Friday 30 September 2016

Games: A moon full of mysteries

The Turing Test, (PC/XO) 5 Stars, Age: 12+

Published 18/09/2016 | 02:30

The Turing Test
The Turing Test

Artificially intelligent computers, you can never can trust them, can you? Even Halo's lovable Cortana went a bit flaky in the end.

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Tom, the AI in The Turing Test, seems genuinely helpful when astronaut Ava Turing lands on a moon base to search for the inevitable missing crew. She's confronted, not with hordes of slavering monsters or mysterious artefacts, but a series of puzzle rooms akin to the physics-based trickery of Portal.

Tom, voiced by a dead ringer for Jeremy Irons, tries soothingly to explain to Ava the back-story but proves useless when it comes to deciphering the thorny door/lock puzzles she must solve in advancing deeper into the base.

The Turing Test achieves a quiet symbiosis of plot and gameplay, the austere rooms providing a singular focus for the job of juggling power orbs, door keys and logic puzzles.

Don't expect narrative or visual fireworks but watch for an understated story with a few barbs and twists. Oh yeah, and don't trust Tom.

Assetto Corsa

(PS4/XO), 4 Stars, Age: 7+

Racing fans are well served by outré takes on motorsport, from Burnout to Need for Speed. Assetto Corsa made its name instead on PC for an obsessive pursuit of realism, dialling in the true effects of tyre wear, handling and track physics among many parameters.

The sim comes to consoles now without the benefits of modding but with its commitment to the real world intact. For casual racers, its lack of polish may stick in the throat. Even hardcore fans may feel better served overall by the breadth of Forza or Gran Turismo.

Yet the subtlety of the handling in AC's cars cannot be overstated - once you've switched off all the deadening driver aids.

Grow Up

(PS4/XO/PC), 3 Stars, Age: 7+

The sequel to offbeat climbing sim Grow Home brings back comically uncoordinated robot Bud as he explores a planetoid in search of missing ship parts. Bud quickly acquires some new moves (gliding, etc), which is a blessing because he's a pain to control.

Once fully tooled up, Bud's mission to climb into the sky becomes more tolerable but you're never far away from an unfortunate tumble that costs many minutes of hard-won progress.

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