Buttons, knobs, power cubes, switches, and sundries are standard fare for The Turing Test, a puzzler from Bulkhead Interactive previously known for Pneuma: Breath of Life. Recalling my experience with Pneuma, I'm convinced this team has the know-its to put together a stronger puzzle game (not to say that Pneuma was bad in my book) with a strong narrative focus. Pneuma focused heavily on self-discovery through the eyes of the narrator as he went from extreme self-centeredness to disillusionment once he recognized he was being controlled by an external force (the player). Now Bulkhead Interactive is back with a similar game, only this time there's more secrets up their sleeve.
"There are three tiers of story," a developer for the game mentioned. "There's the plot. Then there's the second layer where you can go into rooms like Gone Home style and pick things up and look at them. Then there's the third tier with audio and video logs." It was unfortunate we couldn't dive into the back story or peel back the layers behind the surface of the game. Pneuma was a delight, albeit too short, and I wanted to see how development improved with The Turing Test. I wanted to discover why there was such a world that existed and who the main character is, but we were only given a demo to show us the mechanics behind puzzle solving. Which is familiar in it's own right.
It was a rough Tuesday morning at E3, but I managed to work my way through several of the door puzzles by manipulating power blocks that controlled the doors. It was a short demo to play through, tinkering my way through each room by picking up the power blocks, sometimes draining them of their "power source" with the energy gun that I was equipped with. It was a challenge, but nothing that I hadn't seen before. "There's a huge twist in the game," remarked the developer, "but we haven't told anyone of what it is yet."
Bulkhead clearly has a knack for enticing people into their games. The Turing Test demo wasn't entirely original, nor did it launch into the backstory about the universe that surrounds the player, but call me interested already. Their video hints at exploring a new world called Europa, one of Jupiter's moons that may contain alien life with a threat to all of humanity. Players assume the role of Ava Turing, a member of the International Space Agency, who is tasked with unraveling this mystery behind life and consciousness.
Call me sold.
[image source: game website]