Back in 1956, the famous mathematician Alan Turing published an interesting article in which he outlined his vision of how artificial intelligence can be distinguished from human intelligence. The ideas and developments of Turing’s followers, opponents and himself, in one way or another, are found in world culture even today. So the next rethinking of this, one might say, global question, which was posed by an outstanding mathematician, was a game called The Turing Test from the Bulkhead Interactive studio.
The Turing Test was fun, albeit with some pretty predictable elements. The game reveals its full potential and essence towards the end, where the players are really provided with fresh ideas. However, judging by the first part of the new project, then The Turing Test is an ordinary puzzle with a first-person view, where you have to wander through an abandoned space and research laboratory, simultaneously solving various kinds of problems.
The game is completely devoid of the awesome humor that is inherent in the Portal series, so if you expected to see something like this, you will be disappointed. However, The Turing Test is clearly not about that. The presentation of the storyline in the game poses entertaining questions that relate to the concept of freedom of humanity, will and, of course, a test to test the intelligence of AI.
In The Turing Test, the lead role is given to Ava Turing, an engineer at the International Space Agency (ISA for short). The girl was taken out of suspended animation to investigate the events that took place inside the research complex, which is located on one of the moons of Jupiter.
→ Unfortunately, you will only be able to see the surface of Europe once.
The girl goes on a mission with one and only useful thing – a rifle, which is capable of transmitting and accumulating energy impulses. Throughout the game, the heroine will have to communicate exclusively with an AI operator named “T.OM.” He will accompany her as a kind of “voice from heaven”. Ava’s main task is to find the group of people who have landed on this base. But in the course of the passage it turns out that it is not so easy to find colleagues.
In fact, the “girl in a closed room” genre has long needed a shake-up, but since we will definitely not see the new Portal soon, The Turing Test is still the only candidate. In general, in terms of mechanics, the game does not even try to stand out from the background of other competitors. Quite the opposite: the set of mechanics is pretty familiar. There is a lonely girl, a mechanical interlocutor, and a long chain of puzzle rooms. In the end, there is even a completely unknown device that is needed to reach the final part of the game.
The same applies to the rules: they will regularly explain various new situations, but they will be silent about the rules. After all, The Turing Test is quite understandable, even at an intuitive level, although there will be riddles that will make anyone wonder pretty much.
→ For every ten test rooms, there is one story room, which is filled with personal belongings, notes and other interesting items.
In general, the principle of puzzles in the game is quite simple. For example, there are unique locks / sockets that can be activated exclusively with an energy container. By inserting a special battery into the slot, the doors open, the stairs go up, and the platform goes up. Well, or vice versa.
At times, extra care is required as the cable that runs from the cell to the corresponding device may be terminated. Therefore, in the presence of high voltage, the device you need may stop working.
But more often, instead of the usual peculiar batteries, which must be constantly carried in the hands, deal with more interesting energy spheres. In the end, it was for working with these spheres that a strangely shaped tool was issued, which at first resembles a kind of shotgun. By the way, this is where the biggest difficulties arise, because the sphere is already divided into different types. There are areas that are permanent. There are areas that are regularly turned off. And there are spheres that are activated only for a limited period of time immediately after use.
→ Sometimes the game is quite similar to Alien: Isolation.
The lion’s share of the puzzles is based on these spheres: on juggling spheres / containers and on turning on some devices and turning off others. Quite often there are compact rooms in which there are few active objects. The Turing Test, however, is not without grace. Some puzzles can take a long time to puzzle over, but when the moment of “enlightenment” comes, all the key elements of the puzzle add up to a single picture.
And this is very good, because it is for this that they love these games. The joy of solving a once difficult problem and the feeling that a new one will follow brings unimaginable pleasure, for which such games are held.
However, the only thing that haunts is the inconsistency of the script with the design of the created world. The presented research station is clearly divided into peculiar sections, so for a dozen rooms with tests there is exactly one story room, in which you can find quite interesting notes, objects and curious audio diaries. It is these details that will be explained during the passage of The Turing Test, as a result of which or because of what the inhabited complex turned into a deserted place like what was in Portal. The details, in turn, may look unconvincing, but this is only one and only claim to the game scenario.
→ To make it easier for players to find them, the developers have scattered wires across the floor.
Desire to reveal secrets
At first glance, the story in The Turing Test is simple, although in reality it is not. In addition, it is the plot component that will move you further, looking for a way out of the next puzzle room, so that in the next room Ava and TOM will have a couple of phrases. In fact, The Turing Test is good at addressing several burning thoughts / topics at once. Players are confronted with the human mind and the logic of an electrically powered machine. In the end, developers make one think about free will and selfishness.
And more importantly, in the middle of the game, it becomes clear that things are not as simple as they seem. In The Turing Test, there will not be what was in P · O · L · L · E · N with “zilch” instead of the normal ending. In the middle of The Turing Test’s narrative, the script and new puzzles finally change.
→ In fact, from a certain point in the game, puzzles appear, which cannot be solved without the help of old TOM.
In addition, in addition to the 70 mandatory tests, there are also seven especially difficult ones in The Turing Test. These are the ones that are truly unique. It is worth solving them not only for the sake of rewards in the form of rooms, inside which additional details of the storyline are contained, but also for the sake of new finds and design solutions that are not used in the bulk of locations, which is rather strange …
Of course, the atmosphere is one of the strong points of the game. The visual appeal of The Turing Test plays a key role. The bottom line is that the simplicity of the game world does not turn the game into a dull and monotonous picture. The world, in addition to the most ordinary attractiveness, also has a detailed elaboration.
But the excellent graphic part is also complemented by the soundtrack. For example, beautiful lyric melodies will change depending on the location you are in. The soundtrack is so good that a good mood will involuntarily appear and later thoughts will arise about what place a person occupies in this world, and in general you will think about the essence of the concept of “person”. However, this is not all.
→ One of the most important helpers in the game is the “energy manipulation tool”.
I just want to say that in addition to the storyline of The Turing Test itself, which focuses on the most intimate questions, music complements it all. This is why the storyline combined with the atmosphere in the game is incredibly exciting.
The Turing Test is definitely not a game that follows in Portal’s footsteps, but the time spent playing this game is quite enjoyable. Although if we draw analogies, then the game looks more like The Talos Principle, but in a futuristic setting: there is about the same simple controls and not too puzzling puzzles, but sometimes creating difficulties and bringing pleasure.
It is worth paying tribute to the developers: let The Turing Test have a minimalistic setting (after all, the design of locations is dominated by white for the most part) and too simple solutions, and logic puzzles do not get boring during the passage – the interest in the game does not disappear. And this also applies to the visual point of view.
In the end, in The Turing Test, the team from Bulkhead Interactive studio raises some rather important questions that take their hearts out: speculations about the Turing test, the Chinese room, and that’s not all. However, as a puzzle game, the game does not give anything new, but here is a rather intriguing sci-fi story that practically covers this huge flaw.