Top critical review
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Look beyond the poor graphics & this one's a gem!
on 17 July 2007
If you're thinking of buying this game then brace yourself - because this is as rough and ready as they come. The menus resemble a Geocities homepage from 1998: poor frames, chunky buttons, too much colour and not enough information. You half expect to stumble upon that "Under Construction" icon of a man with a spade. There's no "look beyond" here, either: some of the in-game graphics would shame an IT class playing with Paint - For the first time. The better ones are functional. The best you can say is that you can make out the details without having to squint in more than a handful of cases.(Lose 1 star immediately!)
This DS collection of 23 puzzle, card, trivia, and word games are already tried and tested as decent casual experiences for players who don't normally play videogames, and they certainly translate well on the Nintendo DS. Not every game's a winner, and not every game is easy to understand right out of the gate. The good: Crystal Balls is a cool Puyo Pop variation that uses colors and numbers. And Five Star Generals and Pick Up Six takes Yahtzee and changes things up so as not to infringe on copyrights. But then you've got confusing duds like Artifact, an odd Othello like game with rules that are bogglingly weird and hard to understand without a few rounds of trial and error.
TouchMaster supports the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but it's for posting high scores and seeing how well you rank against other players who've also uploaded their scores. Midway will also host tournaments which players can participate in, but the interface is absolutely the pits - you can never see in the game when a tournament is taking place, other than going into each game, clicking on "Tournament" and logging in. There's no option to simply log in to see which games have a tournament going on.
The other oddity is the fact that you need two copies of TouchMaster to play the games that support two players on two different systems. I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe that the card and puzzle games, with their simplistic imagery, are too big to be transferred to another Nintendo DS system using Download Play, so for that alone Touchmaster loses another star!
All in all, TouchMaster's a decent collection of condensed, casual mini-games. Some are better than others, but none are tremendously terrible. It's, at the very least, a nice compilation for the quick pick-up-and-play experience.