Summer Fun 2015 Pt.1

It’s beautiful outside. The sun is shining, the sky is as blue as the lake is when it’s calm, and there’s a gentle breeze hitting my skin. For Chicago this weather is particularly rare. Summer lasts typically around three months before we re-enter the cold phase and the second-half of Chicago’s “summer” begins. Instead I’m nursing a headache that won’t quit and a fear of light that gives me the feeling of needles to my eyes.

Now that all the AAA titles have been released (Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3, Mortal Kombat X) and now face the summer drought, now seems like just a good a time as any to go through the ole’ backlog. The game I convinced myself to buy but immediately lost the will to finish. Because let’s face it, is there not a Steam user out there who isn’t knee deep in 30+ games that you bought for less than five bucks? It’s truly a wonderful time we live in for gaming.

I tried this project last summer and got through about ten games, before I caved and craved the sun once more. Not to mention I never pegged down what the fuck I was even going to do with all that shit I wrote. So I’m trying it again this year, but I’m going to continue to find something I can use to turn this into a full-fledged piece. Summer just began, it’s the beginning of July, so let’s see how many games I can get through and how far my patience will take me. I invite you dig through your own backlogs and find new reason to fear the sun like the stregori on The Strain.

Game 1: Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine

Released: April 23, 2013 | PC, Xbox 360, MAC, LNX

What is it? Monaco is a game about navigating mazes. You pick from eight pixelated thieves who sneak into fortified buildings and steal sweet loot. Each character is built with different abilities: the locksmith cracks locks and safes very quickly, but the Cleaner is much quicker and better adept at fighting and disposing of security. It’s fun to return to a map and find a new way to solve the maze using someone like the Redhead who can manipulate single security guards and order them to provide a path for her.

The visuals are kind of conflicting as everything is pixilated but there is a lot going on at any time. Small footprints might suddenly be seen if a security guard is approaching, same with you when running. Truth be told despite seeming kinda minimalist, this shit is also a little complicated. However the game’s use of neon colors and bright lighting against a gray backdrop make everything pop and work.  I felt tension while trying to navigate a burning ship while a helicopter above searches with the aid of foot patrols. The flash of colors when your alert a compound instill a sense of dread I didn’t think I’d be experiencing from something like this.

There doesn’t seem to be much of an active community behind Monaco, leaving it’s online components unfortunately dusty. The madness of four people coordinating a job is something I’ll sadly have to think about rather than experience. It ran a speed run competition last year but its developers have moved onto a new project. Still it survives thanks to Workshop support and a continued influx of custom maps. Many of these created maps are very imaginative (like escaping a UFO) and still give Monaco a breath of life. It’s also routinely on sale during Steam’s various deals, so it wouldn’t hurt to give this indie title a whirl. It may have only been two years since release, but in gaming two years might as well be 10 years ago, but Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine is a game that will age gracefully. Unfortunately I’m not sure many will remember it.

Score: 7/10


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