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TouchMaster 3

Score: 84%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Hijinx Studios, LLC
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1; 1 - 2 (Single/Multicard Wireless
Genre: Puzzle/ Card Games/ Board Games

Graphics & Sound:

Just as you'd probably expect from a casual game, Hijinx Studios' TouchMaster 3 takes on a basic, yet colorful approach to the visuals. Many of the games that lie within this title consist of card games, and the cards are relatively small on-screen. While the screen size and positioning is generally adequate, it should be said that the difference between the clubs and spades, when it comes to some of the face cards, is sometimes difficult to tell apart. The symbols just don't have enough pixels to be clear.

Many of the other game types are based on puzzle-style visuals, and as such, the on-screen candy tends to be super-basic, but still gets the point across using primary colors for emphasis. Other typical game styles include blocks, gems, or even the laying of pipes. The Menus also have a simple, yet appealing, presentation to them.

On the audio front, TouchMaster 3's menus and in-game music are perfect. They are very repetitive to be sure, but the repetitiveness isn't annoying in the least bit. The music is perfect for the casual mini-game style that the cartridge delivers. With that said, there really isn't a need to keep the volume on if you happen to be in a situation where quietly playing the game is a necessity. It could be said that there are also some slight audio cues when playing a few of the games that help the player to know when things are happening, yet none are ever absolutely necessary.


TouchMaster 3 comes loaded with a fair number of games, including those from the following Categories: Card, Strategy, Action, Puzzle, and Word Games. Unfortunately, the final category only includes two types of Word Games, one that is kind of cheesy where you navigate a fish and collect letters, and another that is a pseudo-crossword/scramble puzzle where you'll flip-flop tiles in order to find and fulfill the given words. The other categories contain more game types, with either four game types in the Strategy and Action Games, and five each in the Card and Puzzle Games.

As far as Card Games go, most are based on poker hands, while one is loosely based on golf. This one actually comes down to matching suites, but progressing takes place through holes to gain points. All of the Card Games require a bit of strategy, which is what makes them interesting. Of course, there is always a bit of luck involved as well, especially for the poker-style games.

The Strategy Games consist of a math-based tile-swapping game, a memory-based game where you'll have to build a chef's creations (Ratatouille-style), a Domino-based game of matching, and a game similar to Qix called Fuse Line, where you'll have to cover the play area and trap floating enemies. The math game was very fun and addictive, actually, and I made it to level 55 before I finally decided to call it quits (it wasn't a very difficult game). Fuse Line is fun as well, but I have to say that there was a lack of control as to where you want to draw the lines to block off the board. The Domino game was also enjoyable, but Chef Memory not as enjoyable, as it was simply another memory game, with the twist of having to build food items with the matching cards.

The Action Games were a mixed bag of fun. On one hand, the Slime Assault was both fun and difficult, as you flick bombs at the approaching slimes working their way down the screen. Bumperball was a terribly un-enjoyable game of pinball. Electro Maze has you guiding a ball through an electrified maze, and Cannon Fire reminded me of an old Atari 2600 game called Human Cannonball, in which you have to aim a cannon in both distance and height, while allowing for the wind, to destroy more slimes and earn extra ammo.

The Puzzle Games were some of my favorite because they take both strategy and forward-thinking. A very enjoyable game is titled Sludgeworks, which was a simple build-a-pipe game. Another great game in the series is Dice King 2, where you'll need to make certain poker hands by flip-flopping a grid of dice to make like combinations. The other three games are fun as well, rounding out the Puzzles Games as a place where most of my time was spent.

In all, of the twenty games included in TouchMaster 3, a good portion of them are quite entertaining and will have you going back for more. Some of the games get a bit boring in general, and others may not be as enjoyable after reaching level 25 (the max level for each game), but you can always go for higher scores on most of the games.


TouchMaster 3's difficulty varies hugely from game to game. There were certainly games that a child could very easily control, especially those of the two versions of Memory (turning over like cards from a face-down selection) or the navigating of a fish performing collect-the-letters of the given word. There are also games that will challenge the mind a bit, yet won't be overly difficult for younger gamers in the 7-12 age range. The math-based game and the poker games come to mind, since those will require a bit more thinking and understanding.

For more hardcore puzzle-lovers, there are also some games that require even more thinking, and more importantly, setting yourself up for future moves to be able to do well in scoring. It would have been nice to see a bit more range of difficulty in the achievements and gaining of levels, but at least one can score more points and base performance on this fact. As it is, the achievements and levels can easily be overcome, which is the one downfall of TouchMaster 3.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't include any kind of difficulty settings, which could have been an easy addition, especially for the time-based games. Had the game incorporated difficulty levels, it would be even easier to recommend TouchMaster 3 for all levels of casual gamer. As it is, however, most gamers will likely find this one all too easy.

Game Mechanics:

There's not much to talk about with TouchMaster 3 in terms of controls. The game uses the stylus, and only the stylus, to control every game. Some of the games require actions with the stylus, like the flicking of bombs or the sliding of tiles or cards, but a lot of the games require simply clicking the screen to swap tiles/cards with each other. The one game that I really didn't like was the pinball-style game that had you moving around a bumper instead of using flippers. The problem here was that it was hard to see with the pen (and your hand) in the way.

Surely, each person who decides to get into TouchMaster 3 will develop their own favorite games, but it's safe to say that a good number of the twenty games within are worth playing over and over again. For those who like to accomplish goals, this title has certain achievements associated with each mini-game. However, it should be noted that most of these achievements are fairly easy to conquer, so buying this game based solely on the achievements would be an injustice. Aside from the achievements, there are levels to master as well, with each game topping out at twenty-five. Some of the games were easy enough that I actually mastered them on the first try, but there was certainly a decent amount of time put in to accomplish this. Fortunately, most games also allow you to top your old high scores, so there is still a small amount of replay value within.

TouchMaster 3 is a great title that gets highly addictive for some of the games. It would be great to be able to tell you that TouchMaster 3 is a game that you'll continue to play for months to come, but after the novelty wears off, and after you master your favorite games, there won't be a lot to come back to. Fortunately, the game does offer up both single-cart and multi-cart multiplayer gameplay for up to two people, so going head to head can certainly add some spice back into the game.

With that said, I would highly recommend TouchMaster 3 for the casual gamer, or gamers in general who enjoy puzzle-based games with time limits (at least some of the games have them). If nothing else, go out and rent TouchMaster 3 to try before you buy.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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