Tag Archives: Monaco

Line of sight works against me in Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine


When it comes to stealth games, I can accept the stretch on the limitations of reality to allow the character I’m controlling to gain the upper hand. For instance, in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I always upgrade Adam Jensen with the Augmentations that gives enemies vision cones and allows him to see through walls. Actually, maybe in that scenario, it works fine within the fiction. Also take Mark of the Ninja, where you can use Focus to freeze time and better survey the environment, especially when most of it is shrouded in shadow. Truthfully, I’m not asking for much, but having a slight perk above your enemies makes dealing with them and the situation all the more fun.

None of that is the case with Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine, a deceptively tough stealth action indie title from Pocketwatch Games and Majesco Entertainment that puts pressure on co-operative play for success. The game has four main story campaigns, two of which tell the same story but through different styles. You can choose from eight pixelated characters, all of which have unique abilities: the locksmith, the pickpocket, the cleaner, the lookout, the mole, the gentleman, the hacker, and the redhead. Just by the names alone you might be able to figure out their perks. Certain characters are better suited for specific levels, though I’ve only gotten to play the first few levels in the opening campaign story at this point, using mostly the locksmith and mole.

So, Monaco is presented via a top-down view of blueprint style levels where players can only see things through their “line of sight.” Everything else is shrouded in a thick, gray fog that indicates where rooms are, but not the details within. Unfortunately, your character’s vision cone is narrow and limited, offering up only a tiny slice of what is ahead of you, making it extremely easy to walk through wires or even right into guards on patrol. You can unlock doors, hack ATMs, and hide in bushes by simply pressing up against them, waiting for a meter bar to fill. There are also weapon pick-ups, such as smoke bombs and C4, scattered throughout the level, which you can use against nosy guards.

I got a copy of Monaco some time back for the PC, though I couldn’t tell you how it ended up on my list of Steam games. Probably some kind of bundle. I played through a level or two before determining that this style of infiltration gaming was not for me. For September 2014, it’s now free for Gold members on the Xbox 360, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try one more time. Well, I got just as far as I did on the PC–the bank heist level–before putting the controller down. I really do struggle with seeing the big picture of the level, and the moment a guard spots me, I just panic and run around like a headless chicken. There’s something not connecting with my eyes and brain, especially when a lot of the mission objectives and tips are presented within the level, hidden until you swing your vision cone over them.

It sounds like Monaco is intended to be played cooperatively, with friends. I don’t have three other friends I can invite over, and so there’s an option to link up with strangers via Xbox Live. Eh…no thanks. I’m not one for putting on a headset and chatting with new people in a game that clearly requires teamwork and strategic planning. From what I’ve gathered through forum chatter, a lot of problems crop up with co-op play in that everyone just runs ahead and does what they want, setting off alarms left and right and leaving every other player to fend for themselves.

Monaco certainly has a cool style to it, but part of that style inhibits the gameplay. For me. Others seem to have no problem whatsoever, and goodie for them. But it’s why I struggle with horror games, of not knowing what is ahead and to the left and right and even behind my character. Or it is like those mirror mazes, where I have to take it slow and one step at a time, unsure of what is only a foot in front of me; the last one I did was both a mirror maze and clown-themed, and I was in my early twenties and I’ve still not gotten over the experience. Perhaps I’ll try some online heisting–though I refuse to bust out a headset–and perhaps I’ll attempt another solo run, but regardless I just don’t think this is the stealth action I’m looking for.

The Half-hour Hitbox: February 2014

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Ahh, February–the shortest month of the year. As well as the snowiest, at least for 2014, that is. Last year we barely saw any snow, and this year we’re quadrupling down on that cause, and I have to be honest. I’m done. Truly and terribly. No quibbles about it. I’m tired of my car getting stuck in the snow, I’m tired of shoveling snow, I’m tired of walking like a penguin so as to not fall in the snow, and I’m tired of hearing nearly every day on the radio about the potential coming of even more snow. I really don’t mind cold weather, as I’m all about layering and being warm, but there’s a difference between cold weather and stress-inducing snow. Bring on March and green grass and the chance to not wear socks in the house. My body is ready.

That said, here’s a handful of games I played a little bit of this month.

Lyle in Cube Sector


This little indie thing from 2006 is self-described as a block-throwing action adventure game, and that’s exactly what it is. Lyle’s kitty cat has been stolen by some robed witch, and he’s off to rescue his furry feline. Unlike other Metroidvania games, Lyle doesn’t have a weapon–no whip, no gun, nothing. All he can really do is pick up blocks and throw them. Sometimes this is done to damage enemies, and other times it is to create a path from point A to point B. I had trouble balancing the timing of avoiding incoming enemies and picking up blocks, meaning I didn’t get very far, but it seems like an overall good package. You can grab Lyle in Cube Sector for free over here.

Under the Garden


Right. In this open-ended indie survival game, you are out in the middle of the wild nowhere, tasked with staying alive. You’ll need to eat, create shelter, find fire and essential tools, and so on. A bit like Minecraft, but the controls are kind of iffy. I ended up surviving for around 15 days or so, but gave up playing when I reached a part where you have to cross a body of water on floating crates, and the physics of everything coupled with the janky jumping proved too much. Without exploring, you just end up spending a lot of time standing around, waiting for something to happen. Most often, nothing does.

Pale Machine


More like an interactive music video, Pale Machine is kooky and crazy and completely worth the five or so minutes to go through it. You’ll do ordinary things, like brush your teeth, but also rock potted plants back and forth and stick your tongue out very far to cause some cereal-based chaos. The song is peppy and bounces around from mini scene to mini scene, which means you’re not doing any one specific action for too long. In fact, I played through Pale Machine a second time while writing this little blurb up, and it’s still a bunch of uninhibited fun.

Maverick Bird

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Terry Cavanagh strikes again! Maverick Bird is a fan game for the much-talked about Flappy Bird, and though I can’t say much about the game that this draws inspiration from–remember, I have a Windows 8 phone–the concept is simple, but so very addicting. In Maverick Bird, you are…well, a diamond-shaped being, and you can fly up using the up arrow and dive down with the down arrow. You never stop moving, and so the goal is to see how far you get without hitting any walls or traps. It’s tough, but I like it, though I turned the music off right away. Despite the screenshot above, my highest score so far has actually been…17. Take that!

Monaco – What’s Yours is Mine

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Yup, I bought the newest Humble Bundle, and got a handful of new indie games to play. So far, while I’ve installed all of them, I’ve only loaded up one, and that’s Monaco – What’s Yours is Mine, a strange title for a stealthy game about…well, cooperative stealth? I really don’t know. There’s some light story setup in the beginning about breaking a fella called The Mole out of prison, but that’s all I recall at this point. I like the aesthetics very much in this and the retro-ish graphics, though it’ll take me some time to get used to the lack of vision and fog of war. Lockpicking feels good, having you press against a door or computer for a short period of time to pick it. Rubbing ain’t picking.

Galaga Legions DX


I was drinking a hot toddy and getting buzzed and thought this would be funny–not fun–to experience a little on the tipsy side. Turns out, I was right. Maybe. Hmm, maybe not. I had no idea what I experienced. I was a spaceship, and I shot bullets, and a blizzard of colorful lights and objects filled the screen, and there was some crazy music bumping in the background, and I did this for a little bit until I cleared the first section of levels. Most likely never going back.

Payday 2


Hmm…this game is described as so:  an action-packed, four-player co-op shooter that has players donning the masks of the original PayDay crew–Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf, and Chains–as they descend on Washington D.C. for an epic crime spree. That may all be very true, but I still can’t get past the first mission, and if one can’t successfully pull off a jewelry heist, well…maybe a life of crime is not the right path to walk. My problem is someone in the store notices what’s going on too quickly, and I don’t yet know how to corral everyone away from the bank-opening action without alerting them or the cops.

The Half-hour Hitbox is a new monthly feature for Grinding Down, covering a handful of videogames that I’ve only gotten to play for less than an hour so far. My hopes in doing this is to remind myself that I played a wee bit of these games at one time or another, and I should hop back into them, if I liked that first bite.