Date: 12-01-2010 06:00
Author: Zahir Merchant

PDC profile: Zahir

Money Idol Exchanger is a puzzle game for the PS1 where the player has the objective of grouping coins together fast enough to avoid being overwhelmed by the falling coins. So how does this import title hold up today? Read on to find out.

Anime Girls, Coins, and lots of Japanese

As a result of MIE being an import title, everything is still in its original Japanese state. This is unfortunate, because navigating the menu becomes a process of trial and error until you figure out what each selection does. The game has a standard Arcade mode, a Versus mode which supports playing against CPU or another player, and a Story mode. Versus and Story are pretty much identical, except that Story mode has cut-scenes in-between the puzzle battles. There are six avatars to play as, but their differences are purely cosmetic, meaning they all play exactly the same.

Test your Change Counting Prowess
MIE plays in a style similar to Magical Drop or Puzzle Bobble. For people unfamiliar for these two games, that means that the coins gather at the top of the screen and work their way down to you, while you are trying to get rid of them by matching them together to avoid getting crushed. You use to grab the coin directly above you. While holding that coin, you can grab more of that same coin and have them stack. When you press , you throw the coins straight back up. The game uses Yen for counting, and this is how it breaks down:
    5 (or more) 1 coins = one 5 coin
    2 (or more) 5 coins = one 10 coin
    5 (or more) 10 coins = one 50 coin
    2 (or more) 50 coins = one 100 coin
    5 (or more) 100 coins = one 500 coin
After grouping two or more 500 coins together, the coins vanish and turn into points. In Arcade mode, it is just you and the score meter. You keep on matching till you get overwhelmed. In Versus and Story modes, you are playing against an opponent to see who can overwhelm the other by sending their successful matches onto the opponent's screen. The difficulty curve in the Versus and Story modes quickly ramps up, which made it very difficult for me to even get past the fourth stage in either mode.

Closing Time
The graphics are decent for a PS1 game, utilizing anime styled girls and bright colors. Music in the game is light and cheery, but forgettable. I couldn't recognize any of the tunes if someone played it for me right now. This game was originally intended for arcades, and it definitely shows with the steep difficulty curve. If you enjoy tricky fast-paced puzzle games, such as Tetris, Puzzle Bobble, or Bejeweled, you might find something to enjoy in Money Idol Exchanger. I personally didn't really care for it. For me, it was a fun thing to pull up whenever I was bored and had some time to burn, but it quickly got frustrating. Also, not being able to understand the story mode bummed me out.

Money Idol Exchanger was developed by Face in 1997, and was brought to the North American Playstation Store by MonkeyPaw Games. It is available now for $5.99 USD, takes up 80MB of space, and is playable on both PSP & PS3. I played the game for about 3 hours, mostly on my PS3.

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