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Nintendo DS Review: TouchMaster 3

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Warner Brothers takes over this Nintendo DS exclusive game series with a third, brand new, mini-game compilation organized in card, strategy, action, puzzle, and word categories.  The game contains both relatively easy to understand games like target royale, dice king, triples plus, and domino run as well as vague titles like Electro Maze.  Whether they are intuitive or not, some games can sustain players for hours.

Besides featuring single player play, the two player option allows for hosting or joining game sessions via multiplayer or download play. The game's success is based on its stimulating players rather than containing more entertaining elements like good, old-fashioned fun like dropping bombs and firing cannons.

The developers have infused each mini-game with popular games and have even sometimes combined a few popular games like golf with the card game solitaire. Players with basic or in-depth knowledge of the base games (poker, etc.) will have the best advantage in head-to-head modes. The “honeymoon” phase of each game is relatively pleasant due to the short game times and engaging gameplay elements. As the games are quite quick, don't expect much depth in them, and automatic saves ensure progress will not be in vain.

In an example of a typical game here, the chef memory mini game combines a memory card game with food dish recipes based on the player's matches. The chef character’s “tasty” smile or green-faced, “gross,” reaction from resulting creations do not add much entertainment though the creative titles like chocolate cheese orange cake do amuse.

The card category revolves around poker variations, while the action category involves basic weapon games as players adjust multiple cannon dials to lay waste to slime creatures laid out on a horizontal field, or drop upgradeable bombs on them at just the right moment. Electro Maze has players lead a ball through a maze while avoiding the “shocking” edges. In bumper ball, players guard with a mallet in the middle similar to air hockey in this pinball variation.

The action games boost the “fun factor” a bit while the “match three” concept permeates much of the puzzle category. Strategy mini-games incorporate dominos and stylus touch properties. The smallest category, word games, offers a fish word formation game ideal for kids and a crossword scramble called Wild Words.

The developers have utilized both Nintendo DS screens while icons and text provide clear navigation and instruction.  The on/off options allow player control in potential irritation spots like mixed bag music.

Players earn rewards and extra game content by succeeding in each of the categories. Each game has a gold, silver, and bronze medal level plus five badges and as many as 25 wizard points. A total of 500 wizard points achieves a Grand Master title. The bonuses are nice, but not essential because stimulating challenges drive the gameplay. Don’t bother looking for story elements either, unless you can somehow relate wizard points to the antagonistic slime monsters. Obviously, as the title promises, success with the touch controls equals player advancement, which includes a 3D trophy room and comprehensive statistics that include the most played and least played games.

The game is perfect for travelling with a family, containing something for everyone. The compilation game genre succeeds when enough good experiences tip the scales or even contain true gems. TouchMaster 3 does both. These mini-games (20 total) may not be very original (what is in today’s world?), but they certainly stimulate gameplay as players transfer some game skills to the real world and vice versa.

TouchMaster 3 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence and Mild Language.


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