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“The Turing Test” Review (PS4 Pro)

Man and machine – a fine line.

Games can aim to do a lot of things. Pushing the fun factor with lots of guns and explosions, wracking your brain with heavy puzzling or having you sit down and tell you a well-thought-out story. The Turing Test does a great job of combining many influences into a single game, which shows through its inventive puzzle mechanics, interesting story, excellent voice acting and undeniable visuals.

Waking up with a mission

You are Ava Turing, an International Space Station engineer aboard a ship orbiting Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons), who is awoken from her cryo-sleep by an AI entity named T.O.M. . Managing hers and her team’s project on the planet, T.O.M. warns Ava that her colleagues are in danger and she must go down to land and save them.
Upon entering their base in Europa, Ava comes across a different architectural configuration than that of previous records and must use her energy gun to distribute power across the base in order to advance and find the rest of the crew. Trying to stop her are intricate puzzles which vary in difficulty and provide a lot of different scenarios throughout the game.

Dropping in to a world of logic

You’ll go about Ava’s mission by operating doors, bridges, lifts, conveyor belts and more. The main character is armed only with her energy gun, which solely fires the small electrical balls you’ll use to solve puzzles.

There are 70 puzzles you must solve in order to finish the game and even a few optional, especially tricky rooms hidden throughout. Excellent level design is at play in The Turing Test, with difficulty ranging from very easy to very, very complex. The game avoids predictable difficulty too, mixing things up with varying levels of complexity between one level and the next.

Excellent level design is at play in The Turing Test

The introduction of new gameplay mechanics throughout the different chapters also keeps things fresh and interesting, adding more variables to the already brain-heating scenarios. It was refreshing to feel like there were different ways to solve the game’s puzzles, as I even managed to get past a few of them in ways I highly doubt were expected of me. In any case, The Turing Test’s dedication to puzzle-platforming with barely no FPS elements present mean it’s directed at logic – and not action – enthusiasts.

Puzzle difficulty is not linear

The game’s story proved one of its greater highlights too, catching me by surprise with a few key plot twists, an interesting and mysterious thread and stellar voice acting, particularly from T.O.M.’s performing artist. A particular change of perspective in the final few chapters also merged story and gameplay twists to great effect, establishing the foundation for a strong finale.

I couldn’t help but feel the weight of a few different influences on how The Turing Test looks, plays and feels, as well as some aspects of its story. During my time with the game I was reminded of the 1979 Alien movie, the Bioshock series, SOMA, Portal and a few other works. This is no bad thing either, as I still found The Turing Test to be an original composition which may or may not have had these other creations in its sights during development.

I couldn’t help but feel the weight of a few different influences on how The Turing Test looks, plays and feels (…)

If this isn’t straight out of “Alien”, I don’t know what is

Developer Bulkhead Interactive should also be applauded for their work with the game’s presentation. The Turing Test is undoubtedly one of the best-looking games my PS4 Pro has run to date, even if set pieces don’t vary much after the first few hours.

The beginning ship’s futuristic design lets you take a few welcome peaks into space and is full of small environmental details. The brief time I spent in Europa’s snowy outdoor environment had me jaw-dropped with how naturally beautiful and vast it appears, while the base’s extremely white interior decoration provides a deeply sterile and mechanical design to everything, contrasting beautifully with the snaking electrical tubes and neon lamps placed throughout the rooms and corridors.

The Turing Test is undoubtedly one of the best-looking games my PS4 Pro has run to date

Lighting effects, reflections and attention to detail are all top-notch and have assured The Turing Test a special place within my PS4’s screenshot gallery.

Distributing power orbs is the main gameplay mechanic here

Sound design in The Turing Test can’t be flawed either. The soundtrack is understated but eerily beautiful and sentimental, changing its tone when appropriate. Environmental sound effects are very clean and distinct, even helping you figure out if something which you’re not looking at worked. Finally, some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in games is conveyed through T.O.M.’s excellent performance, coming across as a simultaneously gentile, friendly and absolutely terrifying artificial personality.

(…) some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in games is conveyed through T.O.M.’s excellent performance

The main character also holds her own quite well and their dialogues throughout the developing narrative always proved believable and contributed greatly to the game’s atmosphere.

There is a lot of environmental storytelling to be found

 

Verdict

The Turing Test easily became one of my favourite PS4 titles to date. It looks amazing, throws a healthy dose of challenging puzzles your way and still finds enough reasons to make you wonder where its story is going to go with each new chapter. The understated soundtrack seems to weave in and out of the beautifully crafted environments, while the main characters’ questionable personalities come across impeccably due to the excellent voice acting.

If you’re not afraid to try something new, slow-paced and would like to lose yourself in a beautiful game full of complex puzzles and an interesting narrative, The Turing Test is as easy a recommendation as I can think of.

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