The Bridge review
The Bridge is an indie puzzle game that like many others owes its existence to Braid. In fact, many of the presentation choices and mechanics in the game will be reminiscent of Braid, with clear influences from M.C. Escher being thrown in for good measure, not unlike the recently released Antichamber. However, unlike Braid, The Bridge struggles to properly convey its ideas and pace its challenges, resulting in an intriguing game that unfortunately doesn’t hold your curiosity long enough.
There are four different rooms for you to complete with six puzzles in each room. The way each puzzle is completed is by turning the room around, and manipulating gravity. Various new tactics will be introduced to you as the game goes such as switches that place you on different gravity paths, and veils that allow you to change the gravity properties of another object. After completing a room, you are presented with a block of text that moves the story along, similar to Braid.
The world you are dropped in feels a bit disjointed as it doesn’t feel like a world so much as just random objects in space for you to move through. That isn’t so much of a world as it is a test lab. However, the black and white hand sketch graphics are very well done and help give the environment this endearing yet queer tone. The atmospheric soundtrack also helps towards this feeling. However, having completed the game, I still couldn’t understand the plot so if anyone has figured it out, let me know.
Regardless, the cornerstone of the game is gravity and everything you do to figure out the puzzles in the game work towards that idea. However, The Bridge doesn’t have an easy flow of puzzles that help you to intuitively learn the mechanics and concepts of the game. There’s no tutorial and little help in telling you what you need to do aside from a highlight of each object at the beginning of a puzzle. The first levels manage to be easy enough to get you through it but it becomes an issue later on.
For instance, some puzzles you come across will indubitably stump you immediately from the start. Some puzzles giving you little leeway to experiment which results in frustration. Also, since gravity is the main concept, some puzzles may have been solved but you need to go back and redo what you just did because you were slightly off in your calculations. Some puzzles are better than others and at its best; you feel very satisfied when completing a puzzle while in others, you’re just glad it’s over with.
It’s a shame the mechanics of the game aren’t better explained because what you’re actually doing is fun. By manipulating gravity throughout the game, you will be amazed by how the properties of gravity are working. I’m not sure of the realistic integrity of the physics in the game but it is quite remarkable. Some puzzles are done solely with you manipulating gravity and you not moving whatsoever. Others will have you freezing certain objects from gravity so others solely will be affected by it.
One big issue is after completing the game, you are given an extremely vague ending that results in you being presented with harder mirrored versions of the puzzles you just completed. The same environments with different challenges feel like an artificial way to extend the life of this game. Also, once you finish those levels, you get almost the exact same ending. It’s an unsatisfying way to finish a game that needed something more to give your puzzle solving purpose, especially with the game’s short length of a handful of hours.
Sometimes concepts aren’t enough to carry a game to completion, no matter how cool the concept may be. While The Bridge is definitely an enjoyable experience and some challenges are fun to decipher, others are so complex that when you do figure them out, you wonder how the developer expected you to figure that out besides dumb luck. Indie puzzle fans will enjoy this game as will those looking for something more but in the realm of puzzle games from independent developers; it’s definitely one of the lesser titles.