Nearly four years since it it arrived on PC and Xbox, and three years since its release on PS4, Square Enix Collective’s first-person puzzle game The Turing Test is now available on Switch.
Chances are, if you’ve ever been interested in The Turing Test, you’ve already played it on one of the other formats its been available on for numerous years. But if you haven’t, enjoy a good puzzle game, and Switch happens to be your format of choice, you’re in luck.
Developed by Bulkhead Interactive and published by Square Enix Collective, The Turing Test puts you in the shoes of Ava Turing. She’s an engineer working for the International Space Agency who’s called to action when her colleagues have been out of contact for a number of days. But The Turing Test isn’t an adventure game about searching for them; it’s a puzzle game in the vein of Portal. Ava is put through her paces by a omnipresent robot voice, led through a series of rooms, each with its own puzzle to be solved.
The Turing Test‘s puzzles, the game proposes, require logical and lateral thinking that only a human is capable of. As such, the puzzles can only be completed by a human and wouldn’t be solvable by a robot. Get stuck in the game, then – as I did several times – and you might start to question your own humanity.
The puzzles themselves vary in difficulty, and the further you progress through the game, the more complex they become. They revolve around operating switches, and using your gun-like EMT (that’s “energy manipulation tool”) to draw balls of energy from one switch to another. Usually, you’ll need to activate a number of switches in order to pass through a door to reach the next area – but a number of obstacles will stand in your way, requiring you to to think outside of the box in order to activate them. You’ll need to grab energy from switches you’ve previously activated, for instance – but doing so without then getting stuck behind a closed door takes some real brain work.
The Turing Test isn’t the longest game – you’ll likely complete it in less than five hours (unless any of the puzzles really give you grief). But if you want to get the most out of it, you’ll want to engage yourself in the narrative that can be found between puzzles, through the dialogue between Ava and her robot companion, and also through clues dotted around the environment on the occasions you’re allowed to wander. Jamie reviewed the PC version of the game for us back in 2016, and went into some detail about the game’s story:
…It’s not the puzzles (however rewarding) that make The Turing Test great: it’s the story […] Talking too much about the plot of The Turing Test is to utterly ruin the most intriguing and spine-tingling aspect of the game (I’m not kidding about the ‘spine tingling’ bit, either: it may just be me but, in some sections, I had to check over my shoulder to make sure some sinister agent wasn’t watching me while I played) but the depth to which you experience it is entirely up to you.
There’s a lot to like about The Turing Test, then. And thankfully, it performs valiantly on Switch. It’s a first-person puzzle game set in a realistic-looking space environment, so before I loaded it up, I was worried the Switch’s sub-par architecture might not be up for the challenge. Gladly, I was proved wrong. In handheld mode, The Turing Test on Switch looks almost as sharp and crisp as it does playing it on Xbox One X. Of course, that’s down to the small screen hiding rougher textures from plain sight; dock your regular Switch to your TV and it’ll look somewhat less aesthetically pleasing. But most importantly, it runs well.
However, the Switch version has introduced extra load times that weren’t present in previous versions; when you pass through a door separating one puzzle area from another, you’ll have to wait a few seconds while the door ‘verifies’ you by scanning you. It doesn’t disrupt the flow of the game much, but it’s one of the only noticeable differences between this version and the previous console version.
At £16/$20, The Turing Test on Nintendo Switch is a worthwhile purchase for anyone who enjoys first-person puzzle games. It’s not quite Portal, but it has its own merits making it a genuinely entertaining experience. If you already own the game on another format, though, the Switch version doesn’t bring anything new. Unless you’re itching to play it on the go, stick with your PS4/Xbox One/PC version.