TurnOn
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sound 9

TurnOn is a unique platform game where players must guide a small alien spark along electric wires to help restore power to a city experiencing a blackout. The game is very casual and relaxing for the most part, but some unexpected runner style sections can cause frustration. It is also a very short game, but the healthy dose of achievements helps with the replay value.

Gameplay: Casual and relaxing until the runner sections make an appearance.

Graphics: 3D visuals viewed from a mostly 2D perspective.

Sound: The jazzy soundtrack is a highlight

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TurnOn

Developer: Brainy Studio LLC | Publisher: Xsolla USA Inc | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Casual / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The arrival of an alien creature on Earth causes Electro City to plunge into darkness. Thankfully, this particular alien is friendly and sets out to restore light to the city instead of using it as a hunting ground. Players get to take control of this alien in TurnOn, the “platformer without platforms” by Brainy Studio LLC.

Although it doesn’t feature platforms in the traditional sense, your character can only navigate through the city by moving along the many electrical wires strung everywhere. Since it is a small electrical spark itself, the alien will also turn on any electrical items such as lights and switch-boxes that it passes. The game uses this for some mild puzzles, but mostly TurnOn is about carefully navigating the environments and collecting the blue lightning bolts that are scattered everywhere. TurnOn also doesn’t have much of a storyline beyond restoring the power and instead, each level features little mini-missions that range from scaring away vandals to helping two lovers with their reunion. This approach keeps things interesting, and with more than 30 levels, your little blue spark has quite a journey ahead of it.

TurnOn is a very relaxing game for the most part, as there are no real enemies to fight. Being careless and falling off your electrical platforms also only results in a trip back to the nearest checkpoint without losing your progress. However, casual players might be in for a shock when they encounter the endless runner style sections that break up the tranquil levels. During these parts, your spark speeds along straight sections of electrical wires, and players must time their button presses to prevent it from falling through gaps or hitting the deadly red sparks. These sections feature a considerable jump in difficulty compared to the normal levels and getting hit by red sparks three times even results in having to restart the whole level. It is possible to grab green lighting bolts to restore your health, but overall the speed of these levels and the closeness of the camera makes it hard to see ahead. This results in levels that are more reflex-based and dependent on trial and error, which feels really out of place compared to the rest of the game.

The graphics in TurnOn are not cutting edge, but everything looks pretty neat for an indie game by a small team. As expected, most levels are very dark until you start turning on lights. The contrast between light and shadows works well and gives the game a very unique look and feel. Just don’t look too closely at the character models for the humans as most of them tend to look a little creepy. While the gameplay is 2D, the levels in TurnOn are actually 3D, which means your character can instantly jump from the foreground to the background when transitioning between wires. It feels a little weird the first few times, but soon becomes second nature and is essential for thoroughly exploring everywhere. We highly recommend doing so as TurnOn is not a very long game and many of the achievements are tied to earning a “three lamp” rating on each level. In total it took us about six hours to complete the game and grab most of the achievements.

The soundtrack for TurnOn is very jazzy, which is not our favorite genre, but it works quite well for this game. The music never becomes overly obtrusive while exploring, but having the song restart every time you fail on the runner levels does become a little annoying. Although there are plenty of sound effects, the developers have opted not to include any voice acting. Any human characters that you encounter will communicate with shrieks, yells, clapping, and cheering instead. Even the cut-scenes that play between levels make use of these sounds along with some comic strip style panels. Controlling the little alien spark is very easy and we had no trouble using a keyboard for most of the game. We did switch over to a controller for the runner sections, but the responsiveness felt about the same. The only controls to worry about is moving your character left and right along with jumping up or down. All of the lights, switches, and other objects in the game are activated by simply moving over them.

TurnOn is a very unique game and some of the levels are great, but we can’t shake the feeling that it would have been better if the runner sections were improved or omitted. While we didn’t have any trouble completing the game, the runner sections and final few levels in the game ramps up the difficulty quite a bit compared to the earlier levels. The level where players have to try and keep up with a speeding tram, in particular, appears to be where a lot of people abandon the game, which is a pity.

It’s a pity that TurnOn doesn’t have any difficulty settings as experienced players will probably find it too easy while casual players will hate the runner sections. It is certainly not a hard game, especially when compared to other platform titles, it’s just frustrating how out of place and annoying some parts can be. Players who can overlook these issues will have fun as it is really a rather charming game, but sadly it is one that could have been better.

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System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 or newer
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 @ 2.2GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ @ 2.8 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 240 GT or Radeon HD 6570
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Xbox 360 gamepad are supported
  • OS: Windows 7 or newer
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.8 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 650 Ti or Radeon HD 7790
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Xbox 360 gamepad are supported
  • OS: ОС: 10.10.2 (Yosemite) or newer
  • Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 series
  • Storage: 4 GB available space
  • OS: ОС: 10.10.2 (Yosemite) or newer
  • Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Pro
  • Storage: 4 GB available space

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