Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is an action adventure stealth game developed and published by Pocketwatch Games for PC and eventually XBLA. Based loosely off of Heist movies and books the game sees you running around casinos, hotels, banks and the like with up to four players as you manically try and complete various objectives before escaping with as much cash to hand as you possibly can.
Monaco has you breaking out of prison in the first mission. Making your escape as one of the fours starting characters you escape while picking up a fifth member of your crew, the Mole. As breaking out of prison is not what the authorities had in mind when they locked you up, they soon begin their hunt to track you down. Between escaping the law and shiny objects catching the attention of your gang of thieves you travel to various locations, occasionally picking up new crewmembers until you have a selection of eight delinquents to choose from.
Broken down into two parallel but conflicting storylines you must first begin making your way through the Locksmiths tale, before tackling the Pickpockets story. Pickpocket levels are unlocked through the “Cleaning out” of other missions (collecting every coin in a level), so you can’t get ahead of the Locksmiths story by completing the decidedly more difficult Pickpocket levels. This second set of levels; aside from being more challenging tend to have different objectives and obstacle layouts.
With some restrictions of levels chronologically you have a choice of one of the eight members of your crew: Locksmith, Lookout, Pickpocket, Cleaner, Mole, Gentleman, Hacker and Redhead. Each has their own unique ability and hidden ability but each and every one of them could theoretically manage each and every mission by themselves. Some are quite aggressive in their approach, such as the Pickpocket, Cleaner and mole while the other can take a more relaxed but thought-out approach to each situation.
Aggressive characters like the Pickpocket, has a monkey that collects nearby visible coins for him, which is great in solo missions or cleaning out areas with traps or multiple guards in a room. The Cleaner can knockout people from behind with chloroform and the Mole can dig through most walls, creating new paths and strategies.
More passive characters such as the Hacker and Locksmith are mostly self-explanatory, being able to more quickly perform the actions attributed to their profession. The Lookout can see further than the others, as well as see the locations of all living beings on the map while sneaking. The Gentlemen always carries a disguise, needing only a moment with no eyes upon him to compose himself and finally, the Redhead can seduce anyone, following her around and making sure doors are open for her.
Monaco is not the most hospitable environment for a group of ragtag thieves and it would be rather poor form for you to leave yourself unequipped for the tasks at hand, lest you get caught out and subsequently killed. You can equip yourself with a range of weaponry, from firearms to explosives and escape devices. You gain uses of these through picking them up from various locations and then by collecting coins scattered (randomly) around the environment. Sharing the wealth becomes more important later on as if one player hoards all of the coins then they have all the firepower or equipment uses. It makes the Pickpocket a bit of a liability at times meaning clear communication is key during missions.
While the majority of the game will see you sneaking or sprinting past guards there are multiple other living obstacles to give you a run for your money. Police and various offshoots will occasionally be pitted against you, usually armed as well for that extra bit of danger. Guard dogs, will sniff you out if you leave a trail behind you and will chase you until you hide away or put them down. Civilians also litter the levels, not being particularly dangers in of themselves but they will alert guards and see though your disguises, sometimes leaving you with nowhere to hide.
Not every obstacle has a pulse though; high tech security systems will block your path, laser tripwires, pressure plates, even fire itself will block your progression toward the objectives. These obstacles can be easily overcome in various ways, taking a more direct approach like running straight through/over them will only get you so far in some cases but you can also take the long way around or shut them off completely if you give yourself the right resources. It adds a lot of tension to the game to have to worry about opening a door to a safe room before a laser swings back slowly in your direction, ready to alert all guards to your presence.
In singleplayer the death of a character lets you continue from the entrance point as another crewmember; leading you to either restarting the level or trying new tactics. In multiplayer if all players dies then it’s an instant fail but as long as one person is left alive, then they can piece together the remain of a fallen player and get them back on their feet. These moments when someone is left with their corpse in the most awkward places, such as in the centre of a room of guards or under the watch of multiple tripwires is where the game can become both its most hilarious and most tense, as your teammates struggle to accomplice their foolish goal against all odds.
Presentation and Audio
The presentation is somewhat minimal with some highly styled artwork that plays to the games strengths; especially with showing each characters visions. The contrasting colours, on the mostly greyscale map makes things easy to recognise and understand in the few short moments you need to make decisions. The audio is quite wonderful too, with much piano playing that might remind some of Stacking, with its fast paced music in the style the Silent film era. The little things like guards startled reactions and the footsteps that betray where they are walking are a lovely touch as well.
Fun, frantic and best played in a co-op experience, even when the odds are against you, you can almost always recover. Finding new strategies and causing chaos for yourself and your friends is more than just a treat. It has the thrill of some of the best stealth games, as you lie hidden around a corner hoping no one passes by, whilst getting you pumped up for the chase as swarms of guards hunt you across the map when you trip alarms.
A game that serves fun with both your successes as well as failures, it is easy to enjoy it even more sometimes when things start to go pear-shaped as you devise horribly foolish plans of daring to try and repair your original plans. Each level has far more routes and strategies than you could care to think of as different approaches, character choices and equipment will radically change how a level pans out. In singleplayer it is fun if not a little more slowly paced but it really takes off in multiplayer, with havoc everywhere when even the best plans go awry.
My preferred style of play was slow, steady and with style, taking the Gentlemen around the various levels at a cool and relaxing pace as I cleaned out each level, top to bottom. This however doesn’t always translate especially well when your friends and co-op partners scream “Oh God no!” as they careen into a room, alert everyone in the level and shoot past you, leaving you to deal with their consequences, as your disguise gives up the ghost under the many eyes now on you, before taking a fatal shotgun blast to the face. Those moments sound like they would spoil the game but between blaming each other and recklessly trying to smoosh together your mangled remains to get you back on your feet, it makes the game such hilarious fun.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.