dominated by running, gunning, and cover-based combat, Monaco: Whats Yours Is Mine is a breath of fresh air that might have you pulling your hair out, but we’ll bet you our last gold bar you won’t be able can call for help or even explosives that make short work of walls, doors and people.

Gaming-Monaco3

For those who want a more heavy-handed approach, there are also occasional firearms on some levels, though it might not always be a good idea to go in guns blazing, as items and ammo are both quite limited, and once you run out of hardware, there’s really nothing else you can do except run and hide until the guards lose your scent.

The game is very well-balanced, and the nice mix of characters makes for interesting action each time. As long as you can get from point A to point B, get the target or item and get back out, you should be fine. It is a little difficult for a single player to get through, but it rewards the meticulous, careful player each time. While single player is generally a fun experience, the game really shines in multi player mode.

Gaming-Monaco4

During multiplayer, which is matched online over Steam, up to four players can jump into a level and cooperate to get the job done. Character types cannot double-up, so you are forced to pick skills that work together, based on the map you’re about to attack. There is, unfortunately, no way to preview the level before you take it on, so you may have to try it out at least once before you get the optimum class combo for the level.

Multi-player works great for the game. It really adds a wonderful, new dimension to gameplay, and turns it from a very difficult puzzle game to a much more entertaining story closer to the Mission: Impossible and Leverage experience You might not necessarily do well, but at least you won’t have any control issues.

Gaming-Monaco5

The game is very heavily stealth-driven, as any good heist is, and you’ll spend a lot of your play-through ducking into the nearest available corridor, jumping into bushes, and generally avoiding the suspicious gazes of those around you. The game helps you along by providing equipment that can be found throughout the map. Depending on the level, you can get anything from smoke grenades to provide cover when you accidentally trip an alarm, to tranquilizer guns enabling you to knock NPCs out before they one would expect from the premise behind Monaco. This is not to say the game is massively easier-it’s not, exactly. When there are more moving parts, more things can go wrong, and unless you all have worked together in the past, and your moves are in concert, you’re going to be spending a lot of time reviving and being revived.

The game, with its charming, blocky LD graphics (but effective shadowing) and engaging soundtrack really pull you into the experience, and it’s just one of those games that keep you trying over and over to get the run just right, particularly in multiplayer. Runs are put on a global scoreboard, so you see how fast others did it, further adding fuel to the “one more time” flame. In a gaming landscape dominated by running, gunning, and cover-based combat, Monaco: Whats Yours Is Mine is a breath of fresh air that might have you pulling your hair out, but we’ll bet you our last gold bar you won’t be able to put it down.

First published in Gadgets Magazine, October 2013

Words by Ren Alcantara