In tune with today’s global economy, WyldHare Game Studios and Mjolnir have a new role-playing game out that satirizes all things corporate: Hot Money.
As with any mafia-style RPG on Facebook, the game comes with all the familiar elements: Players consume energy (Latte) to do tasks, earn experience and rewards, upgrade stats, attack other players, and of course, all of these play into becoming the best – which in this case is becoming the top dog of the business world, one way or another. However, while a lot of the features look strikingly similar to its text-based counterparts, the app is actually quite different.
To start things off, the basic tasks (Actions) that make up your typical quest system have a tendency to be broken up into four categories. The first is the most typical, where players perform a quirky action, such as offering to take care of people’s pet rocks after the Rapture, to earn experience towards new levels and some extra cash.
Once you’ve created a bit of a money sink, you can move onto the other three types of tasks which all cost both energy and money. These tasks will earn you levels in one of three extra fields: Fame, Wealth, and Power. Basically, this means that players can work their way up the leaderboards (if Hot Money had leaderboards) in four different ways. Additionally, as players do the various actions, they have a chance to earn special tokens.
These tokens include Blackmail, Hot Tips, Leaks, Fall Guys, and Latte refills. Aside from the Latte token that replenishes your energy, the rest are all used in the game’s player versus player element. The different tokens sort of make up a more complex replacement to the typical “Stamina” statistic from games like Mafia Wars, and each one allows players to attack another user’s Fame, Wealth and Power.
The way it works is pretty simple. If you have, say, a Blackmail token, you can attack someone’s Fame. Like most Facebook RPGs, the result will be automatically generated result and should you win the attack, you will take some of their Fame for your own. Of course, this works the other way around should you lose, but if you have Fall Guy tokens, you can consume one to negate the effects of any failed attack or defense.
In fact, because you have to attack and defend in three different areas, you also have to allocate stats into six different satirized areas that that represent offensive and defensive capabilities needed for earning Fame, Wealth, and Power. Additionally, players may also improve such stats with items known as Perks and Lackeys. Unfortunately, while all of these grant stat bonuses and even an hourly chance at extra tokens, they all cost the virtual currency dubbed “Hot Bucks,” meaning that if you’re not looking to spend real money, you are at a disadvantage.
Using the multiple types of levels is certainly an interesting concept that Hot Money employs, but the biggest issue with it is that it feels like it has no point. As you level them, you earn new titles, but with no noticeable leaderboards implemented and no other benefit, there is no real reason for the player to choose one over the other. Additionally, there is a stark lack of social features as well.
It is true that you can invite your friends to join your “Network,” and yes, this does augment your “combat” capabilities when you attack other users. Nonetheless, such a use is something that has been done with even some of the earliest Facebook RPGs. Lately, we have seen them take more of an active role (i.e. in Castle Age or Haven), helping each other progress in a story via fighting bosses, being appointed to special ranks within the game to provide significant strategic bonuses, and so on. Of course, Hot Money’s social use isn’t bad, it just feels a bit dated by comparison.
In the end, Hot Money feels a bit average. Since it is in its early beta stages, a lot of of what we see is certainly subject to change.