Is it possible uncover the hidden mysteries of Jupiter's moon Europa, and not feel like a dumb-ass while doing it? This is my The Turing Test review.
The Turing Test is a first person puzzler that explores the phenomena of consciousness, and challenges the meaning of human intuition. The game is developed by British video game developer Bulkhead Interactive.
I kind of suck at puzzle games, and feel like an idiot every time I have to duckduck the solution, just to realize it was so simple. But when The Turing Test appeared on sale on Steam for NOK 28 (about $3) a while back, I decided to get it anyway.
The previous first person puzzler I finished was Valve’s 2011 title Portal 2. I thoroughly enjoyed that game, but not so much because of the puzzles. They aren’t bad, but the strength of Portal 2, at least in my view, is the captivating story unfolding as you work your way through the puzzles. How can one not be scarred for life by GLaDOS and all the broken promises of cake?
AVA and T.O.M.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that Bulkhead Interactive found a lot of inspiration in Valve’s Portal games. The player wakes up as the protagonist, Ava Turing, on a space station orbiting Jupiter’s moon Europa. Ava’s first interaction is with an artificial intelligence, T.O.M., who follows her through the game. The backstory and Ava’s role and purpose in it is not clear from the beginning, and finding out is the player’s reward for solving the puzzles.
As Ava solves the puzzles in The Turing Test, small bits of the answers to the questions what, who, and why are revealed. As she gets deeper inside the Europa station, it becomes obvious that something isn’t quite as it should be. It’s not Portal-level brain-fuckery, but The Turing Test‘s story turns out to be quite intriguing.
Apart from the puzzles themselves, interaction with the environment is very limited. You’ll find notes and sound recordings that explain more about what is really going on on Europa. But apart from the artifacts used in the puzzles directly, you will not stumble across any useful items anywhere.
Like in the Portal games, the main puzzle solving device is a futuristic gun. It’s not another portal gun, but instead the gun is used to move energy orbs with different capabilities. As the puzzles get more advanced, other artifacts will be necessary to use to solve them - but the number of items never gets daunting.
The puzzle design in The Turing Test is right on the money. The learning curve feels perfectly steep, and I never got stuck, which is a first for me. The puzzles get more complex, but they don’t get any harder, if that makes sense. When I’d solved a puzzle, I felt like I’d done a good job, without being shepherded through to the solution. So, for once, I didn’t feel like an idiot when playing a puzzler.
Your takeaway from the previous paragraph should be that if you’ve never had any troubles in previous puzzle games you’ve played, The Turing Test will probably be too easy for you.
But if you’re looking for a first person puzzler that doesn’t call you an idiot to your face, The Turing Test is a great choice. At the time of writing, it’s still on sale on Steam.