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7.8 Hours played
The Turing Test is a puzzle game about lateral thinking and the human condition. Are we better than machines?

Plot & Mechanics
You are Ava Turing (what a subtle reference), main engineer and vehicle officer of the Fortuna, a spaceship sent by the ISA (International Space Agency) to establish a land base on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. You are to stay on the Fortuna until the ground base is completed. However, you are awoken nearly 6 years after your arrival by TOM, the artificial intelligence that monitors the mission, because the ground team might be in danger, and you've got to get down there to see what happened.

The voice acting is supreme, and really helps to transmit the character's feelings and the true meaning behind their words. I really liked that TOM didn't have a robot-esque filter (it actually has, but very subtle). I mean, they can make a fully-fledged AI but not a reallistic voice? f*ck off mate..
Spoiler alert! - However, Sarah's voice was terrible, it didn't carry the same emotions that her message did. - Spoiler alert!

Your main (and pretty much only) tool is an EMT (Energy Manipulation Tool), with which you move energy cells around to activate a variety of devices (doors, ramps, elevators...). I know it sounds simple, or even gimmicky, but trust me it gets very complex very fast.
The puzzles or challenges that you are presented with, are considered to be solvable only by humans, and that's when the mechanics start getting grasp of the game's main idea.
Spoiler alert! - Later on, it is revealed that a human alone can't ever be capable to solve these challenges by itself, and you start working together with TOM, thus, making the game's question even more puzzling - Spoiler alert!

Visual Style & Music
The game was made in Unreal Engine 4 and boy does it look gorgeous. Seriously, the screenshots you see on the Store Page are no bait, the game really looks like that. If you don't have a PC that can run this game at max settings, I'd recommend buying it on Xbox One/PS4 (assuming you have one, ofc).

The dinamic lighting is just stunning, I have no words to describe how close I felt to actually being there. The sound also helps a lot, as the sountrack isn't your generic sci-fi digital music, but rather made to order with normal instruments.

On the other hand, the SFX sounds are a bit... lacking... and tedious. Don't get me wrong, it didn't bothered me for most of the game. However, in the last quarter of the game, where all the mechanics were starting to be put together on very big rooms, and there are a lot of them working and sounding at the same time, their continuous sound in the background kept poking on my head as I was trying to think, making me more nervous and a little bit stressed.

From time to time, you found some audio records left by the ground crew. They advance the story a lot. Seriously, don't miss the audio records. They are the ones that tell what has happenned in the ground base, and how the characters are and behave. However, they are not subtitled, and some of them are so fuzzy that it's very hard to even hear anything at all (and some of those are quite important to the plot).

The story progresses through little bits of dialogue between Ava and TOM at the start of every level, and so, the puzzles slowly begin to just feel like a job you have to do in order to get a few extra lines of said dialogue. When you reach certain milestones however, and the game determines that you've already mastered the pieces that you have, he presents you with a couple more to keep you engaged on the challenges.

There is no fail state; so no matter how badly you mess up the puzzle, you know you can always fix it without restarting the level. Some may think that's bad because it forces the players to be the ones to reset the room back to normal, but I think it's good design because not only does it help you to understand why what you tried didn't work; but also helps you to get out of your mind the ever-famous puzzle game idea of "what the hell, this puzzle is unsolvable!".

I recommend playing the game in a few days, as it's constantly referencing itself on previous (and subsequent) events. Also, unless you've spent more than 20 or 30 minutes on a single room, I thoroughly recommend not watching playthroughs if you feel stuck. Use lateral thinking.

In any case, I recommend to all players to look for the optional chambers (they can be found in-between some levels, one per chapter) and AI papers and articles. The first ones are somewhat simple and short. The last ones take a bit more time, but each one of them is really worth it (except maybe the first one, you won't get that until later in the game... in both senses ;)).

Spoiler alert! - As said earlier, at some point in the game you have to start collaborating with TOM in order to overcome the puzzles, and it comes just when you thought the game couldn't throw anything new and fresh. It not only helps develop the game's plot and message, but also adds a layer of complexity that you didn't thought of before in the game. - Spoiler alert!

If you've got some background in the field of computer science and/or Artificial Intelligence (like I do), the arguments and debates sustained during the plot will probably seem a bit silly, basic, or even vague upon the complexity of said field. However that does not mean that it is not enjoyable. At all.

If you, however, are just a fan of sci-fi, computers, or both, but you don't really have technical knowledge on the matter (shame on you! it's totally fine), you'll find the debate quite deep and engaging.

A word on the ending (obviously super spoiler):
Spoiler alert! - After knowing what happenned with the ground crew, knowing about their discovery, TOM's actions and being repeatedly presented with the game's last moral dillemma... we are presented with an ending, but we are snatched of a climax.
You can provoque one of two (four actually, but three of them are very similar) endings. And then... nothing. You've completed the Turing Test.

*Note how I said choose between quotes, because the game doesn't hold your hand at all here.
- Spoiler alert!

I'll add this in a second spoiler tag to show that it's even more spoileroo than the previous one.
Spoiler alert! - It actually took me a while after I finished the game to reallise what it was all about.

This is NOT your average "AI gone evil" game.

TOM is actually the protagonist of the game. TOM is the player and the moral compass of the game. TOM... is YOU. That's why YOU've passed the Turing Test. If you kill Ava and Sarah, you'll feel remorse, and if you let them disconnect you and, hence, spread the virus they carry to the Earth, you'll feel fear, not only for mankind, but also for yourself, ceasing to exist. This is why, you are no longer distinguishable from a human, and thus, you have passed the Turing Test.
- Spoiler alert!

I've thought a lot about what to do with this game. It has some plot holes that I cannot forgive, but then I thought of the most emotional moments of the game: the post-ending (after thinking about it), and the visit to the ground crew's quarters. I'm not afraid to say I dropped a few tears there, as I gazed upon the lifes of people that left everything behind, that would never return to see their loved ones again.

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Ikaros Mod.749 Apr 15, 2017 @ 4:26pm 
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