Make sure that you pay for the retail boxset.
Although Pocketwatch Games’ Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine has been around for a while now, both on PC and Xbox Live, the recent release of a boxed retail version of the game from Merge Games seemed the perfect opportunity for a review.
So, Monaco is a top-down, stealthy, action-packed heist game with a cast of playable characters that could have come straight out of any big budget Hollywood heist movie. It also happens to be two rather different games packaged into the same skin.
But of the different, colourful (in more ways than one) characters that can be found in the game, we have eight. Some have to be unlocked, others are available from the beginning, but all bring with them very different skills making them either the best character to play or, as is more often the case, the worst.
The Locksmith is the quickest at unlocking doors or safes and such, whereas the the Pickpocket excels at hiding, and can send his monkey to gather coins. The Cleaner is quick at using medi-kits and can knock out enemies, while the Lookout runs quicker and spots all of the NPCs in a level. The other four – The Mole, The Gentleman, The Hacker and The Redhead – will all be unlocked later and bring with them their own special abilities that will make them essential in any heist team.
The first thing that will really hit the player is the visual style, which has a gloriously pixelated retro style. It is also incredibly colourful, with the different characters being modeled with very different colour schemes to make them easy to identify.
The single player game, which follows a fairly basic, somewhat comical story, will have the player controlling one of the characters as they strive towards some story-based objective. The levels are displayed as top-down maps and are strewn with coins for the player to collect as they make their way around. The game utilises a brilliant line of sight mechanic that ensures any surprises hiding around corners, such as guards, will still be surprising. But the line of sight works both ways and by using the stealth option (which slows the character down but makes them silent), players can avoid the cones indicating the guards field of vision as they try to sneak around the level to reach their objective.
Playing through the game alone, the levels will quickly become more complex and require much more thought to complete. The alarm systems become better and more frequent, and the guards more aggressive and even a bit smarter. Running away and hiding is always an option, if it can be done unseen, but being shot down by a guard will mean the loss of one life and of that character for the rest of the mission. The player only has three lives, so the best solution to any heist is probably not to get caught.
Which is all well and good when playing alone. But when turning over to the co-op multiplayer game, who can you really trust? The multiplayer game changes Monaco from a calculated and thoughtful romp into an all-out chaos, paranoia-inducing free-for-all that is supposed to be about team work, but so very often is not.
In many ways, the multiplayer game makes the levels easier through the simple fact that there are a selection of different characters with their different skills. Also, other players can revive their fallen team members, which is really handy. However, with more characters in the level, the chances of being detected is higher. And as soon as the alarm is triggered, watch your so-called friends all up and run away to hide. And once the objective is complete, the mad dash back to the getaway vehicle is hilarious to watch, unless you are the last one who is dealing with the inevitable horde of guards.
The retail version of Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, which is available now in retail stores, is not just a simple copy of the game on a disc. This is a Collector’s Edition and as such comes with a few very cool extras, not least of which is two Steam keys for the game to accompany the disc version, ensuring that your very best buddies can join you for a heist. Also included is the original soundtrack, 8 trading cards, and autograph card and a poster. And all of this is added at just a couple of pounds more than the game would cost on Steam. It almost feels like a steal…
Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine is a brilliantly entertaining multiplayer game, while also offering a less chaotic single player mode. If you have yet to attempt the perfect heist in Monaco, the retail Collector’s Edition is undoubtedly the best way to grab the game. Pick it up now and channel your inner criminal mastermind.