You don’t see many heist games, but Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine gives four co-op players the chance of breaking, entering and stealing a plethora of pixel-art designed booty.
And for the most part it’s successful in its recreation of the ‘heist’ format – at least, as we know it from Hollywood’s many movies.
Players choose from an ever-expanding list of characters, each with a specific set of skills, and are tasked with entering locations undetected before trying to make off with a range of goodies.
It’s all presented in a wonderful top-down retro-styled fashion that’s only just overburdened with the game’s need to ram the screen full of information.
Each character’s skills are required if all four crooks are to escape with their lives, and this is reinforced visually on screen.
Line of sight plays a big part and what you can see depends on where you’re looking, what’s around you and what specific skill your character possesses. Each character brings a unique attribute – such as lock picking, hacking and perception – and all come with their own pros and cons.
Things do begin to breakdown, though, and this is arguably Monaco’s best and worst aspect in equal measure.
Invariably, this boils down to a shoot-out and a race to the getaway car, but as the levels become more challenging, resorting to violence and running straight for a new area is the most prudent tactic.
While it’s harder to play Monaco on your own, the real issue is one of planning.
What good criminal goes into a heist blind? Improvising as you go leads to all sorts of problems, and while they’re fun to resolve, it gives Monaco a rinse and repeat feel to its gameplay that eventually begins to grate.
With each heist ending in the same way, a lot of the fun is eventually lost.
But that’s not to say that with the right three friends Monaco can’t present you with some of the most inventive gameplay we’ve seen on XBLA. It’s a unique twist on the stealth genre and one that’s certainly worth exploring in three dimensions.
An XBLA slice of retro-styled heist action, Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine delivers a refreshing experience for four players.