Game Picks: TouchMaster Connect

January 27, 2011

Game Picks – January 14, 2001
Raleigh News & Observer
Glenn McDonald

TouchMaster: Connect

Parents with children currently in possession of the handheld Nintendo DS gaming system may be familiar with this dilemma: Sitting in an airport, or standing in a long line, kids are at a distinct advantage. With that little handheld, they can while away hours on end without looking up. I suppose, for adults, that’s what Blackberries, iPhones and Droids are for. But frankly, I’m not ready to be that connected yet.

Touchmaster Connect

More my pace is “TouchMaster: Connect” (DS, $19.99, Rated E), a collection of 20 mini-games for the DS designed to appeal to the aging old-school gamer out there. “TouchMaster” spans the typical array of mini-game genres – card games, a few strategy and action titles, some trivia – and packages it all together with on-screen tutorials and easy-to-learn control schemes.

I dug into this collection quite a bit over the holidays, returning to play probably a dozen of the games more than once. I’m clinically addicted to four or five of them, too, and that’s a pretty decent batting average for a mini-game collection. Most successful are the variations on Bejeweled and Tetris style puzzlers, and the sole included trivia game has a surprising level of depth. One thing I’d have liked to see included – a decent Mahjong game. I can kill days with a decent Mahjong game.

As you might expect, “TouchMaster” has some new social networking options that integrate with Twitter and Facebook on the Internet-enabled DSi handheld. Also: online leaderboards and local wireless multiplayer on selected games.

I suspect I’ll go the rest of my life without feeling the urge to post my Solitaire high scores online. But then again, who knows? The times, they are a changing.

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