Tuesday, February 15, 2022


Argh, I keep saying Toggle!

Decades after being told the Atari ST had died, here is yet another brand new game thanks to Côté Gamers. It's a puzzler by demo crews Dune (José Martins) and Sector One (François Galea & Denis Huguet). Each screen has a 5x5 board of large square tiles and the challenge is to flip these in order to display the correct pattern.

This is done by group selecting a particular number of tiles and flipping them over until you obtain the desired pattern correctly shown opposite. You are able to select these tiles in either a vertical or horizontal line and not diagonal. I know, I know, this all sounds like a really superficial idea and one that is probably very easy too?

Well, wait a minute because you're only allowed x number of moves (indicated on the right) and that means staring at the screen - before making a stupid mistake - as each action must always be correct. Yes, Toogle is very demanding but it would be boring if it were easy. Are you ready to be tortured and entertained in equal measure?

Level 6 is actually one of the easier boards to fix. It's almost like the game is spelling out a word ;-)

Six Juicy Tips

1) Take a gander at the instructions in the title menu for initial guidance.
2) Toogle is very simple, but that doesn't mean you should go rushing in like an idiot.
3) Stop. Look at the screen for what feels like an eternity and think.
4) Mull over each move that you might be thinking about - how will that affect the next move?
5) Take care to note how many moves are you're allowed. A cruel but necessary limitation.
6) Basically, you're dead unless you can think like a Vulcan. Or reboot the ST!

I was proud of myself for finally completing this one. Only took about 25 attempts!


Graphics are by Mic of Dune so everything looks very cheerful with colourful, bold visuals. I don't know of many games that have a scroller and jazzy background whizzing about the screen - is this a demo or a game? Either way, Toogle looks downright superb and crammed with 16-bit sex appeal without any distraction.

Music has been composed by Mathieu Stempell, aka DMA-SC, and he's given us two outstanding chiptunes which are both absolutely chiptastic!! You can listen to either tune, at any time, by pressing the F1/F2 keys. Never ever press F3. Yep, killer tunes once again and my only gripe is wanting more from this incredible musician.

I got so close to beating this screen. I'll smash it next time!!

The CryptO'pinion?

I'm often sceptical of puzzle games that require so much time and effort from the player because I'm the kinda guy who gets bored very easily! However, Toogle is actually as sweet as it is sour with an elegant design hiding its devious soul. Level 3 had me stumped for a lot longer than I care to admit but I breezed through the next - only to be stumped on the fifth for even longer. Oh, the agony of that screen is almost too unbearable.

If you're reading this and wondering why I would purchase something so sinister. Think again. Toogle is unique in many respects and a tough brainteaser that also entertains by design. I love its style so, if puzzlers are your thang, then I highly advise you to head over to Côté Gamers website and grab yourself a boxed copy.

Sigh, I doubt that I'll beat all the puzzles or reach level 99? Hang on, there's an envelope inside the box...

The box is nice and I love the colours plus today I finally learned what 'jeu' means... doh!
Hmm, I wonder what sadistic reason Côté Gamers had for sealing this envelope? ;-)
Guys, this is the one time you really must read the flipping manual!!
The disk design is superb but "a 3D printed stress reliever". What's one of those? heh

Friday, February 04, 2022

Guess what I've been playing?

Oh yeah, Manic Miner!

Yep, I've had a bundle of oldskool fun with the Atari ST remake of the classic platformer by Matthew Smith, Bug-Byte. I've been playing this since I was 12 and figured I should share a few pics from today's escapade. Do you remember when this was released a few years ago by Peter Jørgensen? Sadly, he's struggling with his health so didn't finish it but it's incredibly close to completion and as enjoyable as the 1983 original.

So, I booted up my Atari ST, cranked up the volume, and loaded Manic Miner (the tunes are thumpingly superb btw). I captured a few photos using my iPhone so don't expect any professional clarity because each was taken one-handed because I had forgotten which key paused the game. Darn it, why do I feel so stupid? Check 'em out...

During the title intro, press 1, 2, 3 to change the music.
Also, pressing R will display a CPU usage raster for the geeks.
In-game, use the cursor keys to walk and he jumps when slapping the spacebar.
Kill Willy anytime by hitting the K key.
Don't make the same stupid mistake as me, hit P to pause.
The crazy fools who don't like the thumping tune can hit M to mute.

Without cheating, I can usually reach level 14 - Skylab Landing Bay. However, I've never beaten that terrible level on either the ZX Spectrum or Atari ST as it's a killer and blows my mind. Today, I only reached level 12 - Return of the Alien Kong Beast. Well, I am getting older and slower... ahem... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!

Anyhow, this has been a cracking day and I've enjoyed playing Manic Miner which is a great remake with authentic design and mechanics. That means you can experience each screen without feeling it's changed in some odd way: movement and timings are replicated superbly. Easily one of the best Atari ST games in recent years.

Waste no more time, Manic Miner requires 1MB RAM and is downloadable from over on AtariMania.

Personally, I find the first level to be one of the hardest in the game. Weird, right?
I love Peter's humour with the extra graffiti. Plus who can argue about the Amiga Poo bit?
I can remember the very first time I saw this amazing screen. Check out those ghosts!
The slutch might be the wrong colour but everything here plays exactly as it should.
Oh, those wacky Amoebatrons aren't anything to worry about but watch out for them later on!
I've no idea why, but The Endorian Forest is possibly my favourite of all the levels. Love it!!
An irritating level that's actually very easy to complete. Why did I lose a life then? Grr!!
Classic kong level I've done a million times. But today it ended my run. Sigh...
Rather than replicate the original, our Squisher is far more sinister. Love that hairy leg!
Can you beat my high score? Come and take me on, if you're hard enough!!