Review: The Bridge

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Disclaimer: Before you read further, I want to be honest – I was unable to finish the game. Not because I had a deadline that I didn’t meet or anything, but because I couldn’t get through a puzzle even after following along with a video walkthrough. I really, really tried, and spent a good chunk of time on it. However, I believe that I played enough of the game to give you an honest review, and I made myself aware of how the rest of the game played out by watching video walkthroughs.

The Bridge is an indie puzzle game created by by Mario Castañeda and Ty Taylor – The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild. Check out the launch trailer:

Plot

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The game starts out with your character sleeping at the base of a tree. You wake him up by conking him on the head with an apple (à la Isaac Newton), and from there, the game itself starts. There is not much of a plot; most of the game revolves around solving the puzzles. The story that is there is revealed after every six levels by reading a statue’s plaque, similar to Braid‘s books, and the vibe of the story is vaguely reminiscent of Braid as well.

Graphics and Sound

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This game is GORGEOUS. It strongly reminded me of M.C. Escher’s artwork (which the creators say was an influence, and it shows), especially his staircase pieces. Everything is black and white, and the game doesn’t tax your system very much at all – I never had a hiccup from my PC, which is starting to get on in years. All of the levels give you something different to look at, and that was what I looked forward to in the game – seeing what crazy artwork was coming up next. There are also very well-done static illustrations at the beginning of each level on the title card. A nice touch I appreciated was that at the start of levels, your character is sketched in (you hear drawing sounds) and the outline of him stays so that you know where you started.

Soundwise, the music is classical and very beautiful, but there isn’t a lot of it. Unfortunately, if you’re like me and hopeless at the puzzles, you will soon be absolutely sick of it. There is no voiced dialogue in The Bridge.

Gameplay

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Here’s where most of my problems with the game lie. From the very beginning, this game reminded me strongly of Braid (which I also couldn’t stand). You’re not jumping around like in Braid, but you are able to rewind time if you mess up. Which you will. A lot. The option to reset the puzzle completely is in the main menu. You control the game with a gamepad or the keyboard; I used my Xbox controller. The controls are simple: you press A to open doors, move the stick to control your character, and use the shoulder buttons to rotate the screen. Later in the game, you will also have to use the D-pad for a certain function, but the game never tells you this like they do with everything else, which I found frustrating. The controls are fluid, but also overly sensitive. Often, rotating the screen just a centimeter too far would result in failure/death. Since you can rewind, it’s not a huge deal, but I quickly got frustrated and annoyed.

The game consists of an initial four chapters, each of which have six levels in them. The goal of each level is always to get the key or keys to unlock the door that will take you to the next level. The one I was unable to pass was chapter four, level six. If I had been able to continue, I would have gone through the first four chapters again, but in a “mirrored,” more difficult world. At first, it looks like there are only three chapters, but as you continue through the game, more are revealed – otherwise, the game would be ridiculously short.

As you progress, more and more obstacles are thrown at you, which are pretty creative – balls that will kill you if they touch you called “Menaces,” voids that suck you in, buttons to push, crazy gravity, sliding panels – but the game becomes really, really difficult when all of these elements are in place.

Final Verdict

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Score: D

I didn’t enjoy the gameplay of The Bridge at all; I found it much too difficult and frustrating to be enjoyable. The art, however, is beautiful, and I appreciate the effort and creativity that was put into the game. It just wasn’t to my personal taste. When I finished levels, I didn’t feel accomplished, I just felt relieved that I was done. If you enjoyed Braid, you would probably like this…the feel of the games was very similar – to me, anyway.

You can get The Bridge on Steam for PC for $14.99. It has sixteen Steam achievements.

If you need help, I highly recommend ChristopherOdd’s video walkthroughs.

Loved it? Hated it? Let me know in the comments.

[Disclaimer: A review code was provided for me to review this game.]

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