St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon, and many partygoers will be hitting the bars that night. If you’re one of the folks who will be doing that, DRINK RESPONSIBLE AND BE CAREFUL! Anyway, one of the video games you can find in many bars (besides the run down Golden Tee Golf machine) is Touchmaster. These touch screen casual games are great for passing the time while waiting for your friends at bars, and many of these games have been ported to the DS in the Touchmaster collections. So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a rundown of all the games you can find in the third edition of Touchmaster for DS.
I’ve probably said this before in other Touchmaster blogs, but I’m not a big fan of bars so I usually don’t go to them. So I don’t play very many Touchmaster arcade games either. There are two reasons why I’m not a big fan of going to bars. One, most bars are too dark and loud, and I have a hard time seeing or hearing my friends there. And I want to see and hear my friends when I do things with them, of course!
The other reason why I’m not a huge fan of going to bars is I’m not a big drinker. I’m not against drinking or anything, but there’s just not a whole lot of alcoholic beverages I like. And if I’m going to pay for a drink, it had better be one I like! Keep in mind that I’m pretty picky and usually just drink water all the time. I MIGHT drink a soda MAYBE once a month or two, but that’s it. Yes, I know I’m a very boring person. And you know what? I’m okay with that.
Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Touchmaster 3 came out on the DS late last year, but I just now got it when it went down in price (I’m not paying more than 20 bucks for a collection of mini-games). This one’s a little different than the others, though. The third game is published by a different company (WB) since Midway kind of went under. And the games on this collection aren’t lifted from the arcade Touchmaster, but they’re based on the casual touch screen gameplay ideas. And since they’re not directly based on the quarter-munching arcade titles, the time limits in these challenges are more forgiving, or there’s just not a time limit at all! By doing certain things in each game, you can unlock trophies and achievements, but they don’t do anything or open up extra goodies. It’s just for show.
Anyway, there are five game categories: Cards, Strategy, Action, Puzzle, and Word. So here’s a rundown on each game in those categories!
Each Touchmaster collection has a selection of card games. Usually I don’t get into single player solitaire card games, so I’ll probably zip through these. In Target Royale, you draw one card from a deck and try to put it in one of three poker hands, or discard it. Make three good poker hands and try to score high enough to reach the next round.
This one’s just like Target Royale except there are two face-down stud cards for each hand you must make, and there are only two hands to make instead of three. There’s a bit more luck involved with this version, but for some reason, I did better at it than Target Royale.
The way you slide around the cards here reminds me of how you move the pieces around in games like Yoshi’s Cookie and Pokemon Trozei. Move around the cards to recreate the poker hand shown on the top screen. It’s harder than it looks!
I think this one’s similar to the golf card game on 5 in 1 Solitaire that I reviewed a while back. It’s just another version of solitaire where you match up cards that are one higher or lower than the card in the deck, which clears out the playfield. Since it has a golf theme, the card suits are things like golf balls and ‘clubs.’ And if you select a card that you can’t do anything with, an annoying voice yells “Fore!” But I really liked how the cards were arranged like Mah-Jongg tiles, and it takes some strategy to uncover the cards so you can use them. And they’re arranged differently in every level. There’s a tic-tac-toe board on the top screen for earning bonus points when you match suits, too. It’s the only card game on here that I really enjoyed all the way through and got all the trophies for the first time I played it.
Another solitaire game where cards are arranged in a plus sign and you must draw a card to match three of a kind in a row, by suits or numbers. Didn’t really pique my interest much.
The best way to describe this one is it’s like a touch screen version of Qix. It’s a pretty slick idea, too. Sparks bounce along a square playfield, and you have to trap them in little boxes. Move around with the stylus, and when you release it, you’ll make two lines perpendicular to the sides of the big square you’re closest to, making a smaller rectangle or square. If any bouncing sparks are in the square you made, they disappear. Watch out, though. It takes a short while for the box to form, and if the sparks touch your lines, you don’t make the square and lose a life. Bigger sparks and chasing bolts in later levels keep you on your toes.
I didn’t quite get this one. You have a hand of dominoes and can move them up a conveyor belt, sending the dominoes on top down below to your hand. Your job is to make poker hands with the dominoes. I get poker hands with cards, but dominoes? I couldn’t quite grasp it.
It may look like the simple card-flipping game of memory matching, but this has a special twist. The cards have food ingredients on them, and you must match them up to make food. So, for instance, if you want to make a taco, match up the two tortillas, cheese, and meat cards. But not only do you have to remember where things are, you have to remember where they AREN’T as well. If you’re making a taco, you don’t want to match up the broccoli and sugar cards, or you’ll make a broccoli sugar taco, which nobody likes. You get more bonus points if you make something tasty rather than something gross. Only problem is this game is really easy. I got all the trophies the first time I played it. But it’s still really fun and one of my favorites on here.
It’s a math puzzle game where you have to move numbers to weigh down a scale correctly. And since I hate math, I didn’t like this game, either.
Slimes slither down from the top screen, and if they reach the bottom, you’ll lose health and eventually die. To stop the slimes, you have bombs that you can flick with the stylus to destroy the slimes. Flicking controls are a lot more responsive than in other games of this ilk. You can also upgrade your bombs to be more powerful, and have certain effects like freezing ice or poison pools that drain the slimes’ energy as they crawl closer.
It’s like pinball, except instead of flippers, you move around an air hockey bumper with the stylus. Unfortunately, hitting the ball this way is hard and the ball physics are crap.
This one’s a cross between Pac-Man and Irritating Stick. Move a ball through a maze with the stylus, gathering up all the dots along the way. But you have to avoid hitting the electrified walls. Hit the walls too many times and your energy depletes to zero and it’s Game Over. It’s kind of fun, but hard, and not near as good as Pac-Man.
Ever play the old PC game Scorched Earth? Well this one’s like a touch screen version of that. Use the stylus to turn knobs on the cannon to adjust its strength and trajectory, and then fire to hit the targets. You have a limited supply of bombs and power-ups that you can use to give you an edge.
Touchmaster 2 had a game called Prismatix. Aside from a slight visual change, I’m not sure how this is much of a sequel. Seems like the same game to me. On the bottom screen is a field of hexagon shaped colored blocks. They’re arranged in a similar pattern to the playfield in the Xbox LIVE puzzler Hexic. On the top screen is a row of four colored blocks, and you have to match connecting blocks with the stylus that correspond to the pattern on the top screen. And then those blocks disappear and a new row of colors appear on the top screen for you to find and match on the bottom. You can match four, three, or two colors at a time, and you must try and clear out s much of the board as possible. To me, it feels the same as the first one.
Dice King 2
This one’s a really neat take on the Bejeweled (or Zoo Keeper DS) format. My mom LOVES Zoo Keeper DS and still plays it today! Anyway, in this one you match up dice instead of diamonds or animals. Similar to Zoo Keeper where you get bonus points for matching the animal on the top screen, in Dice King 2, you have to match whatever they tell you to on the top screen. It might be two of a kind, or a full house, or a chain reaction, etc. If you succeed, a meter will rise and you’ll be closer to reaching a score-boosting bonus stage. But if you do not reach the goal in the given time, the meter goes down and if you miss too many times, it’s Game Over. I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with this one, and it gets pretty challenging when you’re trying to make a full house of dice with specific numbers! I’d better not show this game to my mom, she’ll confiscate it for herself! Ha ha!
YES! Anyone remember the classic puzzler Pipe Dream? I loved that game and rented it tons on the NES and eventually bought it on the Game Boy. You know the game; you have to make a line of pipes so that goo can travel from one end of the playfield to another. And you have to do it before the goo reaches the end of your pipeline. I don’t know why I love this game so much, but I do!
In this one, a conveyor belt on the top screen drops down square blocks of four colors. Once a block reaches the bottom, you can place it on the field anywhere you want. Once you set it, you can’t move it anymore, but you can rotate it. Try to match up colors. They won’t disappear until you get a bomb block. Set that and tap it to blow up colors next to the bomb. And that’s it, really. For some reason, this one didn’t grab my interest as much.
It’s basically Simon on the DS. You know, that hit toy from the 70’s where you had to repeat the ever-increasing pattern of lights? Recall has a twist, though, in that you also have to repeat the sequence in the right rhythm. Luckily, a guide on the top screen helps you remember all that. So at least it’s not a TOTALLY derivative clone of Simon.
Guide a small goldfish around a patch of ocean (or maybe aquarium) with the stylus. You can pick up bubbles with letters in them and bring them back to the underwater castle in the middle of the stage. Try to bring back letters to spell the word on the top screen. Spell enough of these words to make it to the next round. Avoid other sea creatures or it’s Game Over. If you have bubbles with you, you can take one hit, but your bubbles will pop. You’re vulnerable if you don’t have any bubbles trailing you (you can carry up to five). This game is a little tedious and repetitive since all you do is go back and forth, back and forth.
This one’s kind of a combination crossword and word find that you make yourself. A handful of words that you must spell are on the top screen, and a playfield with letters are at the bottom. You can switch two letters wherever you want them to go, and when you spell all the words, hit the check button. You get bonus points for using golden letters or using the same letter in more than one word (like Scrabble). It gets harder in later levels when the words are longer and you HAVE to combine and share letters for more than one word!
And those are all the games! Like most collections of this ilk, some games are really fun and some are not. While many would consider me a ‘hardcore’ gamer, I still like to play casual games like this and I think casual games have an important place in the market. I’m definitely taking Touchmaster 3 with me on my vacation to visit family in Alabama soon (please pray that I have a safe trip there and back).
In the comments section, let me know what your favorite Touchmaster games are, if you’ve played any. And also, let me know what you’re planning on doing for St. Patrick’s Day! My favorite color is green, so I like this holiday! That’s all for now. Until next time, later! –Cary