I recently bought Monaco in the Indie Game Humble Bundle and I thought I may as well review so that anyone reading this post who may want to buy it can get a second opinion.
The graphics in Monaco are beautiful. Not 3D realism kind of beautiful, but a simple, colourful beautiful. Your whole screen is dedicated to the game, with no annoying HUD to get in the way (you can bring one up by holding CTRL though).
The game takes place from a birds-eye perspective as you navigate your player through different buildings to steal trophies, collect coins, and avoid guards. Sound easy? It’s not. The game has one aspect which makes it twice as hard. Your line of sight. In most top down games, you can see the layout of an area always and everywhere. In Monaco, you are limited to only what your character can see, with the rest hidden in a ‘fog of war’. As you explore an area, the fog begins to map out the locations of coins and security systems, allowing you to plan an escape route if you get noticed. This is one of my favourite features and is the main reason why Monaco is different from other games of this genre. In general, Monaco is amazing, but there is one nag I have. As you progress, the levels begin to get more difficult. Now that’s what you’d expect, but in my opinion, some of the levels get so difficult that they become almost impossible to complete with the help of Multiplayer. If you are a dedicated gamer, you probably wouldn’t notice this but to your average video-game enthusiast, it can be quite annoying. Another downside is that after about a week of playing, I soon realised that Monaco played host to an extremely steep difficulty curve.
Movement controls are your standard WASD keys, there being very little need for the mouse. I do feel like the controls are designed more for a controller, but I got used to them very quickly. The one use for the mouse comes when you equip either a weapon (e.g a shotgun) or a device (e.g. an EMP). When this happens you just have to left click to fire or use that device.
Monaco has a great multiplayer. It’s easy to join you friends in a level due to the ability to set up a lobby. The levels become completely different as you begin to use teamwork to beat them, rather than going lone wolf. The voice chat is also very helpful. I saves you from having to open up third-party software that could slow a PC down and allows players to co-ordinate their routes and beat the systems set up to stop them. Again, I have only one complaint. Whenever you decide to play with friends, you run the risk of a ‘random’ join your game. These are players who you don’t know and don’t really want in your game. It is possible to kick them out but it’s quite difficult as it requires you to delve into the lobby settings, where you could risk messing something up.