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Nintendo DS Review: Touchmaster

Players: 1-2

Price: $29.99

Platform(s): Nintendo DS

Developer: Midway

Publisher: Midway

ESRB: Teen [Blood, Language, Violence]

Website: http://www.touchmastergame.com/

Rating:

Touchmaster for the Nintendo DS is by far the most useless game I have ever played. It may not be bad, it might even get a couple of things right, but the fact is that there is no reason this game should exist. Touchmaster is yet another in the long line of mini-game compilations to hit the market over the past year or so. Remember all those incredibly dull bar top arcade machine that always seem to be hidden away in some corner of the local tavern? The ones with all the boring card games that people only play when they’re piss drunk and either they have no friends, or they’ve been a dick and their friends no longer want them around. That’s Touchmaster. That also seems to be a prerequisite for enjoying the game. If you’re drunk enough to think it’s difficult and bored enough to pick it up, you might just have a decent time.

The game consists of 23 “bar room favorites” that are listed below.

Target 21

3 Peak Deluxe

Go Wild

Phoenix 13

Triple Elevens

Uplift

Solitaire Classic(better known as Solitaire)

Power Cell

Double Take

Pond Kings Checkers

Artifact

Hot Hoops

5 Star Generals

Pick Up 6

Trivia

Word Search

Crystal Balls

Mahki

Pairs

Times Square

Mahjong Pairs

Gemslide

Wordz

I would go through the trouble of describing them to you, but to be honest I fear there is a chance some of our readers might think, “hmm, that sounds cool.” It’s not cool. None of them are. There isn’t a single game in here that you haven’t already played in some form or another. That is Touchmaster’s greatest strength though. All the games are familiar. None of the games are cool or surprising, but they’re all tried and true formulas that have survived for years because of how solid they are.

Under almost no circumstances will you find yourself yearning to get off work so you can get home for some Touchmaster. However, that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t serve you well on a road trip or commute. In truth, I have never been the type of handheld gamer who actually played on the go. I just like the style of games. But Touchmaster is formulated extremely well to play during a commute. This comes mostly from the fact that you will never actually want to play for more than 10 minutes at a time, but for those ten minutes it will succeed in shutting off your brain and whiling away the minutes.

Adding to the overall sub-par decency of Touchmaster, is the sound and music. Quite frankly, the effects ares gaudy and obnoxious, just as you would expect from a bar room video machine. Hence, to be honest I’m not really all that sure if that’s a pro or a con, but I'm going with a con, considering that they're gaudy and obnoxious. Nevertheless, the graphics and interface are suitable enough for the subject matter. Although Solitaire has never really required too much graphical sheen, so that isn’t saying much at all. The touch-screen controls are spot on, though, and I never had even a single instance where I messed up and pressed the wrong button. And that was tested while riding on Chicago’s outdated bumpy-as-hell public train system.

The biggest problem that I found with the package as a whole is that the games that are complicated enough to be satisfying, are extremely poorly explained in-game. There were a lot of game types that I could not figure out just by jumping in, and the game sometimes offers no attempt at all to help you. The only way to learn is by reading to instruction manual. This may not seem like a big deal, but how often do you bring a games instruction booklet with you on the go? It makes no sense why they would omit such a simple thing and it ends up hurting the overall pick-up-and-play qualities.

Like I said before, it’s not that the game is bad. It has it’s ups and downs, but when it comes down to it I simply doubt that anybody actually would want to play it.