|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: PhoenixSoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Midway||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Touchmaster 2 is the second installment of what may become the Touchmaster series. It's not what I would call a sequel, it's a continuation of the format, one that can be expanded upon for as long as developers can come up with new games or at least variations of existing ones.
Touchmaster is an amalgam of card, puzzle, skill, and trivia games. You may be tempted to call them mini-games and, in some instances, you would be correct, though many of these are standalone games, and to some, a handful of these games may be worth the price of admission alone. But to discriminating gamers that want more from their handheld than what you would expect from a cell phone, this game might just be left untouched.
If you've ever been in a pub, and let me tell you, I'm also an expert in that field, you may have undoubtedly seen the Touchmaster game taking up the least valuable real estate on the bar. It's usually relegated to the side of the bar, in what I like to call Loser's Corner. Because let's face it, you didn't come to the bar to play a video game. But like a real ugly friend with low self-esteem, there it sits, waiting to console you when all your friends are ignoring you and members of the opposite sex have cast you asunder. It's love is unconditional. It's there for you. But it still wants a quarter out of you.
Touchmaster 2 has a lot going for it in terms of game variety, but there's no getting away from the reality of the overwhelming novelty factor. But on the positive side, I've played great DS games that lasted only a few hours with no replay value at all. Touchmaster 2 has plenty of diversity as well as replay value, as long as these games interest you. Puzzles, card games, dice games, games of skill, and trivia are all in the offering. While not every game will appeal to every player, there are at least a handful that may eventually captivate you. At worst, you're still going to get a few hours of fun out of these games, even if you just spend a little time on each one. The Trivia game really got me addicted.
There are 20 different games in Touchmaster 2. Do you really want me to list them all? Okay. I will include them in the "Features" section at the end of this review. If you haven't heard of a lot of these games, not to worry. Most of them are just variations on a theme, especially the card games. There are some games that are more of a classic video game nature in that they require the use of skillful manipulation of the controls such as basketball, bowling, and shooting. To keep you interested and challenged, a trophy system is included that will reward you for various gaming achievements such as high score and other difficult feats; it's that little bit of an extra incentive to encourage you to do better. Unfortunately, the online mode is dropped altogether in this version. That means no leaderboard to inspire or deflate you. There is a wireless mode that allows single sharing of one game with another DS. It's better than nothing and works exceptionally well for specific card games and checkers.
As the name implies, Touchmaster 2 makes use of the touchscreen controls, mostly the stylus, which is used to drag, drop, fling, highlight, and select a variety of elements. There's nothing particularly unique about the implementation of this control system, but it works well for the applications at hand. Once again, it's little more than a novelty factor in most games, but it does come in quite handy for making menu and other interface selections.