I’ve never been part of a real Ocean’s 11 style heist. I imagine that it’d be amazing though. Being a part of a group of thieves that just don’t get along, but have to get together for one last big score. I’d be the only girl who of course is attracted to the incredibly handsome, smug yet oh so charming male lead. Hijinks would ensue until we not only got whatever it was we were stealing, but the male lead and I (whose name is probably Jackson or Tate) fall madly in love while he saves me from another group of thieves who are evil. Anyway, while that is never sadly going to happen in the real world for me that doesn’t mean that I can’t live my fantasy in game form. That’s where Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine comes in. Made by Pocketwatch Games, Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is a fun take on the classic heist that is not only entertaining but at points is surprisingly tense as you try to pull off the perfect caper.
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine isn’t really that deep of a story. It’s more of a popcorn movie in game form. Your crew is made of eight different thieves and before each chapter you’ll get little bits of dialogue, and cut-scenes letting you know a bit more about them. These are all people who are in this to get rich quick and some of the best character moments in the game take place when things go terribly wrong as predicted.
In the beginning you’re not going to have access to all eight characters, instead you’ll get four. As you go through Monaco you’ll find new allies who will help you pull off the heist of your dreams. Each character has their own special abilities that you’ll be able to use to make the jobs you go on easier. For example the Mole can go through walls, the Pickpocket has a monkey that can collect coins, and the Hacker can upload viruses to security systems and shut them down. Once you start collecting more characters, it’ll be up to you to figure out which combination would work best for each job. The better the team, the easier the caper is to pull off and the less likely you are to get caught. It’s always a good idea not to get locked down with one specific team as each character does come with a weakness. The Locksmith is really good at getting you in and out of buildings but he can’t detect cameras so it might be better to have the Hacker there instead to take care of business.
The level design shines in Monaco giving players different stages that can be pretty challenging. As you move along the game, you’ll face armed guards patrolling corridors, multiple floors that you have to search in order to find what you’re looking for, and civilians who will rat you out so fast your head will spin. Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is not a game of speed but one of strategy. Half the battle is figuring out the best plan to get what you need, even if that plan is to just run for your life and smash things.
There are different weapons and power-ups that you can use as your prowl different buildings. Smoke bombs will help with the dramatic exit, tranquilizer darts will kn0ck out any security around you, or you can go COD and just take people down with guns. However, guns are loud and will alert characters nearby to your presence so the choice is yours. Power-ups are limited so you’ll have to be careful how you use them although if you get 10 coins then you’ll get one more boost of each item.
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine also has a multiplayer mode which dramatically changes the feel of the game. When you’re on your own things can get tense because there is no backup. You need to figure out your strategy, you need to figure out where the guards are, if you have enough time to hack the system, get the cash and not get caught. If you choose to play with friends (you do have the option to choose random people to join), everyone has to choose a different character. The selection is crucial because of the stage setup but it’s also important to have good communication and teamwork. If everything goes smooth and all the players take care of their individual roles then the heist can be a thing of beauty. Or you can all screw up completely and watch as your team runs around trying to avoid getting caught and no one is anywhere near the loot. Either way there is fun to be had.
Monaco is a simple looking game with its primary visuals being pixel art however there is a lot of color in this game making it retro yet quite pretty to look at. Any areas that you don’t yet have access to are grayed out but once you start to get near them you’ll see colors start to flow down letting you gradually see the area. It’s both stylish and pivotal to gameplay.
The audio is crisp and loud letting pick up every small detail. You can hear coins being picked up and footsteps trotting down the hall making things pretty tense. The soundtrack is not only amazing to listen to but also launches you back in time. The music seems like it comes right out of the early 1900s and also has the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat, especially when it picks up.
That doesn’t mean that Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is perfect. The game is all about pulling off the perfect score and can at times be frustratingly challenging. So there will be times when you play segments multiple times trying to clear certain points and Monaco can be unforgiving. No one expects an easy game but it can be annoying when you and your friends fail to clear a stage for the tenth time because someone didn’t disable the camera.
There’s also the feel of repetitiveness the more you play. Monaco is a simple game after all, you go to a place, get in, steal something, and leave. And as diverse as the stages can be that’s all you do. Sure you’ve got different things to look out for, different strategies that need to be used but nothing at the core really changes when you go from stage to stage. So things do have the potential to get a little tedious.
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is not only a great single-player game but also fun for anyone looking at a good time with their friends. Yes you’ll get angry, yes you’ll be frustrated but you’ll have a fun time doing it.
(Note: Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine was reviewed after 15 hours of gameplay on the Xbox 360 and is also available on both PC and Mac. This copy was purchased by the reviewer)