Touch Me Too Master
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.
As you might imagine, most of these games are fairly simple, but this isn’t Wario Ware, where you can learn a game in a fraction of a second. These games are a lot more complex and do require that you get a handle on the rules. That means burying your nose in the instruction manual for those games you can’t easily figure out. It’s not a difficult task, but it’s annoying for those of us with attention deficit issues, who just want to jump right into the action. There are no in-game tutorials or instructions of any kind, and trust me, some of these games are almost impossible to figure out on your own. It’s a pain to be sure, but there’s no other way around it, you’ve just got to learn the rules first before you can break them.
Touchmaster 2 is colorful, bright, and clean. The graphics are simple, giving it a generic quality that just screams budget title. The music is also simple and repetitive, and the sound effects are barely on par with an early 80s arcade game. Once you get over the relatively low production values and into the actual gameplay, you will appreciate the uncluttered screen, smooth animation, responsive control system, and sound gameplay mechanics. Of course, looking at the game you would not settle for anything less than relative perfection. There’s just no reason for this game to have any problems. At thirty bucks, this is not a budget-priced game.
You certainly can’t go wrong with a rental of Touchmaster 2. But keep in mind that most of these games, or variations of them, can be found on the net for free. The only two factors that make this version unique is that it’s portable and features the touchscreen control system. If you don’t care where you play these games and can live with a mouse and keypad control system, then you might not want to reach out and touch this game.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.8 Graphics
Clean, bright, and simple. Looks like a budget title. 4.0 Control
The stylus works well but seems forced in some games. 2.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Budget-style music and sound effects. Primitive and repetitive. 4.2
A variety of different, addictive mini-games extends the replay value.
4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.