Review of Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine - the perfect gang bang for the buck

Author: Hed
Date: 2013-05-08 12:30:00
The review was based on the PC version. Also applies to the X360 version

For those who do not follow the indie scene, Monaco: What's Yours is Mine may seem something surprising, fresh and unexpected . After all, it's a fun, two-dimensional version of Ocean's Eleven, or - to make it more homely - the Olsen Gang . A game about a group of charismatic criminals organizing daring robbery jumps. In fact, many have been waiting for Monaco for several dozen months . The production was shown three years ago and quite quickly found a group of loyal followers supporting Andy Schatz, the main culprit of all the fuss. Such interest even before the premiere has its advantages and disadvantages: it provides publicity, but also means a lot of expectations from fans. Meeting the exorbitant expectations that have been growing over the years is not easy, as many producers have learned.

Monaco with amazing grace and lightness fulfills all the hopes placed in it and is entertaining as much as possible . Here is one of the best and funniest gangster games ever. And, at the same time, a demanding, chaotic and addictive cooperative game for hours.

In Monaco, we learn about two main scenarios broken down into over 30 missions. Each of them is a typical gangster action (jump on a jeweler, an attempt to get a friend out of the gang or escape from the authorities) in which up to four people can take part. The story aspect turns out to be the least important here and you don't have to follow it to have fun. However, it is worth spending a moment on the short dialogues before the tasks, because they are a hilarious read . The creators created characters quite typical for similar stories - a simple muscle man, femme fatale or a sophisticated "gentleman" - but they presented them in a light, playful and sympathetic way. It fits perfectly with the economical, non-pixelated graphics, which automatically gives the effect of a conscious pastiche. In the stories devoted to the next heroes, there are also sudden twists and turns that surprise not only in terms of plot, but also with a change in the style of the game. Remember that we are talking about criminals for whom loyalty is rather a contractual issue.

These simple treatments made me like the heroes and heroines represented in the main menu by just a few pixels . And they say that it takes many polygons to build emotions and bonds between the player and the game. Not true. Well-written dialogues, a cluster of dots on the screen and humor are enough. Legends such as Final Fantasy VII and Chrono Cross have been built using text created with the knowledge of where it will be placed (in-game). This is how Monaco also seals its power.

I remember when I saw the video from Monaco for the first time, I had no idea what was happening on the screen. It is all the more surprising how easy it is to enter into this two-dimensional claiming to be the perfect criminal . It's easy to get in, but it's hard to leave, because you can promise to go to bed early in Monaco , but as soon as there is a decent group to play in the gang, any plans cease to matter (I greet the people who are responsible for my late nights). But let's talk about the gameplay first, because it is the main advantage of Monaco and it defends itself even in the solo mode present in the title.

In Monaco, missions consist of several boards - levels of a building or adjacent places. They are disconnected from each other in the sense that each is a separate stage. The player or players take on different roles, choosing one of several character classes. The red-haired girl can deceive enemies, a burglar opens locks in a flash, a hacker destroys electronic security, etc. The abilities are interesting because no attempt was made to balance them in terms of options we get - therefore the scout "only" sees enemies through walls, while such a "mole" can literally cut through half the map, brutally making its way. The beauty of the game lies in this diversity: what counts here is the group's preferences and the nature of the jump . I would associate one of the microscopic disadvantages of this title with this. The point is that we choose the group blindly, only during the mission checking whether our decisions were right (there is no information about what may lie ahead). Fortunately, each of the scenarios is relatively short, so you can easily repeat it with a different character setup. Most often, it is also possible to complete a task with a randomly selected group - sometimes by force, but still effective.

As I mentioned, the missions in Monaco are quite short, although a lot depends on us. You can finish them in a few minutes, or play with them for almost an hour. The important thing is that the situation of our character changes rapidly, so there is no risk that a simple mistake will destroy the chance of the whole quest being successful. And a lot of these are committed - especially in groups of four - because the game requires coordination and attention. The fact that he does not punish us brutally for all our stumbles, with a high level of difficulty, is a big advantage. Thanks to this, Monaco seems captivating, because it does not deter new players, and by the way, we feel that the system has not been depleted, so that someone will not be offended by their own failure.

Monaco is actually two games: solo and cooperative . While playing alone, we can act calmly, think over the plan and execute it more accurately - as far as possible, because - as I wrote - the gameplay is very dynamic. The plans can be different, of course: sometimes exploring slowly and collecting all the available coins works. Other times, all you need is a quick, surgical blow or just running on a "crazy". This makes many scenarios much easier in solo mode because they don't require teamwork. It's easier to collect coins and appreciate some hidden flavors, although sometimes extra features are missing - for example, a mole that could make it easier to get to certain places. The game system tailored to four players works well, even when we are alone, and I think that many people will find it great . There is no doubt, however, that Monaco shines in the group - only here you can feel the atmosphere of the aforementioned Ocean's Eleven and dozens of other stories about scams, jumps and heists.