The Turing Test, developed by Bulkhead Interactive and published by Square Enix Collective, is a first-person science fiction game that attempts to push players' way of problem solving via a number of puzzles and obstacles throughout. In similar fashion to games such as Talos and Pneuma: Breath of Life, players will experience a narrated adventure with subtle lessons about life, human morality, and a conspiracy that unravels itself the further you progress. It was originally released for Steam and Xbox One in 2016, but has now made its way to the PlayStation 4.
The story begins as the main character, Ava Turing, wakes up from the (not so rarely used plot idea) of "cryogenic sleep," inside a space ship circling around one of Jupiter's moons known as Europa. She is an engineer working for the International Space Agency, but as the story begins to unfold, she needs to become much more. Awoken from her slumber by an artificial intelligence known as T.O.M., Ava is told that she must save her crew members who are in danger within the research station located in the surface of Europa. If you're wondering where exactly the puzzles come in, it's soon after Ava realizes the software at the station has been reconfigured, essentially locking her out of every room. The only way to near your crew members is by successfully completing a series of puzzles in order to pass the test… the Turing Test.
All of the concepts within the game are incredibly easy to follow, and within a level or two of getting a handle on the controls, you'll be sprinting your way through small stretches. Each room (or puzzle area) will be accessed from a hallway, but in order to enter the next area, the exit door for the prior needs to be powered. The whole aim is to move energy sources around in order to do this, or just to move around the area in your pursuit of solutions. You're given a gun-like device that will function as a power tool, allowing you to extract energy balls from one of the squares, and then shoot them into another (transferring the power).
The other way power is used is by cubes that plug in to the same specific points. These too can be removed, moved, and added at will. As in any puzzle or strategy game (or really any game), the challenge bumps itself up the longer you play and progress, and this title is no different. Soon you'll be having to incorporate the use of levers, heavy machinery, and more into your puzzle solving. The puzzles, while stay the same in nature, always find enough diversity in style to avoid feeling like a chore to play.
Sound and Graphics
The game's overall presentation is incredible yet simple. If you were to look at just screenshots of the game, you'd probably get the impression that the environments are a tad bit too bland. Playing it however left me with the opposite feeling; from the beginning, as the protagonist woke up in the ship and I started to traverse the halls with her, I felt taken back by how realistic it all felt. Similar to running through the freighters in No Man's Sky, it's very clean and official looking. Even as you blast your way down to the surface and cross the tundra ground, you'll feel immersed into it all.
Maybe I'm just being a nerd about it, but either way the environments are a major plus. The only complaint I have regarding the graphics is when you look at any light source; everything else becomes super dark. The idea is somewhat realistic, but definitely not as dramatic as the game displays. Also noteworthy is that there are a lot of sense flares that pop up on the screen. The narrator, T.O.M., is voice acted extremely well; a very clean and realistic artificial intelligence voice. The conversations him and Ava have throughout the game are extremely peaceful and thought provoking, and make the game have all of it's atmosphere.
The Turing Test is a fantastic casual game with a lot of character. It fits a very specific style and genre though, and may understandably be hard for some to find fun if they don't already have a kind of preference or admiration for them. A single play through will take roughly 4-5 hours to complete, and replay value depends mostly on personal preference, long term memory, and the time in-between plays. There's little in terms of negativity; only some small graphical aspects (in an otherwise beautiful yet simple environment), and a story that you have to receive in portions. If it sounds like your style and/or genre, then it's a must play, sooner or later.
+ Numerous thought provoking puzzles
– Light sources cause weird effects when too close
+ Beautiful yet simple environments
– Story telling is too spaced out (depends on player)
+ Good storytelling, even if spaced out
|+ Great voice acting and narration|