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Developer: Pocketwatch Games Publisher: Pocketwatch Games Platform: PC Release Date: April 24th, 2013 Sometimes, games and game developers specifically just go and do whatever they want. Instead of making the usual multiplayer shooter or the equally popular singleplayer RPG, Pocketwatch Games decided to try the unusual and make a co-op game about heists. It's meant for co-op, designed for co-op, no, DESTINED to be played in co-op! Does it actually hold up to the huge standards for co-op games left by such classics like Left 4 Dead or the mod "Sven Co-op" for the original Half-Life? To start off, I'll say that Monaco is odd- but odd in the good way though! The graphics are uncoventionally retro and "simple", the music is classy and not head-banging at all like today's tunes, and even little things like the dialogue and lighting in levels is done to perfection while other areas of the game, such as the plot, are kept basic. I've often thought about why this might've been done. Is it to even further bolster the uniqueness level of the game? Or, perhaps Pocketwatch Games (which is a name I love, I might add) just likes to focus on the little things in games! The two questions asked above can't really be answered in full- which is why I love this game! This isn't your traditional co-op experience, and I think the game completely embraces that. Other games meant to be played together with friends instead of against them often just let you play through the game together like the singleplayer campaign or try the "horde mode" path. Creativity is the essence of a non-bland, fun time, and Monaco captures that perfectly. Teamwork is key in Monaco, but surprisingly it's actually fine to play by yourself. It's a bit different than sneaking around, telling one friend to go collect the extra gold at the end of the map while you go take out a guard and another friend watches your back. Instead, you are all alone in the war on those who have gold. This just makes the game both harder and easier though! Having poor teamwork can quickly get your whole team led to doom in the later levels, so being on your own is actually still equally sneaky and intense. Speaking of intense, this game really loves to pressure you when the heist goes awry! The music tenses up, exclamation points pop up above the guards' heads, totally not like the Metal Gear Solid games, and your team of elite heist wannabes must flee to safety. In fact, death is pretty common in this game it seems. However, defeat isn't punishing in Monaco- in fact I'd say that it encourages the player to keep at it and try a different plan of attack for the mission. The aracade-sy feel of Monaco comes is just fantastic. Collecting coins makes you get a better time at the end of the level which is a great incentive to collect them all, and to even use your gadgets you need to collect coins. That in itself is an awesome idea that should be used more in retro games such as this! In addition to that, the graphics are crisp and pixelized, and while the music is more modern-sounding I think Austin Wintory (yes, the guy who did Journey's music!) still did a lovely job with it, keeping to the frantic old-timey arcade feel of the game. Probably the one thing I was concerned about when looking at the game at first was how long or how varied the gameplay would be. Luckily, the game is pretty long, as I'm about 40% through I'd estimate and I'm 3 hours in. That sets you at about an 8-10 hour game I'd guess, given the game gets harder as the levels go on so you'd keep at each one longer. Each level is fairly different too, and there's even a bonus level at the end that I had spoiled for me but I won't for you- just know that it is awesome! Unfortunately....the amount of tools isn't quite as big as I'd like it to be, but this is a small complaint really. While I wouldn't go as far as to call it "the best co-op game of all time", Monaco succeeds heavily on what it tries to do. For $15, you could certainly do better, yes. If you're looking for a nice, fun time with some friends though, Monaco is a great choice for a Friday night session of playing robbers. Remember- What's Yours....Is Mine! *insert obligatory game subtitle reference here* I give this game a: 8.5/10