You know what? My friends and I are better thieves than George Clooney. Well, we are if Monaco is any indication.

Sure, George may have all the charm and handsomeness, but if there's any one trait I look for in my friends, it's the appreciation of a good heist. And Monaco is all about stealing some stuff.

The premise of Monaco is simple: Take your team into a heavily guarded building to steal a trophy, and get out without getting caught or killed. A retro feel, a top-down camera angle, and a simplified control scheme comprise its approach to getting some co-op good times going.

Rather than implement an overly complex control scheme that requires a specific set of controls for each class, Monaco designer Andy Schatz has culled the controls down to a two-button system. Every action, like hacking a computer, breaking into a safe or unlocking the door to the escape car is done by running into the object for a couple of seconds. The basic run-around-and-get-stuff mechanic is the same for everyone in Monaco, but each class has abilities on top of that. Every great modern heist needs a Hacker for those annoying security systems, so make sure you bring one of them along. We may need to blow down a wall or two on the way to the vault, so make sure you fill the demolition expert requirement with the Mole. And what team would be complete without an expert lock pick? The Thief's the man for the job.

On top of that, players are allowed to pick up one item at the beginning of each mission, ranging from health packs to tranquilizer darts to knock out the wandering guards, all of which are released by simple trigger pull. Planning out the proper combination of classes and items is essential for a successful con.

But no heist goes off without a hitch. The randomly generated guards and locked doors might be in inopportune spots, there may not be enough money laying around to buy a new set of C4 that you were counting on for the last push to the exit, or you might accidentally set off the alarm of a car that didn't seem armed when you walked in.


This is when Monaco is the most fun. The chaotic rush to find the objective and get out before the guards convene on your position is accompanied by shouting for help, frantic pointing at the screen, and raucous laughter.

Think you and your buds have the chops to grab every last bit of loot in each level and get out in record time? Give it a shot and see how high you can climb Monaco's leaderboards. The level editor Schatz himself used to create Monaco's maps will also be available at release, in addition to the 50+ levels in the game proper.

Monaco will also include competitive multiplayer modes at launch, though they weren't on display at PAX. In one, players will compete to grab the most loot before getting taken out by the guards or making it to the escape. Forget teamwork -- it's every man for himself. If you've got more of an authoritative streak, Cops and Robbers mode might be up your alley.

George Clooney may have all the charm and handsomeness, but in Monaco my crew and I will have way more fun with our escapades. You hear that, Clooney? We're better than you. Yeah, I said it. Deal with it.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.