TURN Episode 1: The Lost Artefact is a puzzle-turning adventure

Posted: October 8, 2009 in Adventure, Puzzle

The saying “turnabout is fair play” has been around since the 18th century, yet it’s probably the most accurate way to describe the adventure puzzler TURN Episode 1: The Lost Artefact, where mastering the law of gravity is essential for your success. Similar in concept to another fantastic puzzler Ynth, TURN has a few more tricks up its sleeve that will make gamers thankful that this is only the first episode.

You may think you understand gravity until you play TURN where thinking several moves ahead is not only an advantage but a downright necessity. Kurt and Camila are the two explorers on a journey of mystery and intrigue involving a lost artifact. This involves various elements of danger and in most cases, a certain element of luck as well. In the current release, TURN has 3 worlds—New York Harbor, Amazon Jungle, and Norway North Cape—each consisting of 9 levels and 10 rooms. At the beginning of each level, you can choose to play as either Kurt or Camila.

Visually, the devs have created some rather unique environments and levels that can be frustrating to solve. Each room is displayed with a related backdrop, and the animation and graphics presentation has high quality all over it. However, it’s a shame that typos take away some of the polish in what otherwise would be a top-notch production.

Each level consists of rooms with the primary objective of locating the entrance to enter the next room. The hitch is that there are different doors and keys that you must collect in order to unlock the door. For example, a gray door doesn’t require a key, but a blue door requires a blue key, while a red door unlocks with a red key.

To further complicate matters, each room must be rotated to align the door to the correct path in order to leave the room. Sounds relatively easy right? Well, enemies and various objects are located throughout the rooms all subject to gravity just as Kurt and Camila are. While Kurt and Camila can move crates and boulders, only falling and moving objects can crush enemies. And, more importantly, they have the same devastating effect on Kurt and Camila so you’ll need to steer them clear.

In addition to crates and boulders, enemies in the form of spies, thugs and amazons have the ability to attack if Kurt and Camila happen to be nearby, which is often a quick boot to the head and game over. In a later world, an extra element is added in the form of breakable crates. After 3 impacts, these crates open to release an enemy.

The rooms themselves are intricate and have lots of nooks and crannies that can be used to your advantage or detrimental to your survival. A mini diagram provides an overview of the rooms in each stage so do you don’t need to worry about getting lost.

Responsive controls are essential for this type of game, and fortunately, they are easy to use and rather well thought out in how they are presented. The touch controls and on-screen control set up can be used at any time, and you shouldn’t have any problems at all. The on-screen controls consist of a pair of room rotating buttons, up/down, and left/right, and the only part that may take some getting used is the room rotating buttons. If that isn’t easy enough, you can also use touch controls. To move, simply swipe in the appropriate direction. And, to rotate the room, use two fingers to turn accordingly.

If you enjoy puzzles like I do, the gameplay in TURN should be a no brainer. Each world, let alone room, has its own attributes through different mazes and the number of enemies and objects. The game also has includes time and rotation challenges, a par time and number of rotations, that when met unlocks achievements. These achievements are in the form of artwork consisting of Kurt and Camila and are awarded for completing puzzles, meeting time and rotation requirements, and completing worlds. While the achievement is more gimmicky than typical rewards systems, it still does help with replayability. Often your first move will determine how you approach the rest of the room, and fortunately, you can restart levels, which allow you to experiment. The additional challenge of aligning paths with doors forces you to remember previous moves since you’ll often need to backtrack.

One shortcoming with TURN is the load times in between stages which can last a few seconds. In addition, the achievement system could use a little more depth since it can be shallow for some. For advanced puzzlers, the game could prove to be a quick work, while beginners and intermediate players will obviously find the difficult level pretty balanced. Episode 2: The Forgotten Kingdom is in the works so addition puzzles with new elements are on the way.

Overall, TURN is a solid adventure puzzler built with high production values (outside of the typos) and innovative elements that delivers. From the presentation to the well-balanced, progressively difficult gameplay, TURN definitely deserves a turn on your device.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (entertaining adventure puzzler with plenty of levels, different elements, and solid gameplay; responsive touch and button controls, great visuals and Episode 2 in the works; slight load times and minor typos)

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