MicroGaming have done a great job of creating a slot which stays just on the right side of ‘heavily influenced by’ here. Most people will instantly recognize the theme as Donkey Kong, the game which saw the debut of a certain Super Mario character. There is an Italian style plumber (in this case a zookeeper), angry gorilla – and even a bonus game which involves moving up a sloping ironworks setup and hitting barrels.
Money Mad Monkey has two bonus games. One is free spins, where you will have a random choice of spins with different multipliers. The second is the barrels game, where you are hoping to get to the top to get the apes’ money.
Stepping back from the theme for a moment, you’ll find a standard MicroGaming slot setup. There are 20 win-lines, and a choice of coin sizes from 1c and up. The standard coin multipliers, bet max and auto-play options can all be found.
If there is one thing that the monkey is even madder for than money – it is the banana symbols. These show a peeled banana, and 5 on a win-line will get you a welcome 10,000 coins. You’ll get 1000 coins for 4 wilds, and 100 coins for just 3 from the left.
In addition, bananas will replace any other regular (not bonus or scatter) symbols to create more wins. If you get a few bananas in view on a single spin, you’ll often find yourself triggering multiple wins.
While you’ll find a familiar looking cartoon plumber among the higher paying winning symbols, this is not the best of the (non-wild) prizes. That accolade goes to a grinning monkey. That ape (who appears as part of the logo) is worth 2000 coins for 5.
The plumber, or rather zookeeper – who wears a green cap instead of a red one – comes next at 1000 coins, a calculator makes up the higher paying symbols. Playing card symbols aces down to tens make up the smaller prizes. These have been drawn in a quirky, almost graffiti like style.
Free spins are triggered by hitting 3 of the special symbols showing piles of paper cash. When you hit these a box pops up in the middle of the screen. You are invited to click on one of three symbols, which will reveal what type of free spins game you play.
You can get 5 free spins with an 8x multiplier, 10 spins with a 4x multiplier or 20 spins with a 2x boost. Over time your wins will even out, though the smaller spin numbers with bigger multipliers do introduce a lot more volatility into the results.
The second game is triggered by 3 or more of the scattered bonus symbols. These show a cityscape at night. You’ll go to a second screen where you see a building, with ironworks going up to it. You take the role of ‘Mr Z. Keeper’ and try to get to the top to grab the riches from the monkey. To do this you click to roll a dice. Opening barrels awards cash prizes. The game ends if you get a ‘stop’ on the dice – or if you reach the top for a bigger prize.
As soon as you play you’ll understand that this is a Donkey Kong-themed game. Of course, MicroGaming have been smart in avoiding any trademark issues, making it more ‘influenced by’ than ‘based on’. The similarities come through most in the barrels bonus game – though the ‘zookeeper’ does look uncannily like a certain Italian Plumber.
Overall the game is bright, fast and solidly produced. While the sounds are more like and online slot than a console game – you can still hear the influence. I like the banana wilds, and the stacked monkey / logo symbols appear often enough to give you a shot at some bigger wins too. Animations on the reels are smaller and shorter. The game does spring into life for both the free spins bonus game and the barrels / console type game.
This game is enjoyable enough to appeal to new players as well as those of us who remember the original Mario games. The action is fast and smooth, with plenty of line-win potential via those peeled banana wilds. I enjoyed the element of chance with the free spins, where you can get a multiplier of up to 8x. The barrels bonus is fun, though really just a collection of chance dice rolls. You will not be complaining if you reach the top – and the bigger prizes held by the Money Mad Monkey himself!