It’s Educational. Honest.

Get out the leg-warmers and crack open a New Coke, Martha, because you need to be in an 80s mind to understand this next line:

If Alex P. Keaton was a) Japanese, b) a little too interested in little girls and c) wrote advancing-block-style puzzle games, he might have written a game like Money Idol Exchanger.

Despite the raised eyebrow you have just given the screen, it’s not actually an adult title.

Like most of these games, your character, of which you have a choice of 8 covering most of the popular stereotypes – with a special nod given to an effeminate lad in a plushie dog outfit, who has added another face to the cast of my worst nightmares – you have your cute girls, your butch girls, your sharply-dressed woman in glasses, your… actually, I stopped enumerating the cast members at that point, your character stands alone at the bottom of the screen trying her – ok, in theory, HIS or her – best to hold back the eventually-unstoppable onslaught of steadily advancing objects.

Of all the run on sentences I’ve ever perpetrated upon unsuspecting readers, that was probably the worst.  I feel like I should be marking up my monitor with a red pen.

I digress.

The objects – which, as mentioned, will eventually and inevitably reach the bottom of the screen, ending your game and casting you into pits of despair – are coins, from whence the game of the game derives and upon which my pathetic attempts to justify it as educational are built.

You have your standard denominations – Y1, Y5, Y10, Y50, Y100, and Y500 – with a couple of wild-card style special coins, and your goal is to stack 5 Y1 coins to make a Y5 coin, 2 Y5 coins to make a Y10, 5 Y10s to make a 50, so on and so forth until you’re combining 2 or more Y500 coins, at which point they disappear.

Doesn’t that sound educational?

Oh, making chains is of course possible and essential to high scoring.  It’s rather like Puyo Puyo in that regard, and of course it has the same thing going on where you place one piece and it kicks off a massive chain that you had no idea was coming and yet you smile smugly as if it were your plan all along.

I haven’t tried the story mode yet, because I’m still practicing the single player mode, but I assume that it will pit me against the other seven characters, possibly against a doppleganger of myself, tie it all together with some sort of tenuous plot, and eventually throw me at a boss character who will humilate me.

For now, I play the 1 player game, which gives you a ranking every time you die.

At my current level of skill, I usually score a “futsuu desu” (“Average”), but I have on one occasion managed a “yoku dekimashita!” (“Well done!”).

I have great hopes for my future money changing career.

Money Idol Exchanger – man, I can’t get over that name – apparently did see a US release under the title of Money Puzzle Exchanger with some localization done.

I’ve only played the Japanese Playstation game, which can be had – if you can get ahold of a Japanese PSN points card – for a mere Y600 from the PSN store.

Can’t recommend it enough.

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