The Turing Test (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 31.01.2020 7

Review for The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch

It is hard to believe how old Portal is now. The acclaimed first-person puzzle game came out in 2007, and its follow-up isn't too far behind, having released nine years ago. Unfortunately, Valve seems completely disinterested in putting its creative juices to use these days. Who knows whether a potential Portal 3 will ever happen? Its reluctance to even port its two puzzle gems to modern consoles is equally disappointing. That said, it allows other developers to fill a void in the market, and despite originally coming out in 2016, Bulkhead Interactive's The Turing Test is taking full advantage with this Nintendo Switch version.

Comparisons to the Valve hit will inevitably be drawn when looking at games like The Turing Test. Whether it kicked off the FPS puzzle genre or popularised it, it is hard not to think of Portal. There is a distinct lack of, well, portals in this, though, and it is clear other inspirations come in the form of another similar type of game: that of The Talos Principle. The Turing Test may not quite reach the lofty heights of either of these two puzzlers, but it certainly stands on its own two feet and deserves recognition.

It is the distant future, and mankind is well into its space travel escapades. Ava Turing wakes up from cryostasis to T.O.M - the Technical Operations Machine - telling her that her crewmates researching on Jupiter's moon Europa are in danger. Setting off immediately to land onto the nearby natural satellite, Ava is faced with sequences of puzzles in locked-down rooms, much in the vein of the aforementioned Portal. It is the player's mission to complete each one before moving onto the next, unravelling the plot as they go.

Screenshot for The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch

Puzzles encompass a variety of tests, with the core feature being the Energy Manipulation Tool - a gun used to absorb and shoot balls of power that activate objects such as doors, platforms and magnetic cranes. While blue orbs keep a constant power source going strong, different coloured orbs have time limits or activate intermittently, so there is a lot of experimenting, switching orbs around throughout each room to get doors and platforms moving at the right times, allowing Ava to progress. In addition, mobile robots that have a funny look of Nintendo's R.O.B about them can be used to further explore sectors, acting like a buddy to hold down switches and turn on special circuits that Ava does not have the ability to do herself.

For the most part, puzzle challenge progresses in a respectable fashion, with new elements introduced at a steady pace that rarely overwhelms the player. Just when things start to feel slightly on the repetitive side, the introduction of something fresh comes into play, such as the ability to control one of T.O.M's "R.O.B" units. Is it all perfectly balanced, though? Not entirely.

Screenshot for The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch

Even in the final chapters, extremely short and simple puzzles can crop up right between the more taxing and lengthy ones. These aren't even "introductory" rooms that ease the player into learning a new method, either. They just seem to be oddly placed, perhaps as a means of trying to break up the more challenging rooms - although it makes little sense when the simple ones are done so quickly, since it's right back to being in a complex test again. There are a few (almost) missable secret rooms throughout the game that offer some of the tougher challenges for good measure, although more unlockable ones for beating the game would have been a nice bonus.

Difficulty in general? Progressively harder, with mostly balanced gameplay, and something that can get the head cogs turning, but never feels impossible to achieve. A bit more variety may have gone some way to prevent things from getting a little too samey, however.

Screenshot for The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch

What keeps the desire to see The Turing Test through to the end is the brilliant plot. While the majority of storyline is told through the brief dialogue interactions between the player-controlled Ava and T.O.M, the artificial intelligence guiding her through, there are a few audio logs and text files to be found in areas preceding the next chapter, as well as after completing the bonus rooms. They shed a little more light on what has been going on beneath Europa, yet it is not just the topic of the crewmates that makes the narrative so intriguing.

The Turing Test throws up all sorts of logical questions and theories regarding AI, consciousness and morality. This is a game that, once completed, will have you strongly thinking and perhaps even discussing with others on the numerous subject matters present. This game has a short run time, but a lot to say.

Log file texts can be quite difficult to read due to their small and unclear fonts, and subtitles not only disappear before the speaker has said them, but they have quite a few grammatical errors. Unskippable credits are always a pain, too. As for this Switch port, it doesn't have a high frame rate, but it's stable, with a pleasingly colourful sci-fi visual aesthetic, despite some blurry textures creeping in.

Screenshot for The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The combination of solid tests and thought-provoking storyline makes for a must-play title for anyone that enjoys first-person puzzlers in the vein of Portal and The Talos Principle. There are some inconsistencies in terms of challenge, but for the most part, it stays sound throughout and rarely feels impossible to clear. The intriguing plot pushes players forward with each puzzle that is completed, and it will have you contemplating all sorts of topics long after finishing the game. More unlockable rooms with some further challenge would have been welcome, but The Turing Test passes on many fronts. Well worth a purchase - and launches at a great price, too.

Developer

Bulkhead Interactive

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Valve really has missed an opportunity to port their games to others consoles. Stuff like that was so unheard of or even taboo back in the day, but if a game like Skyrim can exists in Alexa, what the heck, Valve? "Everybody's doing it." 

It seems the main motivator in this game is the storyline, which is awesome. Personally, I love games that kinda throw you into the fire and leave you to fend on your own. Yet, with this game, it seems like it would have been nice to have had some sort of "this is how it works" level. I guess, kinda like Portal has the whole "Here is a big block. See big red button? Yes, put there". 

I'll have to add this game to my wishlist. Smilie

Seriously. I know it's common practice to plead for every past game in existence to be ported to Switch, but how great would portable Portal be? Maybe one day...

To be fair, The Turing Test does a good job of easing you into things and introducing new concepts in smaller rooms before steadily getting a little more complex. It's just strange to have such simple and short puzzles in between some of the lengthier and more challenging ones, even in the final chapter. But it's true that while you can enter a large room with all sorts of contraptions and think "How the heck am I gonna do this?" it doesn't take long to solve. It's just about experimenting and exploring the area. Puzzles always feel achievable, which is very nice!

im torn on giving this a chance or getting talos principle. 
i already know how amazing talos principle is and how generous it is with content. i loved how cryptic it could get too.

not entirely sold on turing test.

I've yet to finish Talos Principle, but I would still say Talos over this. There doesn't seem to be as much content or anywhere near the mysterious backstory/lore going on. Talos is something I really want to get round to completing, but I gotta be in the mood for heavy reading to fully appreciate its narrative.

Turing Test is something you should pick up eventually after you've exhausted games like Portal and Talos. It's a weaker game, but not a bad one. A welcome addition to the genre.

i 100% talos. was one of the most gratifying puzzle games i ever experienced.
been feeling the urge to do it again

There was a lot more to think about in Talos, if I remember correctly. Turing Test is easy in comparison. I feel it's a good price already, but maybe a sale would be the right moment for you to try it.

Just in case anyone wants to know Cubed3 are running a prize draw competition with Square Enix!

You can win a copy of The Turing Test by following Cubed3 on Twitter and retweeting this post - ​https://twitter.com/Cubed3/status/1227001301910925313?s=20

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