I made the mistake of not knowing enough about Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine before playing it and therefore thinking it was just a game where you move dudes around levels to collect coins, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I’d played one of those recently on Xbox Live. It was pretty awful. I don’t even remember the name of it. It had bank robbers. You could give them hats and costumes and whatnot. I figured Monaco might be like that, but hopefully not awful.
Little did I know Monaco is the game I had hoped Introversion was going to make before they cancelled Subversion, their ambitious heist game about characters with different abilities getting into levels and then getting out again. And now here it is, but not from Introversion. It’s like Hotline: Miami, but with more gameplay and nearly just as much style.
I love how differently Monaco’s characters play. You’ll probably think any given character is overpowered at some point. At first, it was The Cleaner who I thought was overpowered for how he can sneak up behind guards and bean them. Most of the other characters need to find a weapon. Now it’s The Hacker, who can get a swarm of viruses crackling along the level around him without even hacking computers. Just get him to the wall outlets and he’s good to go. He’s a pet class! Speaking of pet class, maybe The Collector is overpowered for how his monkey Hector will automatically collect coins in the area, which directly pumps up your score. The scoring system records the time it takes you to finish the heist, but it adds a time penalty for all the treasure you didn’t get. That’s where Hector takes up the slack. Yeah, I’m going to say The Collector and his monkey Hector are overpowered.
But what I think I love most is the sense of discovery with the various missions and levels. Introversion’s game was going to feature procedurally generated office buildings, which sounds like about the most boring heists you could ever have. But Monaco’s imaginative locations are so lovingly built, with so many affectionate touches, and their own sense of flow. Take a look at that oceanographic museum above, which is rendered as a drawn map when it’s not in your line of sight. You know you want to see what’s under those labels.
Monaco: What’s Your Is Mine is out today for the PC. The Xbox 360 release has been delayed for an unspecified reason.