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TouchTone- Confirmation That the NSA Does Not Tap the App Store

In a valiant attempt to introduce the concept of tongue-in-cheek humor/political commentary to the unsuspecting population of mobile app connoisseurs, Mikengreg- the masterminds behind this whole operation- bring you TouchTone. The game is a puzzle game at its core, but most of the commentary of the game focuses on its dialogue.

The game costs $2.99 and is completely ad and microtransaction-free.

The gameplay is focused on the basic physics of reflection. You play a new employee for our nation's most despised privacy infiltration department and it is your job to intercept intel as it flows freely through the cosmos by reflecting the beams of pure information from the source to a specified endpoint using various configurations of reflective equipment. The game feature a 20 minute (or so, depending on how awesome you are at reflection puzzles) tutorial section followed by the actual game of racial profiling and problem solving. The game is relatively short and can be finished top to bottom in a few hours.

The game is animated in a straight-from-the-90s color scheme of black and neon while a distinctly insidious tune plays in the background. Aesthetically, there is not a lot going on here. The graphics are functional and basic- simple enough to run smoothly on older technology,and more visually shocking than anything.

While I found TouchTone to be an interestingly flagrant social commentary with an entertaining game attached, the two seemed disjointed to me. The puzzles themselves didn't need a reason for existing; they were a much needed change of pace from the App Store puzzle game status quo as is. But my real problem is that the game could have been hands-down awesome.

I would demand a do-over on this one. Make a choose your own NSA adventure. Let players make choices about whether or not to pursue certain suspects over others and survive the consequences. Or just make a puzzle game. The tutorial promises an entirely different game than we actually got. The tutorial lets players make decisions and although they are chastised for wrong answers, you get a good feel for what to start listening for- i.e. the entire purpose of a tutorial. After the game starts, players immediately are informed that all information is relevant and their opinion doesn't matter, thus negating a big chunk of the tutorial all together.

Overall, the game gets 4 stars from me. First of all, because it managed to make internet comment sections explode in ridiculous fury over a joke that the masses didn't understand and secondly, because I enjoyed it. I took away a half of a star for being about a dollar too pricey for what it was and another half of a star for trying to hard to be something it wasn't.
4.0 / 5.0
review by CheerfulStar (Mallary) | Mar 28th 2015

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