Bank heists are one of those activities best experienced in gatherings of three or more, like picnics or sexy time. (Er, what? - Ed.)
Or at least that's what we've always assumed. We've never actually pulled off a bank job ourselves (because let's face it: if we had, we'd be in St Lucia/jail right now, instead of writing about indie PC games), but we'd imagine half the fun would be in the pre-heist planning.
Planning a heist forces you to think laterally about your own areas of expertise. What role would you play in a (hopefully hypothetical) heist? Would you be the lookout? The muscle? The hacker? The guy who panics and shoots the tellers dead at point blank range and then spends the rest of the trip screaming about what they do to guys like you in prison?
If you're not sure, then the good news is that this crackling little crime caper will help you find out. A co-op game that's achingly on trend with its asymmetrical multiplayer, Monaco asks up to four players, each with differing abilities and strengths, to pool their talents together to drain the titular principality dry of anything of value.
Here's how it works. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is kind of like what a modern day Pac-Man game would look like if the royalties from the 1981 hit 'Pac-Man Fever' weren't keeping the spherical dot-scoffer above the breadline.
A top down maze game, the aim is to break into a number of well-guarded buildings, gobble up a set number of treasures and make good your escape. If you use up all your lives or blow up the escape vehicle (quite difficult to do, in fairness), it's game over.
While this may sound a simple enough task, there are numerous complications standing in your way, not least of which being that you basically begin each mission blind.
The playing area is presented in the style of a criminal blueprint, with room layouts only revealing themselves when you venture into them for the first time.
Even more brain-achingly, you can only see objects (and people) in your direct line of sight, meaning you can never be sure if there's a guard lurking around the next corner. (Or a member of the public, which is arguably even worse - they have a tendency to fly into a tizzy and alert everyone in the immediate area).
Despite the uncertainty of having to fumble your way through the building, it's a fair game and it's always your fault if you get busted. When you're spotted by an NPC there's a brief window of opportunity to back off before they give chase.
Similarly, if there's someone clomping around on the other side of a door frame you'll see a visual depiction of their footprints, so you'll know if they're walking away from your position or whether it's time to split. There's no need for guesswork if you proceed with due diligence.
Fortune favours the timid, then, and this gives Monaco a uniquely variable pace. At the beginning of the round, it's methodical by necessity; if you bomb around the level like a greased-up Pac-Man you'll trip every last alarm in Monaco. Tiptop softly through the stage instead and you'll find the operation goes a lot smoother.
Nonetheless, if (and indeed, when) you alert a guard, the pace shifts from methodical to madcap in an instant as you sprint around the map, attempting to shake them off either by breaking their line of sight or by jumping into a handily-placed bush or vent.
But the chances are that before that happens you'll bump into yet more guards, until eventually you're leading a law enforcement conga line. Special pick-ups such as guns and smoke bombs can help you escape even the stickiest situation, but clearly prevention is better than cure.
And that, as we'll explore on the second page of this review, is when it becomes important to call in the specialists.