With the recent dearth of full-blown AAA games, we figured it'd be a great idea to take advantage of the free time and play some indie games. One of the games that immediately caught our attention was Monaco: What's Yours is Mine. A fan of the stealth genre, I've been keeping an eye on Monaco ever since it was announced, especially on its rather enticing co-op mode.
Local co-op? In my PC game?
Monaco: What's Yours is Mine has a top-down perspective and is typically controlled with standard mouse and keyboard controls—WASD for movement; the mouse to look around and shoot; and Shift to sneak. Those who prefer controllers aren't left out in the dust though, as the game has support for standard XNA Input controllers, such as the Xbox 360. Even better is the fact that the PC version of the game supports local co-op. This is a welcome breath of fresh air in a world where local multiplayer seems to be dying a little bit every day as more people turn to online.
Every level in the game is a break-in scenario; you have to infiltrate, break in or murder your way in depending on how things go, to a certain area and steal some object or rescue some person. Every level can be completed in a number of ways thanks to the wide variety of characters you can play with. You can pick up to four characters and each can be controlled by a different player.
Co-op gameplay has rarely ever been this fun
Speaking of characters, the game has all and any heist movie archetype to be invented. Characters all have different abilities, along with personalities to match. For example, the smooth Gentleman can permanently disguise himself as one of the enemy so as to avoid detection, while the Cleaner has the ability to knock out unsuspecting enemies and is a very quiet character (we think he's very much like a sociopath).
The game has a total of eight characters: the Locksmith, the Pickpocket, the Cleaner, the Lookout, the Mole, the Gentleman, the Hacker, and the Redhead. Early on in the game, you only have access to one of the first four characters, but you can unlock the rest as you progress. The characters are all colour-coded so that players don't get confused about who's playing who in the chaos the game often tends to descend into.
The levels have been designed to let you finish them by whatever means necessary, but don't expect a high score if you just run through enemies to get to the finish line. Instead, you want to carefully plan out tactics to collect the maximum number of coins in the shortest amount of time. Often, the best way to do this is to avoid detection. Even though single-player is possible, make no mistake. The maps look like they have been designed with the co-operative mode in mind, and thus, the most efficient ways through levels often require more than one player.
The visual style adds to the overall amazing experience
The game's story is a rather simplistic one. It is narrated by a character—the Locksmith or the Pickpocket, depending on what point of the story you're at—who tells how a group of people escape from a prison and eventually pull off heists of increasing risks and rewards. It's not exactly Citizen Kane, but it does manage to give you enough reason to keep playing through the missions.
Graphically, the game looks quite simple, but the developers have made clever use of lights and colours to set the general lighting and mood of the game. Most of the time, you won't be able to see much in the game space other than what appears to be a blueprint. The only parts of the levels that will be actually visible to you will be the parts that are in the line of sight of the characters. Pocketwatch Games' decision to make the fog of war look like a blueprint of the area is great since it not only serves the gameplay function of giving you a rough idea of the level's layout, but it also makes sense in-universe, since the only thing the characters would know about any of the levels would be from the maps and blueprints they might have studied.
The online leaderboards give this game a lot of replay value
Monaco: What's Yours is Mine is an incredibly fun game, but only if you have friends to play it with. This is the kind of game you'd want to start up when you and your friends have free time/are drunk and want to play something that you probably won't remember the next day.The single-player component of the game, while serviceable, isn't exactly a lot of fun, as most of the levels have been designed with co-op gameplay in mind. The game has great graphics and fun sequences, and the atmosphere is set quite well by the soundtrack. All in all, this is a near-perfect game; its only major flaw is the disappointing singleplayer mode. Considering how fun the game is when other people are involved, taking away points for the lack of a decent single-player mode may sound like nitpicking. But this game is still one of the best co-operative experiences we've ever had.