Bulkhead Interactive and Square Enix’s first-person puzzle game The Turing Test is unexpectedly making its way to the Nintendo Switch next week. Over four years after its initial launch on Xbox One and PC, The Turing Test still remains a worthwhile entry to fill a subgenre void lacking any real variety of choices on Nintendo’s latest hybrid system, although a questionable price point may keep you away from embarking on this clever A.I. self-focused expedition. Nonetheless, the game still manages to shatter the Switch’s expectation of having “weaker performance in favor of portable privilege” that seems to have rightfully become the standard at this point in time.
If it is the first time you are hearing about it, without any spoilers, The Turing Test provides a gratifying narrative that derives from real-life questions proposed at an AI theory developed by World War II hero and first computer creator Alan Turing- that question being, can robots truly think? Set on Jupiter’s moon, Europa, International Space Agency engineer Ava Turing is sent to investigate the sudden disappearance of a stationed ground crew on the icy planet. Upon arrival, Ava and the station’s artificial intelligence, Tom, collaborate to discover why the missing workers riddled the location with puzzles to hide a secret only solvable by that of a human.
While Europa’s human colony mystery inspired by various other last decade first-person puzzle games like Portal and early breakthrough space films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey remains engaging the whole way through, the majority of your time is spent oddly in silence as you attempt to solve puzzles that become progressively more technically thought-provoking and challenging as you push forward on your expedition. From a narrative perspective, The Turing Test excels at core storytelling, but its often silent corridors and rooms yearn for those moments of banter you find in the Portal series or perhaps moments of character development for the arguably lacking yet fulfilling protagonist of Ava Turing.
The puzzle-solving that revolves around your one singular weapon: the Energy Manipulation Tool [EMT] always brings in a feeling of a true obstacle even though the game features no real enemies. Your EMT allows you to only collect and move power spheres to fixture puzzle patterns that power multiple doorways- it sadly never gets more complicated than that. Similarly to its story, the gameplay can feel lacking in several departments, but it never manages to go cold or feels lost. It can come off as extremely tedious during longer play sessions, but despite this, it never falls flat or fails to disappoint, even though differentiating gameplay mechanics are never introduced.
For returning players and newcomers, the main question at hand is of course, “how does the game run on Switch?” Bulkhead Interactive and Square Enix have done an overall applaudable job bringing The Turing Test over to Nintendo’s latest handheld hybrid with barely any noticeable setbacks. Besides some minor dynamic lighting and anti-aliasing changes that are clearly visible when doing a side by side comparison, the game still retains its pleasurable look that combines the aesthetics of 60s and 70s sci-fi films along with a sanitary laboratory or hospital scenery- it is portable Unreal Engine 4 at its finest. Whether it is being played in handheld or docked mode, the game runs buttery smooth with transitional loading screens that are nearly instantaneous.
The Turing Test is a reasonable solution to fill your Portal need on Switch, but at its steep starting price point of $19.99 for a port of a three-year-old game spanning around four to six hours- maybe even less for veteran puzzle solvers- it is hard to consider whether the purchase is worth its day one value. It should also be taken into consideration that the title is still downloadable on Xbox Game Pass for console and PC along with being relatively available on Square Enix’s featured sales on PlayStation 4.
Nonetheless, for those looking for a first-person puzzle game on a handheld system, The Turing Test is quite possibly one of the best options currently available when in comparison to the rest of the Nintendo Eshop’s alternatives- especially if it hits a slight discount down the line. If you have played it before, there is nothing extra here truly worth your value besides the portable aspect of the Switch. On the other hand, if you have never played it before and are interested in experiencing a science-fiction artificial intelligence-driven story, then it is an entertaining but short time that is definitely worth keeping on your wish list in the future for a sale.
If you are interested in purchasing The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch, you can check out the Eshop link right here.