The Bridge Review
Ah, puzzle games, the last bastion of the indie developer. When the world consumes itself with one triple-A shooter after another, indies cast aside their Call Of Duty distaste for something a little more lateral.
The problem is if you’ve played games at all in the past two or three years then chances are you’ve played every possible iteration of a puzzle game just by virtue of playing games.
Such is the unoriginality of the genre, unfortunately, but that makes The Bridge all the more compelling.
Though its overarching mechanic – namely the ability to rotate the world – has been seen in one form or another throughout gaming’s history, its implementation here is fairly unique.
Think Escher style art if it was made into a puzzle game and you’d be surprisingly close to what The Bridge manages.
And much like the artist’s inimitable style, The Bridge is capable of just as many mind-breaking, head-scratching, grey-matter-tickling levels of confusion. Again, it’s all part and parcel of the game.
The objective is simple: navigate your sketchbook drawn character along floors and across ceilings until you reach the exit door. Sometimes you’ll need a key, other times your task is to sensible evade a ball with a gurning face on it.
The art style might look drab and uninspiring, but it adds to the unique tone of the world.
Though the puzzles become harder and the challenges more complex, the underlying mechanic never changes. That’s the hallmark of a damn fine puzzle game, where the gamer doesn’t need to relearn the tools with each new task.
That’s not to say that each level provides the same tasks: each chapter, signalled by a new door in central house, represents a new ‘type’ of challenge.
Initially this is vortexes, which act as black holes dragging in everything into its centre and never letting go. After that it’s inversion – which lets you alter the flow of gravity – and so on.
All the while, the same main mechanics tying the game together remain unaltered – rotate to turn walls into floors and so on.
There’s a decent level of challenge and anyone not a fan of puzzle games – or lateral thinking in general – will likely find themselves stuck on later levels.
And truth be told there are a number of times that you might stumble upon the solution, quickly tapping ‘W’ to enter the exit door before whatever inexplicable mistake had you come across the answer.
It’s a curse of many puzzle games that rely so heavily on physics-based challenges, and mercifully this doesn’t happen often. The puzzles are – for the most part – logical, and that’s all you could really hope for.
It’s levels like this that really highlight the Escher inspiration.
It’s also worth pointing out that The Bridge is a little short. Though you may find yourself stuck on some of the later levels, you’ll still find the games handful of levels completed within three or four hours.
While The Bridge never feels hurried or even lacking – more puzzles could’ve made the game feeling repetitive – the price of £12 does seem just a little bit too steep for what you actually get.
Still, completing the game unlocks you Mirror World – not to be mistaken with the small room of The Mighty Boosh – that pits you against tougher equivalents of all the puzzles you’ve previously completed.
This does add a new level of challenge but it is admittedly a little bit of a cheap ploy to creating new content and you likely won’t feel compelled to go back and recomplete those puzzles all over again.