A compilation of 23 mini-games, TouchMaster features something for everyone, with the games divided into the categories of card, puzzle, and skill.
For children as young as 5, there's checkers set in a pond with frogs leaping from one lily pad to another. Kids can play against the artificial opponent or a family member by taking turns on the DS. Young children will also enjoy the word-search game and a basketball-hoops game. Another kid-friendly option is to play the trivia game where the category can be set on a kid's mode. TouchMaster also has two matching games: one uses mah jongg tiles, and the other uses numbered pool balls.
For older children, teens, and adults, TouchMaster offers a wide range of challenging games. There are nine card games, ranging from traditional solitaire to a version of blackjack and lots of others you may not have seen before. While the rules were not always clear at first, players were able to figure out the games by simply playing a few rounds.
Under the skill category, players will find two versions of Yahtzee, and a cool turn-based game about dominating a board, which has similar game-flipping elements as are found in the board game Othello.
Where this compilation really shines is with its puzzle games. Mahki is a colored-tile game where the objective is to remove as many identical touching tiles as possible in a limited amount of time. Having played it while waiting 30 minutes for lost luggage to arrive, I can attest to its ability to distract. Crystal Balls is also quite good, with the objective of aligning the numbers (1 through 4) or colors of 60 balls in a linear direction. Another intellectually interesting game is Gem Slide, a variation of the match-three-colored-gems casual game genre. And fans of Wheel of Fortune will enjoy this game's variation called Wordz.
While this compilation of games has a lot to offer to families, it isn't perfect. Many of the directions for the games are not clear. Some of the card games are hard to play because the graphics are so tiny. Likewise, it is tough to tell 3-D depth when using the mah jongg tiles, making it difficult to discern which tiles are on top and available to match. And the games don't allow kids to turn off the timer, a feature most kids would welcome because they don't need the pressure of time running out to enjoy playing a game.
TouchMaster has several games where two players can play by passing around one DS. Midway Games also hosts tournament play online with a Nintendo DS wireless Internet connection. But, to play two-person games using two DS systems, the second player must also own TouchMaster. It would have been better to offer this option as a free download using only one game cartridge.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.