Alright everyone, get your mind out of the gutter. This game is the complete opposite of what you are thinking. You see no skin in this game and there is no smootching. However, if you are successful in a level, you can get a couple out on a date. In Brainy Studio’s latest game TurnOn, you play as a little ball of electricity that must restore power to the entire city. I’ll admit: when I saw the trailer for this title, I was a little worried that I’d have to trudge through some crappy indie game that didn’t know what it was doing. Well, I am currently eating crow; I’ve enjoyed my time with the game and look forward to re-playing some of the levels I didn’t max out so I can pad my achievement score.
The story to this game is pretty light. Basically, the power goes out in the small town of Electro and the person working the power plant creates you. Once you achieve sentience, you decide to help this nice person by restoring power to the power plant. Once that is done, he lets you loose in the city where you get to restore power to each neighborhood. To get from neighborhood to neighborhood, you travel on the power lines, obviously. Brainy Studio made the travel levels fun and sometimes difficult.
The first power line level was pretty easy — I jumped up and down to collect as many blue lightening bolts as I could. They do nothing in the game but add up and give you achievements, which is cool. Green lightening bolts give you life and red ones take that life away; if you lose your 3 green bolts, you restart the level. If you fall to your death, everything you have done is saved — you just start at a checkpoint. One thing I did discover during a difficult power-travel level is to jump to the beat of the music. Once I figured that out, I stopped dying, so I hope you’ve got rhythm.
The other neighborhood levels are pretty straightforward: you jump up to a power line by hitting A and up, and drop down one by hitting B and down. You do that through the entirety of the game, thus getting lights to pop on, generators to run, and neon signs blinking. That is all you do for the first few levels; when you get farther in the game, you have to solve puzzles so that the town’s inhabitants can go about their daily life. In one level, you get a nice couple together for their date by removing hindrances through turning things on and off. At one point, you have to fight a drone that has gone batty and who, once defeated, becomes your arch-nemesis. The first time you encounter him, he’s difficult to beat. I didn’t quite understand the quick visual tutorial I was given and I died several times before I saw the beast land on what needed to be zapped. After that little hiccup, I was fine and kept letting the light shine for all those wonderful citizens.
I really enjoyed the visuals in this game. The developers made a game that looks like Psychonauts and Tearaway had a baby. This style isn’t used enough in gaming, and I really enjoyed the level design for each neighborhood. The music is also amazing and so fitting for this game. When the music begins in each level, you are almost immediately relaxed and just jump around the area lighting lights and collecting bolts. I’ve decided that when I start to play Dark Souls 3, I will play this during periods of “Rage Quit” so that I can relax quicker and so that my heart doesn’t explode. The developers really tied everything together quite nicely, and if you don’t know what to turn on next you can just sit there and listen to the lovely melodies.
I’ve always been a huge fan of originality in games, and TurnOn is definitely an original game. I have played nothing like it before and that is one of the things I enjoyed most about it. Yes, it is a quasi-platformer with some puzzle elements, and those games are all over the place. But this one has its quirks and unique visuals that really made me enjoy it. Another huge surprise for me was the fact that this is a pretty sizeable game. I played for a few hours and still had many neighborhoods that needed to be illuminated. This isn’t a quick flash and cash grab from this studio, which is nice breath of fresh air as well. The last thing that this game really impressed me with was the heavy flow of achievements and, as I popped lightbulbs on, my inner achievement hunter almost burst through, but I refrained and enjoyed the game for what it was. You all should too — don’t pass up this game just because the title makes you giggle. ‘TurnOn‘ your Xbox One for it. You won’t regret it.
An Xbox One review code was provided by Brainy Studio for the purpose of this review