• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatCommodore Plus/4
DeveloperSkoro Design
ReviewFrank and Jason

Main review

Rather bizarrely I always remember that my Nan had a Commodore 16 tucked away in her bedroom drawer which she used to love playing Vegas Jackpot on, but she’d never allow me to dig the machine out and have a go at the likes of Spectipede and other various titles she had for it. At the time I had recently acquired my VIC 20, and there was this lovely black machine with grey keys that I wasn’t allowed to play. It wasn’t until many years later I discovered this rather underrated little machine (and its more powerful cousin the Plus/4). The delights of C16 Big Mac and Tutti Frutti are still yet to be enjoyed by C64 users…

Trans Logic 2 is a brand new release for the machine and developed by a fairly prolific developer on the platform – Skoro of The Assassins. The original Translogic was first released on the C64 just over fifteen years ago, and was later ported across to the 264 series and this sequel is unique to the machine, no C64 version has been created as of yet and indeed may not be. The game has been written specifically so that it can run on an unexpanded 16K machine, which opens up the title to more users who prefer playing on the real thing and don’t have a Plus/4 or RAM expansion.

The aim of the game is quite straight forward really. You have two panels; on the right is a pattern of coloured tiles and on the left screen you have second group of tiles which you must reorganise to replicate the view on the right. To do so, you move your cursor onto a particular square and then either move the entire column up or down, or move the entire row left or right – you cannot move individual tiles, which is where the challenge of the game comes into great effect and later the frustration! Quite simply it is like a rather large flat Rubik’s Cube that you have to shuffle around.


Things start off quite smoothly, and is the case of just moving one or two rows or columns to complete the level… but rather soon you’ll start getting some quite daunting patterns that you have to match, and its then when the panic begins to set in and the mind really needs to get working (what with the added time limit!). The only slight problem is that some casual gamers might find it a little too taxing too quickly, but my suggestion is to keep plugging away and the hardest situation is actually quite obvious to complete when you come back to it after a breather.

Graphically, the game improves vastly on the original title and features a lot more colour and shading too – because of the similarities with the C64, the graphics are similar to what it can achieve, though with more variation in the colours. There’s no flashy animation or effects, but overall it’s all shiny and functional. Presentation is simple for what is a tiny game, featuring high score table and some details about the game itself. If running the game on a standard machine, things might seem a little too on the quiet side – and the reason for this is that you need a SID card to be able to enjoy the game’s good music – it’s a bit of a shame that there isn’t a TED fall-back, or some sound effects to compensate, but at least when using any of the popular 264 emulators you can turn on SID sound.

Overall with Trans Logic 2 you are getting a good solid, simple and addictive puzzler which will tease and frustrate you. You’re not getting bags of variety or a game which might keep you hooked for weeks and weeks, but if like me you like your puzzlers and challenging ones at that, Trans Logic 2 will provide hours of taxing entertainment for the princely sum of zero pence – bargain!

Second opinion

Trans Logic 2 is pretty much the archetypal indie puzzle game, bearing all the hallmarks of the glut of titles released after the various 8-bit machines. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad game as such, but it is one of a pretty large crowd. The premise is nice and simple, the player shuffles rows and columns of coloured tiles around until they can replicate the pattern within the other window.

The graphics themselves are nicely done and there is a decent splash of colour in both the tiles and surrounds; movement of the tiles when they’re being shuffled is a little less than smooth but I can see a few technical reasons as to why they’d do that. Sonically I wasn’t entirely keen on the cover of “Crocket’s Theme” (and there have certainly been more interesting renditions produced for the SID in the past) and, considering the game itself has been wedged neatly into a 16K machine it’s a little bemusing to think that someone who owns an unexpanded C16 wouldn’t have boosted the RAM before adding a SID card…

To be honest, I did feel that the difficulty curve was far too steep on this one; the first couple of levels are laughably simple and ease the player into moving tiles around to make patterns nicely enough, but from that point onwards it becomes significantly more difficult and by the fifth level most players will be parking the game in pause mode to spend a few minutes staring at the tiles, wondering how on Earth they got into that pattern and if that’s pattern baldness or they really have torn clumps of their hair out! I’m assuming this is because it’s meant to continue where the original Trans Logic left off and that’s a bit of a shame because it means that a significant number of players coming to the game without having played its predecessor will be stumped pretty quickly.

Trans Logic 2 is pretty generous though, issuing six lives at the start of play with each coming equipped with 200 “units” on the clock that, because it ticks down more than once a second, equate to just over a minute. Running out of time sees one of those lives lost but doesn’t result in the level resetting; similarly, once a level has been reached it can then be selected as a starting point from the title page. The one reason this game is hard to recommend without reservations is the sheer difficulty after the introductory levels may well be off-putting to a lot of players and it really does need a bit of time and indeed effort to bludgeon your way past even the earlier levels (strangely, the fourth level is easier to complete than the third) but there is quite a bit there to keep more persistent players busy for a while.