When Midway released their Touchmaster game last year it was one of the first to capitalize on the idea that casual games can be both profitable and entertaining. Taking the idea of cramming 20+ coin-operated games (like the ones you might find in a bar) and implementing the touch screen much like their real-life counterparts was a brilliant idea and one that worked surprisingly well. It should be no surprise that a sequel has arrived and is just as addictive as the previous entry. The developers have cleaned up a lot of what was wrong with the original and truly crafted the game into something just about anyone can get into.
With the sequel Midway has done a few things to fix the formula and have done away with most of what held the original back. The biggest omission is a lack of WiFi connectivity, which was present in the first game. One of the cooler features in the first game was comparing high scores against the community, but now beating your friends locally will have to be sufficient. This is made easier by the fact that you can now transfer a majority of the games wirelessly via game sharing. This is a cool addition to the feature list but the ability to compete wirelessly would have been more appreciated.
The collection of games this time around is much more varied than the original. Midway has taken the time to inject some of their popular franchises into the simple pub-style games for a more personal approach. The variety of the games is also much more diverse straying from the typical tapping mini games. TouchMaster 2 brings twenty new titles that range from Bejeweled spin-offs to word puzzles and even some reflex-based titles. It is also worth noting that the entire game is controlled via the touch screen, which doesn’t always work in most games but TouchMaster 2 manages to pull it off flawlessly creating a cohesive experience.
Taking a cue from the consoles TouchMaster 2 also implements a rewards system for each game that is not unlike Microsoft’s Achievement Points. Each game has a set of challenges that will reward you a trophy that you can then place in your trophy room and you would be surprised how addictive obtaining these can become. I found myself returning to games that I initially didn’t have nearly as much fun with as some of the others just to earn these pointless rewards. This adds some nice replayability to the game if you are as easily addicted to pointless rewards as I am.
As far as presentation goes TouchMaster 2 isn’t that different than the original with a few exceptions. All of the games sport a primary color palette and the addition of some familiar Midway faces does add charm. The menu system has been given an overhaul from the first game and is much easier to navigate this time around. The sounds are about as generic as you could imagine with tracks that will do nothing more than remind you that you are, in fact playing a game and you should be paying attention. Overall the game delivers about what you would expect from a compilation of smaller titles.
TouchMaster 2 is a solid follow-up to last year’s surprisingly addictive DS title. Everything you loved about the first one is intact outside of online leader boards and the collection of games this time around is much more diverse providing a more entertaining experience all around. If you even remotely enjoyed the original this is a worthy successor that will provide plenty of enjoyment.