Monaco is an indie game by Pocketwatch Games, in which you and your fellow professional criminals spend some quality time together breaking out of – and into – various facilities. The game is top-down and done in simple graphics, with large pixelated characters and backgrounds. You can choose to take on each mission alone, choosing which character you want to play as, or team up with up to three other people, each of whom can play someone different. The multiplayer aspects of the game are a complete blast, but taking on the game solo can be a frustrating affair.
Platforms: PC (Version Played), Xbox 360
Publisher: Pocketwatch Games
Developer: Pocketwatch Games
Genre: Ocean’s 11 The Game… If George Clooney Were A Colorful Silhouette
Release Date: April 24, 2013 (PC), May 10, 2013 (XBLA)
ESRB Rating: Teen
Monaco is a top-down game in which you are trying to perform some goal and make it out alive. The goals vary with each level, whether they be rescuing someone, hijacking transportation, or obtaining some item. As you work your way from building to building, different parts of the map become visible to you. Enemies show up on the screen once you are within a certain range of them, though unless you have line of sight to them, they just show up as footsteps (or dog prints). Once a guard is onto you, he will chase you down, and your options of dealing with him are to run away and hide, or use an item on him (I found that shooting guards with guns can be very effective in ceasing their chase).
The game starts out with you and your criminal buddies breaking out of prison. Your first character is the Locksmith, who can crack locks quickly. As you progress through the game, you unlock more and more characters, like the Lookout (who can show you enemies walking around on the map), the Cleaner (who can knock enemies out), and the Mole (he can tunnel through solid walls). Each class has its own quirks, and it can be difficult to clear out later levels with just one person. But teaming up together with other people is really what makes this game work, and work well.
Each level has its own hazards – some have computer terminals that must be hacked to get around security systems, while the dogs in others can smell you coming and aren’t fooled by regular tricks used on human guards. As the levels get harder and harder, so too does it get more difficult to finish a single level alone. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I am saying it’s difficult, and can become quite frustrating.
But in light of that, the game is superb when played with other people. Teaming up various character classes together gives a sense of accomplishment and teamwork to every victory. Sadly, I’ve found myself lacking in patience when it comes to the game – one thing goes wrong and, instead of trying to quietly contain it and move on, I go in guns blazing and start killing everything in sight. (This is definitely not a strategy I would recommend.)
Monaco is a fantastic multiplayer game that you should absolutely get if you know other people playing it, or other people you can cajole into playing it. There’s a reason Pocketwatch Games offers a 25% discount on the PC version when you purchase four copies – because the game is meant to be played in a group, and without that dynamic, you’ll be hard-pressed to get very far in it. I’ve been talking all of my friends into getting it, which has made it a much more pleasant experience to play.
Review Disclosure: A review copy of Monaco was provided by Pocketwatch Games for the purposes of this review.