One of my favourite things about the Nintendo Switch is the wealth of older titles that have been re-released on the console. Sure, I can imagine most gamers want to sink their teeth into the newest and freshest releases, but there have been so many titles that I’ve missed out on over the years that finally getting to play them on the Nintendo Switch is quite the treat.
The Turing Test is the latest example of this for me on the console, with Bulkhead Interactive’s sci-fi puzzler a title that I’ve been itching to play for some time but never getting around to. Finally, nearly four-years on from its initial release, I’ve had the chance to partake in its puzzling escapade – not only is it a fun and clever puzzler, but it’s also one of the more impressive ports I’ve seen brought over to the Nintendo Switch.
The Turning Test puts you in the role of Ava Turing, a young engineer who is sent to excavate Jupiter’s moon Europa. Whilst her colleagues are sent down to set up a base, Ava is put into cryogenic sleep until she is required. However, she is soon awoken by the ship’s AI that informs her that the crew are in danger and she needs to head down to the base in order to help them out. The only problem is that in order to reach her colleagues, she’ll have to solve a series of puzzles that have been designed in a manner that only a human could solve. Inconvenient, right?
The puzzles themselves revolve around distributing power across each room in order to open the passage to progress. Fortunately, you’re armed with the EMT (Energy Manipulation Tool) – a gun that can absorb different forms of power and then be used to activate the different objects that you need to interact with, such as doors, bridges, platforms, magnets, and so forth. With different orbs to use that offer different properties though, it’s up to you to spread them out across each room in the correct way, with accuracy and quick-thinking the key to your success.
New mechanics are introduced as you progress, including the use of robots and cameras to assist you with solving problems, whilst the puzzles themselves become larger in scale and introduce a couple of new elements to keep you scratching your head as you try to solve them. That’s not to say that they’re not enjoyable though, with each satisfying designed to test your skills but also feel rewarding as you put your plan into motion to solve each tricky enigma.
That being said, there were some puzzles that could feel a little bit frustrating in places, with some of the mechanics a little temperamental at times – something that was most obvious on puzzles that relied on precise physics or precision with my shooting. There were some puzzles that could feel a little repetitive in design too, especially in some of the game’s larger rooms. With secret puzzles to discover and the engrossing plot offering twists-and-turns as you progress though, it’s hard not to find yourself absorbed into The Turing Test’s puzzling escapade – regardless of some of its flaws.
Presentation-wise, The Turing Test looks fantastic on both the Nintendo Switch’s handheld and docked modes. The visuals are sharp and well-presented, the frame rate is consistent (don’t expect 60fps though), whilst the music and sound design is absolutely on point. The only place where I noticed a little bit of stuttering was during some of the obvious loading sequences as you move between areas, but even that wasn’t a problem. Overall, it’s just a very impressive port and a lot of developers could learn something from how good of a job that Bulkhead Interactive has done here.
The Turing Test’s satisfying puzzling, engaging storyline, and impressive presentation helps it stand out as another enjoyable puzzler for Switch gamers to get stuck into. Whilst there are a few frustrating stumbling blocks to be found across a handful of the puzzles, in all it’s a solid release that certainly feels at home in the Nintendo Switch’s catalogue.
Developer: Bulkhead Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC