|The Turing Test|
|release date||August 2016|
The Portal dilogy expanded the scope of perception of ordinary logic games, giving impetus to the development of this genre. As a result, puzzles with a first-person view have become commonplace. The Turing Test from Bulkhead Interactive is a new project in this direction with an intriguing sci-fi storyline. The release of the game will take place at the end of August, but we had the opportunity to get acquainted with it now, and we will share our impressions in this review.
It all starts at a space station near Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Artificial intelligence awakens the heroine from sleep and reports the loss of contact with the ground expedition. We need to find out what’s wrong. Therefore, without long fees, having captured only a special energy manipulator EMT, we set off for the planet.
We run through the brightly lit interiors of the space station, sit down from the landing capsule and watch the breathtaking moment of landing on an icy planet.
From the first minutes, The Turing Test captivates with its sci-fi charm and gives rise to that very intrigue when you expect to meet something unknown and mysterious. Unfortunately, the «space» part of our virtual adventure is very short. After landing, we immediately penetrate the station, hidden under a layer of surface ice. Inside, the heroine is met by a laboratory environment and test rooms assembled from blocks of the same type. And it is in this environment that almost the entire game will take place.
Moving inside the base turns out to be a non-trivial task. You need to go through a series of adjacent rooms with logical puzzles. As you solve game puzzles with the transition to the next levels, new plot aspects will be revealed, you will receive new bits of information from dialogues with computer intelligence or from electronic records.
Everything develops according to the scheme of the same Portal. Analogies also arise due to similar motives associated with the interaction of man and machine. The whole labyrinth of test rooms is a kind of Turing test. At the same time, the heroine, moving forward along it, is revealed as an object of manipulation, limited by certain limits, and not as an individual personality.
The gameplay is built around the manipulation of switches and mechanisms that are activated by different energy charges. These charges can be enclosed in closed blocks that must be dragged and inserted into special cells. Along the way, they also play the role of cargo.
In most cases, we directly interact with the charges using EMT, pulling them out of the cells and firing them into new ones. There may be several such cells in the room that activate different devices, while one or two are initially active. Operating with a limited number of charges, you gradually build the correct sequence of actions in order to gradually activate all the necessary mechanisms and get to the exit.
At the first stages, the passage is based solely on an accurate miscalculation, and the decisions themselves, upon careful study of the premises, are found quite quickly. Key locations can be identified by the cables that run to the cells. This helps you figure out what and where you can open or run. Next, you already need to look at how many cells are available and develop the necessary strategy for sequential passage from one point to another.
All puzzles are played within the framework of closed premises of a complex structure, sometimes with their own mini-maze of internal rooms, which can be located on several floors. With a careful study of the environment, the search for the main key directions for finding a solution does not cause problems, more time is spent on choosing a combination of actions.
The complexity gradually grows, more nuances appear. There are situations where the player is required already and accuracy of movements or quick reaction. For example, by launching some mechanisms, you get only a “window” where you need to quickly jump to the next point. However, there are still no dizzying jumps and races with obstacles.
Chargers of various types. In addition to the usual blue energy clots, there are pulsating or charges that give an impulse for a limited time after activation. These features are used when interacting with complex structures. For example, you need to go through several lift platforms. By inserting different charges into the cells, you launch these platforms in different modes. One charge will lift and fix the platform, another will make it move up and down, the third will activate the lift for a few seconds, and then return it to its original state.
EMT allows you to collect up to three different charges, then to shoot them into cells, but only in one strict sequence. It is impossible to shuffle and change the order of the collected charges, which also imposes its own difficulties.
At a certain stage, the game goes beyond the capabilities of a single character, and you will be able to connect to the video surveillance system or robots. This will allow you to play more combinations, where two objects will simultaneously solve problems, switching between themselves. The robot and the heroine will be able to activate those cells that are not directly visible to them, while remembering to keep each other in line of sight for switching. Sometimes the whole combination revolves around cameras or robots that will activate the necessary switches, mechanisms, and you will have to return to the heroine only to lead her along the opened route. In some places, the robot or boxes need to be pulled with the help of special magnetic lifters, which is also associated with additional actions.
It is impossible not to note the nice graphics provided by the Unreal Engine. All rooms are assembled from the same type of slabs, but thanks to different lighting, rich lighting effects and an abundance of reflective surfaces, they create a pleasant impression.
At certain moments, the game takes us to living quarters or to the area of laboratories, sparkling with sterile whiteness, which fits perfectly into the overall style and atmosphere.
System requirements are moderate. Windows 10 users will be able to use DirectX 12.
The Turing Test is a great first-person puzzle game with an engaging sci-fi feel. The plot story touches upon the issues of interaction between man and artificial intelligence, the problems of contact with a new form of life. There are motifs consonant with Portal, but the game still has its own identity and visual style. We are offered seven full-fledged game chapters, not counting the story prologue and epilogue. They are completed in a few hours, so the game is not the longest. There are larger and even deeper projects in this direction, but The Turing Test still leaves a bright pleasant impression, claiming the title of the best game of its genre in 2016.