It’s a well-timed coincidence that a group of thieves made off with tens of thousands of dollars from a Justin Bieber concert in Johannesburg just days after the release of Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine on Xbox Live Arcade. Apparently, they rappelled and chiseled their way into a vault room at the stadium while the concert was happening. I’m not usually one to root for the bad guy, but these heist-type crimes are undeniably cool (especially when they happen in real-life), and Monaco lets you step into the shoes of shady players who pull off big scores.
Unlike the Johannesburg criminals, though, there’s nothing realistic about Monaco’s band of crooks. They play to the classic heist movie archetypes–such as the Locksmith, the Hacker, the beautifully distracting Redhead, and the wily Cleaner, who uses chloroform to knock out guards. Though the characters may be slightly cliched, the game design itself is anything but. Monaco is a top-down action game that mixes elements of stealth, twin-stick shooting, and well-timed strategy. Your goal on each level is simple: get to your goal (typically money, or a person or object of value), and then escape. Sounds easy, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that.