A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This game promotes the idea of friendly competition. Note, though, that some of the card games involve the creation of poker hands. There is no gambling, but players will learn about poker hands and their ranking.
Positive Role Models
There are no characters in the game. The player is simply a competitor in both single-player and multiplayer games of skill and chance.
Ease of Play
All of the games use the touch screen as the sole means of interface, and most are pretty simple. However, the text instructions that precede the more challenging activities -- especially the card and strategy games -- can be lengthy and difficult to absorb prior to beginning play. Expect to quit out of the game to reread the rules them a couple of times.
Violence & Scariness
In one game, players control a fish that can be hurt and will eventually go belly up if it touches other sea creatures. There is also a game in which players lob bombs to destroy slugs. They make wet sounds and disappear when hit.
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One of the word games allows players to arrange letters in grids however they like, which means kids could potentially make some offensive words (though they wouldn’t be recognized as part of the game)
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that TouchMaster 3 is collection of simple games that are fairly safe for all ages, though the card games do teach the rudiments of poker (without gambling). Some kids could be put off by the challenge level of some of the card and strategy activities, but the majority of games are suitable for children ages 8 and up.
Is It Any Good?
The games on offer in this year’s TouchMaster are a mixed bag, though the keepers manage to outnumber the duds. Our favourite was Nine Hole, a golf-themed card game in which cards are laid out solitaire-style and players try to peel them off the table one at a time by selecting cards one number lower or higher than the most recent card played from the deck. We also enjoyed Prismatix 2, a game that has players trying to tap out specific combinations of colors in a honeycomb of hexagons with varying hues, and Block Dropper, a vaguely Lumines-ish game that involves matching colored blocks on a horizontal playing field and then blowing up like-colored areas with a bomb.
None of the games are compelling enough to be sold on their own, and some are downright flops -- such as Sea Word, which has players controlling a fish with an aim to collect letter bubbles to spell words. Still, most players should be able to eke out enough fun from several of them to make TouchMaster 3 worth their while.
Online interaction: The game supports local wireless play.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.