Game Review: The Turing Test

Release date: 2016
Version played: Xbox Series X in 2022

Developed by Bulkhead Interactive (the merging of two studios who previously made Pneuma: Breath of Life), The Turing Test was released in 2016. A first person puzzle game, players control Ava Turing (Marie Westbrook), a human guided by T.O.M., or Technical Operations Machine (James Faulkner, Game of Thrones‘ Randyll Tarly), to solve a linear series of puzzle rooms laid out across Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. To solve the puzzles, Ava has a device that allows her to remove electrical charge from one area and replace it in another empty container to power doors, lifts, and bridges.

+ this whole game comes across as a sort of reskinned Portal in many ways. Each of the self-contained chambers are connected by an elevator or hallway, and the sterile, make-shift vibe of each room evokes the same graphical style as that game. The ‘gun’ used by Ava is aso similar to that portal gun. There are worse games to copy
+ T.O.M. is not quite GLaDOS or Wheatley, but I enjoyed his constant companionship. The banter between he (it?) and Ava was more or less realistic, and once they begin discussing things in earnest, I did find myself torn between who had the more correct outlook
+ the end game twist from Pneuma: Breath of Life was one that was hard to describe for fear of giving away the game entirely, but I can safely say that something relatively similar happens here. I was a fan of it then, and I’m a fan of it now

– I was disappointed that only the final puzzle actually used a mechanic I was waiting for. I understand that is incredibly vague, but the story sets up some things that I was expecting to come into play long before they actually did
– the immediate ending of the game is immensely unsatisfying. Not quite enough to ruin the rest of the few hours I spent getting there, but dammit, it came close

> Just from the title of the game and the name of the main character, I had a strong suspicion I could tell where the game was going to go. You may have the same thought I did, and you’ll be about half right.

Should you play this game: As far as a free (via Game Pass) puzzle game goes, this was perfectly serviceable. It clearly took a lot of inspiration from Portal, which is certainly not the worst idea in the world, and overall I enjoyed it. However, I am glad I didn’t pay $25 AUD for it.

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