E3 2016 – Hands on: The Turing Test

Had you blinked during Microsoft’s E3 media briefing you very well may have missed The Turing Test’s showing amongst the raft of indie darlings this year. Tucked away amongst the heavy hitters like Cuphead and We Happy Few was a bank machines setup dedicated to little known “The Turing Test”.

I’ll be the first to admit I knew nothing of the title, the same could be said for Cuphead last year and Below the year before. I’ve always found Microsoft’s indie projects to contain the true darlings of the show. The same could very easily be said about PAX’s indie pavilion where I tend to spend the majority of my time.

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As you begin playing The Turing Test very little is explained. Your surroundings appear to be the surface of some alien planet with your only course of action to be entering a near space station. Inside a room with exits obscured or not working. Nearby lies a small cube the game indicates can be picked up a large “X” appearing on screen as the reticle of your first-person-view hovers over it. Now holding the cube its silhouette hovers in front of you as you walk it to the nearby door. Next to the door a socket the size of the cube in your possession sucks the silhouette towards it and as you release the item it appears solid in place. A whoosh emanates through my headphones as the door opens to my right and I enter the next room.

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If that sounds eerily similar to a game you may have played about five years or so ago you wouldn’t be the first. The Turing Test certainly has a definite Portal feel to it. Through each door lies another room with an increasingly difficult puzzle to solve to reach the next. The game differs itself in the mechanics of the puzzle solving. The cubes that power doors and machinery contain a small orb of power that as the game progresses can be sucked out and shot through holes in the wall into awaiting sockets. You’ll also find machinery such as a factory like magnetised crane that comes in handy moving the cubes and much, much more.

The beauty of The Turing Test is in the complexity of its simplicity. An oxymoron for sure but a proven winning formula that had us all ploughing through Portal as time sped by. I picked up the controller to pass five minutes before my next appointment, I put it down nearly twenty minutes later, now running ten minutes late! It hooks you in with that “just one more room” loop with just the right difficulty vs reward curve.

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I enjoyed every second I had in the world, I want to know more about the backstory and the reason behind it all. I’m really excited to see the game’s release this coming August. The Turing Test is definitely on my playlist and if you enjoyed Portal it should be on yours too!

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

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