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Monaco is a fun, frantic game about pulling off the perfect heist

Alex Cocilova | May 9, 2013
The criminal path is paved in gold as you rob everyone blind in this fun and frantic co-op indie game.

Stumble into an enemy's line of sight and they'll give chase, alerting the rest of the guards in the process. It's rare to run through a mission without getting spotted at least once, but it's obnoxiously easy to evade and escape the enemy; quickly fleeing around a corner or hiding in a vent or bush will usually save your bacon, as guards get bored pretty quickly and give the all-clear. It's simple and a little silly, but far better than if the guards were obnoxiously difficult.

Partners in crime

While it's perfectly playable as a single-player game, Monaco was made for co-op play. Team with up to three other people online or in the same room to work together, tapping the unique skill of each thief to make the heist go smooth.

Setting up a game with friends is easily accomplished through Steam, though Monaco has it's own matchmaking service to hook you up with strangers. Communication is key when pulling the perfect job, so the in-game voice chat system is a welcome addition.

If you have the means (extra controllers, keyboards, mice), you can gather everyone around the same screen. This is a little challenging on the PC version as it may get a little crowded around your desk, but there's nothing like recreating the old-school couch co-op feeling. Monaco's local co-op will probably get more popular when it comes out for Xbox Live Arcade on May 10, but PC players can take advantage of Steam's Big Picture mode and a few wireless controllers right now to get the same experience.

Characters

Monaco's roster includes the standard heist archetypes, all with their own special abilities that work well in a team scenario. If you're braving a heist by yourself, it's best to read about the mission before accepting a character--some are much better-suited for certain jobs than others.

Characters go by their talents, not their names--it's safer that way. You start with the Locksmith (an infiltration expert that unlocks doors and safes quickly), the Lookout (can see and hear enemies from far away, even without vision), the Pickpocket (with an undetectable monkey companion that collects coins for you) and the Cleaner, who knocks out enemies that aren't alerted to your presence.

As you play you will start to unlock more characters through the story, such as the Mole (who can break through walls), the Gentleman (quickly disguises himself while hiding), the Hacker (sends out viruses to shut down security) and the Redhead, who can seduce one enemy to open doors for your team.

What is that?

Many times the game becomes a frantic mad dash for the nearest hiding spot, but Monaco's graphical style relies heavily on symbols. It's an iconic look, but when the action ramps up the symbols become more like inscrutable hieroglyphics.

 

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