Game: Money Idol Exchanger
Developer: MonkeyPawGames Inc.
Available Platforms: PlayStation 3; PSP
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
I have to start by saying that I never played Money Idol Exchanger in it’s current name, or any other name that similar games have used. That being the case, I’ll explain this to you like I’d explain it to myself: Money Idol Exchanger is a very fast-paced, very Japanese arcade puzzle game in which you take coins of a small denomination and combine them into larger denominations until you can finally wipe them from the board. In 2 player games, making big plays on your side of the screen results in your opponent getting more lines on their side of the board. When anyone lets a stack of coins reach the bottom of the screen, the round ends. Sound familiar? Think of this as a cross between Tetris and Bejeweled and accounting, and you’re half way there.
Gameplay is very simple: use the D-Pad to move left and right, X button to grab coins, and the O button to replace the coins. Stack the coins so that five ‘1’ coins touch, and they’ll become one ‘5’ coin. Five ‘100’ coins make one ‘500’ coin. Nothing to it. The challenge comes in when you add in the fact that new rows of coins appear at the top of the screen all the time. Then, things start to get tense when your wife makes a huge play, and stuffs your side of the screen with a bunch of junk you can’t use. It all reaches the boiling point when she then laughs at you, and asks you to turn in your gaming credentials. Unless you don’t have a wife, in which case those last two sentences don’t apply to you. The point is that Money Idol Exchanger is best played with a friend, and since there is no online component, you’ll have to play with someone in the same room.
So, that’s the Money Exchanger part; the Idolpart comes in when you pick your avatar when the game begins. Mostly, the avatars are scantily-clad cutesy anime girls who will react in the background to your actions, both good and bad, and shout (what I assume are) encouragements or admonishments at you in Japanese.
On the downside, I don’t speak Japanese, and while that’s not a failing on the game’s behalf, it does make the game a bit hard to navigate. If you read the description of the game on the PSN, it warns “this game is an import, but there is a minimal amount of language” — and that’s true for the most part, but all of the game’s options are in Japanese. And believe me, there are about 5 pages of options you could get lost in; everything from game handicaps to…well, I don’t know, because I don’t speak Japanese. The PSN description also tells you to go to the MonkeyPaw Games website if you have questions, but unfortunately, they do not break down any of the text like you would expect them to.
The Demitrius Determination:
If you like Bejeweled and Tetris, Money Idol Exchanger would be a good fit for you. It can get to be kind of dull playing by yourself, but the head-to-head action of the split-screen competitive mode can be addictive, and take hours away from you seemingly in an instant. However, if puzzle games aren’t your thing, stay far away from this title.