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Everything about More Touchmaster is appealing and, well, just plain more-ish. It’s like a half-finished bar of chocolate that’s open, so you might as well have another square… or two… or three. Everything about it, from the cuddly icons for user profiles to the sound effects, is designed suck you in and turn you into a serious DS junkie.
You might disregard More Touchmaster as just another entry in long line of mini-game clones but, not only has it been a big hit in our house, it’s the only game that every member of the family (including a three-year old) has played with enthusiasm.
But is this such a bad thing? The game is a very cleverly thought-out blend of fun and silly mini-games (such as bowling and racing) and educationally more challenging puzzles. Children drawn into More Touchmaster by the beautifully-satisfying thunk of the bowling ball scoring a strike will, in the same gaming session, find themselves trying to unscramble testing anagrams or solve word searches.
Any parent keen to find a way to help their younger children prepare for pre-school counting should seriously check out the shape sorting and dice games.
Especially interesting has been seeing the effect that this game has had on our youngest boy. At three and a half years old, he always draws the shortest straw and has had to content with himself looking over the shoulder of one of the older children while they play games that claim to be accessible to young children but never actually are. For the first time he has been able to immerse himself in some of the mini games and, although he can’t deal with the spelling, he is more than capable of dealing with the dice and brain games which use colour and spots. Any parent keen to find a way to help their younger children prepare for pre-school counting should seriously check out the shape sorting and dice games – they are an excellent precursor to the kinds of maths-based activities that children will being doing in reception classes.
For the first time since we’ve had a DS in our household, a game has been passed equitably among all three children, and each child has been able to play to his or her own natural level. But kids aren’t the only ones who’ll extract hours of game play from More Touchmaster: it’s super-quick start-up time and simple interface make it perfect for a sneaky after-work or pre-bedtime game for parents, too. And, while the individual mini-games obviously can’t be compared with stand-alone games of the same genre, More Touchmaster is definitely more than the sum of its individual parts.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: