TurnOn Review

An electrifying journey

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on

ESRB Everyone 10+ rating

Some games may not offer exciting cutting-edge gameplay but they're still a delight to play. In comes TurnOn, a game where you control a spark who's on a mission to bring a city's power back, but is it as electric as it sounds?

TurnOn screenshot 1
I hope the cops don't mind me hanging out on their power lines

Learning how to play TurnOn is quite easy. You basically move left and right across wires and jump up or down to reach new ones. However, up and down aren't as simple as you're used to because you can automatically jump to wires far in the background or foreground. It's odd but once you get the hang of it, you'll appreciate the fact that you're given so much freedom. Exploring the stages as the cute spark while literally brightening up people's days makes for one of the most endearing premises for a game that I've ever played. You'll end up freeing folks from a haywire Ferris wheel, lighting the path for two lovers to meet, and scaring pesky bullies away. Besides exploring, some stages automatically scroll to the music as you time your jumps to survive to the end. Overall, the simple gameplay combines with a charming premise to create one delightful adventure.

TurnOn's cartoonish visuals suit the game world perfectly. Your pint-sized spark has a constantly squishing face that's super cute while environments are mostly dark yet they come to life as you do your magic. Short story sequences sometimes play between stages that are rendered like comic book pages and are fun to watch unfold. Although the soundtrack consists of royalty free songs that the developer purchased, they're all fantastic and manage to fit every moment wonderfully. Sound effects add a layer of immersion as you hear zaps when you jump, people begging for your help, and satisfying dings whenever you pick up collectibles.

TurnOn screenshot 2
Good thing I put a little spark into this couple's love life

The main campaign is impressively lengthy with dozens of stages to master. Each one rewards you with up to three lights according to how many points you've collected so trying to perfect all of them will take quite a long time. Some stages are massive such as ones where you traverse the sides of skyscrapers while others are more intricate and puzzle-oriented in their design. It's great to see such a long campaign that always manages to stay exciting. That being said, it does have its problems. First, it's not always clear what's required to end a level so you may accidentally finish one without fully exploring it which is a very annoying event. Next, the difficulty ranges from a walk in the park to downright frustrating. Most stages can be completed with almost no challenge at all but then some stages may be unexpectedly difficult. If they smoothed out the difficulty then it would be a much more cohesive game.

Finally, I hate to bring this up, but I came across a ton of glitches throughout my playthrough. One time, the Ferris wheel rolled away and the people were applauding so I thought that I completed the level. After waiting for a few minutes while watching the crowd cheer, I realised that nothing's going to happen. So, I restarted the stage and there was no Ferris wheel. I worked my way to the end of the level anyway and to my surprise, I actually finished it! What the heck just happened? Other times, the spark would float in mid-air as if it was on a wire yet nothing was there. Thankfully, I could just drop down whenever that happened.

TurnOn screenshot 3
Now, why would a helicopter chase a poor teeny-weeny spark like me?

TurnOn is simply a delightful game in every sense of the word. It definitely has its problems but they're easily forgivable once you let this little spark relight your sense of wonder.

  • + Charming premise and fun gameplay
  • + Cute graphics and lively soundtrack
  • + Massive and satisfying campaign full of dozens of lengthy stages to master
  • - Frequent glitches are troublesome
  • - It's easy to prematurely finish levels
  • - Difficulty occasionally swings from easy as pie to frustratingly annoying
7.9 out of 10
Gameplay video for TurnOn 4:41

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