The Turing TestAugust 30, 2016
It’s not Portal. I’m prefacing this entire review with that fact, because I know the conclusion others will jump to, just as I did. What, you’re wandering around a large, linear facility, decorated entirely with white walls, solving puzzles with a gun? Sounds like Portal. It’s not Portal. Indeed, The Turing Test may take inspiration from one of the most legendary first-person-puzzlers of all time, but the logical leaps your brain must take to progress are entirely different from “Thinking with Portals.”
You play as Eva, a scientist tasked with meeting up the rest of her crew who have gone somewhat awry since her deep sleep stated. T.O.M., whom I shall refer to as “TOM” to save my periods, is an AI guiding you around the complex, leading you gently towards the game’s conclusion. Early on you’re given some overt foreshadowing basically telling you “That AI ain’t right.” Luckily the obviousness of TOM’s intent is not the giant twist here, like it is in Portal. No, but The Turing Test does have an eye-opening realization, one that’ll have most players harmonized in a sigh of realization.
It’s a shame, then, that The Turing Test’s narrative is a bit simple and in-your-face. It’s not bad, but it sort of feels like all of the narrative twists and turns undertaken have been done before – and that’s a feeling that becomes common with the game’s other attributes. As I said, numerous white-walled puzzle chambers will make the game feel all too familiar, and each discovery feels like déja vu, almost like you could trace it back to another game from the last generation of gaming.
But despite the obvious inspirations, The Turing Test is its own game, most definitely, and a very enjoyable one at that.
The chambers TOM leads you through are literally testing chambers, each one a “Turing Test” which ensures a computer AI would be unable to solve it. The reality of that is quite questionable, honestly, as many of the tests feel quite straightforward – but there are some, the side-chambers in particular, which are truly mind-melting puzzles, some which make you factor the level’s layout into the equation, when your brain might look only at the tools you’ve been given instead…
But what has to be praised about The Turing Test is that it ties narrative and the player’s actions together perfectly. You could run through the game, ignoring most audio logs and the interactions between Eva and TOM, but then you’d be missing out on a huge chunk of the game. When the plot dictates that something has happened, something that changes the tone of the game, the gameplay changes. Literally introduces new mechanics, fairly late into the game, which tie the player’s actions and the plot of the game together in a wonderful way. What, initially, feels like a fairly standard puzzle adventure, ends up being a very tight-knit experience with no real downfalls.
Although it wears it’s inspiration on its sleeve, The Turing Test manages things that make it a breath of fresh air. Very little of the game will wow you, but the accomplished grin you will have on your face after tackling a tricky puzzle can’t be argued with. The Turing Test isn’t likely to be anyone’s game of the year, but with a tense atmosphere, tight levels and an even tighter story, there’s a lot to love about The Turing Test.
PC version tested. Review code provided by the publisher.
At first I was rolling my eyes at a blatant rip off of other fantastic games, but by the end I realized this is a great game in its own right.
- Interesting plot
- Some brilliant puzzles
- The story feels like a "Best of" selection of plot points from games of last gen