Monaco: What's Yours is Mine is a stealth action co-op game, for up to four players online or locally, developed by Pocketwatch Games for PC, Mac, and Xbox 360 and published by Pocketwatch Games (Steam) and Majesco Entertainment (XBLA). Unlike most games where you play the good guys, Monaco will have you take the role of a gang of thieves in their search for both freedom and welfare by any means possible.
The art style resembles a combination between Grand Theft Auto 2, with its top-down view and the way the movement and shooting is handled, and Minecraft, with the world being really blocky. High quality animation and texture work makes for a clean looking game. The characters stick to the wall when they’re close to one, they walk on their tiptoes when sneaking, the way the character runs is smooth and fluid and even the water and fire are nicely done. Also, every time you run, your character leaves behind a trail of footprints, going as far as leaving bloodied footprints when he’s close to dying.
The music resembles the piano solos that accompanied old silent films. It’s a very reactive musical, increasing its tempo whenever you’ve been detected, slowly reverting back to its normal, low-key nature once you break line of sight.
There are eight playable characters, some unlocking once you’ve completed a certain mission. Each of them has their own unique talents, varying from being able to knock people out to disguising themselves while no one’s watching and going as far as using a monkey to pickpocket people. Besides these abilities, the game also provides you with different accessories that you find scattered: shotguns, SMGs, sleeping darts, EMPs, smoke bombs, bandages, and even explosives, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, explosives are really useful if you want to kill enemies and also get rid of their bodies, but if used in the wrong place can end up blowing your objective or escape car which results in a game over. On some levels you can also use disguises that wear out when you walk in plain sight, eventually running out.
At the start of each level you will have to pick one of these characters that you will play until you either finish the mission or your character dies and becomes temporarily unavailable. You have four tries before the mission fails, meaning you have a total of four character picks for each heist.
The game revolves around two main mechanics: the line of sight and coins. Given the nature of the game, the line of sight is the most important part. NPCs will start recognizing you as soon as you’re in their view, whether you’re mere inches from them or across the room. A question mark appears over their heads when they’ve seen you that, if completely filled, will turn into a red exclamation mark, causing the enemies to actively look for you at your last known position and give chase until you manage to escape their eyes. Enemies are able to see you over half-walls and through windows, however, and use dogs that find you by smell. There are several ways to get by without being recognized which include using a disguise, a smoke bomb, hiding in a bush, or climbing in a vent.
The game has a time-attack element to it which ties in with the coin collection. On each level there’s a certain number of coins that randomly spawn and that you’ll have to gather. At the end of each mission, the game will penalize you for each coin you missed, adding additional seconds to your overall time. The randomness of the coins does add a lot of replay value to the game, but unfortunately it doesn’t come without any costs. There will be times when a coin will spawn in a place that makes it impossible to stealthily collect it with the character you picked at the start of the level. Considering you can’t’ switch characters until one of them dies, this leaves you with just one solution: make a run for it and hope for the best, which comes in total contradiction with the stealth aspect of the game.
The UI is also simple and clean, putting everything you need, where you need. Most of the things regarding your character are displayed around him from health bar, to how visible you are to the enemies, to the amount of tools available to you at any given time. The level itself also acts as a map, so once you discover something like a camera or a safe it will be displayed on the level even when it’s not in your line of sight.
Monaco: What's Yours is Mine manages to make a really charming and addicting game and the time attack part of the game adds a lot of replay value to the game since you will always try to complete the heist as fast as possible by improving more and more with each run. Despite its simple looks, it is quite a challenging game and a lot of the times you will have to restart and revise your approach. The attention to detail is really surprising, especially coming from a small developer, the music is memorable, the graphics are nice and clean and for $15 the game is simply a must buy.
Cirstoiu Alexandru, NoobFeed