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Review of The Turing Test by Stevens R. Miller

Stars - 40

Rating by Stevens R. Miller posted on Sep 12, 2019 | edit | delete

Strong entry in the "Rush Hour" family

People classify games like this one as being akin to “Portal,” “Talos,” “Witness,” and a few others. Those comparisons are valid, but we like to compare all such games to the sliding block puzzle marketed as “Rush Hour.” You have to shove 1x2, 1x3, and sometimes 1x4 “cars,” “trucks,” and “buses” along a cartesian grid, trying to figure out how to get one of them out of an opening on one side of a square game board. In “Talos,” the process came to be called “juggling.” Once you get the idea, “juggling” is both recognizable, and a relevant skill, in a lot of games. This is one of them, and it is a great deal of fun (if, of course, you like that kind of thing).

The story here is adequate, but the purpose of the game is the puzzles. One wonders how much difference story makes to the fun overall. Well, included with the game proper is a prototype level that is as bare-bones as it can be. The puzzles in that level are identical in how you play/solve them to what’s in the game. At first, it seemed a little austere. But, once you get immersed in the problem, you tend to forget that there’s no story, nor decorations. So… the story helps, but it’s really just a starting point.

Indeed, the title of the game does suggest that there’s an overarching question about the nature of thought and existence. Thus, as the game plays out and the story unfolds, you expect an answer. Like a lot of games where the emphasis is on the journey, and not the arrival, this one fails to provide a fully satisfying ending. But when you get there and see how it does end, ask yourself what could have been any better. The play’s the thing, after all, as it always is.

So we loved this one because we love “Rush Hour” games, and this is a very good “Rush Hour” game. It is strictly linear. You go from Puzzle N to Puzzle N+1, with no turning back, ever. That, again, might bother those who want more dramatic depth, but we thought it was a good way to deliver a sense of progress. Returning to places you’ve already visited to solve previously unsolvable puzzles can work (as in “Talos”), but it isn’t necessary and, unless done with precision, leads to a lot of tedious running around for no reason. The decision not to include that amount of complexity was a good one here. You get your puzzles, one after the other, and that’s good enough.

If you like the “Rush Hour” family, this is for you.

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Time Played: 10-20 hours
Difficulty: Just Right

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