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    Yuri Connoisseur

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    Cosmos & stuff
And since I do have some Steam games I haven't yet played, I installed The Turing Test, and finished it. You play as Ava Turing, a female operative of a scientific crew located at Europa, a moon of Jupiter. You are unexpectedly awoken from cryosleep and tasked to head down to the surface of the moon, or below it to be specific, to investigate what is going on at the Europa base. In this task, you are accompanied by TOM, an AI overseer of the mission (something something Machine, can't remember what it stood for).

The Turing Test is a first-person atmospheric puzzle game (I wonder how many times I've written that description), taking inspiration from two main sources: Portal and The Talos Principle. Portal similarities are both obvious and many. The white sci-fi lab environments, linear room-to-room progression and the narrative framework, of a human player-character and an AI companion, who briefly converse between puzzles. That said, whereas Portal was essentially a (dark) comedy, The Turing Test isn't, instead opting for a The Talos Principle -esque philosophical drama, about themes such as AI and consciousness.

Looking at the gameplay-loop a bit deeper, it's generally fun, albeit not particularly original. You use your sci-fi gun to collect and shoot colorful balls of energy into receptacles and use boxes on buttons and receptacles, to open doors and activate switches. Sometimes you operate levers and move stuff around and later on there is even some single player co-op stuff. It screams of Portal because of the presentation, but it does some things to try and stand out.

The story is straight-forward, even more-so than Portal despite the basically identical structure, but advances cohesively, adding in more details to the happenings inside the Europa base. Unlike Portal, however, you actually have more chances at interacting with the environment. Every chapter ends in a non-puzzle room, with interactive objects and audio/text logs, which fill in the gaps. That said, it's not flawlessly executed. The interactions between Ava and Tom are sometimes counter-intuitive and towards the end it kind of devolves into rehashing the same thing over and over. At a certain point it almost doesn't even make sense for the game to continue along the same format, but does so anyway. Portal 2 sidestepped that in extremely satisfying ways, creating a really cool narrative structure in the process, with identifiable turning points. The Talos Principle is a pretty steady affair during its regular stages, but the Tower really ascends the mood to a whole other level. The Turing Test is extremely short (5 1/2 hours) and never throws any curveballs or kick things to another gear, aside from maybe the absolute last seconds. You could maybe compare it to a game like The Swapper, which somewhat touches on similar themes in its story, but even then I reckon The Swapper does a better job with its desolation. The Turing Test is audio-visually satisfying, but that is not by its own doing. It looks like Portal and sounds like The Talos Principle, the latter aspect especially, while really damn good in its own right, was almost disturbingly similar to Talos, without managing the aforementioned next level at any point.

Therein lies its biggest issue. It is so similar to the other two games that it has a really difficult time actually standing on its own. It's so derivative that there's no way it would've ever existed without the other two games. When I think about my favorite puzzle games, they all have something that is so unique to them and worth of the highest praise. The Turing Test does several things really well. The presentation is great, the music is excellent, the gameplay is fun and it has an evocative story. Still, it owes so much to its inspirations that it is impossible for it not to become a hindrance. I wouldn't not recommend it, though, simply because it is a well-made game of its kind.

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