hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: The Bridge

5:00 PM on 03.07.2013 // Patrick Hancock
  @therealhancock

It turns out that ceilings can be floors

Indie puzzle platformers seem like they're a dime a dozen these days. Start with an art style, something unique or just simple pixels, add some cool gameplay hook, and then make some levels. It’s a standard formula that has proven successful in the past, but has also marched towards oversaturation.

It is very impressive, then, that The Bridge is as captivating as it is. With clear inspirations taken from games like Braid and P.B. Winterbottom, The Bridge combines M.C. Escher-esque level design with a world-shifting mechanic to form one of the best puzzle games that I have played in years.


The Bridge (PC)
Developer: Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda 
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Release: February 22, 2013
MSRP: $14.99

The plot of The Bridge is never outright explained, and the main character is never actually named, although it should become painfully obvious who it is once the game begins. The story unfolds through the environment and some post-world text instead of any cutscenes or monologues. The plot is intentionally obtuse, but there are plenty of hints to provide enough direction to the player to start to figure things out.

It's interesting enough to keep the player engaged, and I even found myself wanting to progress, not only to see the next puzzle, but to learn more about just what the heck was going on. The plot is bleak in tone, perfectly matching the game's aesthetic to create a marvelously morose theme.

The game's central mechanic is rotating the world. Using the arrow keys, the player can rotate the world, forcing the main character and any other objects to fall downward -- wherever that may be. The character himself is controlled with W and D to go left and right, respectively. Like any good puzzle game, it starts off simple enough and eventually ramps up sufficiently to leave you scratching your head for a long time. New obstacles and mechanics trickle in to keep things fresh as the player progresses. There are four worlds, each with six levels. Once I finished these four worlds I felt accomplished, but it left me feeling as if so much more could be done.

Then I unlocked the Mirrored Worlds.

Holy crap did I get what I wanted! The first four worlds are comfortable, never becoming too difficult (except perhaps the last level), and do a good job of introducing the base mechanics. The Mirrored Worlds, then, expand upon those base mechanics, add a few more, and drastically increase the difficulty. No one idea ever gets overused or starts to feel stale, as the game is constantly switching between different mechanics and concepts.

The difficulty in these Mirrored Worlds can be a bit of a roller-coaster, as opposed to the expected gradual incline. There were some levels that took me around 20 minutes to complete, followed immediately by a level that I managed to solve on my first attempt. In the grand scheme of things, the difficulty feels appropriate the entire way through and culminates in an incredibly difficult final set of puzzles.

The solutions to some puzzles, however, eventually boiled down to throwing ideas at the wall in order to see what stuck, leaving me with very little satisfaction after completing them. Luckily the game includes a rewind feature, allowing you to undo mistakes or moves that simply did not work. There are still plenty of "a-ha!" moments throughout the various puzzles, which in fact make the trial-and-error puzzles stand out that much more.

There are seven collectable "Wisps" scattered throughout the game, some of which are in some very hard to reach places. There are hints scattered about on the Internet, and they will definitely be needed if you wish to go after all of them. The payoff isn't quite as grand as I would expect for such an obscure and difficult task, but it does seem to flesh out the plot a teensy bit more.

The game's puzzling nature is largely due to the level design, inspired by the art of the famous M.C. Escher. Due to the impossible nature of this design, it is often best to try an idea that seems like it might not work, since it may be exactly what needs to be done. An M.C. Escher quote epitomizes this idea well: "Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible."

The entire game is in grayscale and is the biggest contributor to the game's overall grim theme. Objects such as the main character and obstacles look as if they have been sketched onto the world, constantly animated even while still. The music is great thinking-man's music. Whenever I would hit a wall, I would alt-tab and the music would continue to soothe my ears as I took a break and gave each puzzle some more thought.  

The Bridge surprised me multiple times during the eight or so hours I played it. It surprised me with the devious simplicity of the level design, the dark theme that permeates the entirety of the game, and I was especially surprised by how satisfying the game was as a whole.

Some of the puzzles are a bit of trial-and-error since the more complicated mechanics take a certain amount of experience to fully understand. The difficulty can also be a bit wonky at times, alternating back and forth between "hard as a five star Sudoku" and "easy as a word search."

Despite these issues though, The Bridge is an experience that I haven't had since P.B. Winterbottom and Braid, and it gives both of them a run for their money. Together, these three games now constitute my Holy Trinity of puzzle games.



THE VERDICT

9

The Bridge - Reviewed by Patrick Hancock
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Patrick Hancock, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure therealhancock Tips
Watching and playing competitive games like Dota and StarCraft take up most of his time. His three favorite non-video game things in the world are space, dinosaurs, and puppets. So if there we... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

gajknight avatargajknight
I fart, therefore I am.
extatix avatarextatix
Working on my next collection blog and holy shit, I should sell some stuff already.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
My first word was "fart".
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Philosophical question: if the only way to get Batman: Arkham Knight to run decently on my laptop is to lower all the settings and have it run windowed, am I really playing it?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm farting right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I farted in Gamestop today and wasn't blamed!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I have never farted. #TrueLies
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
Getting banned soon!
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
Here's to hoping Nintendo makes mobile games as compelling as Pac-Man 256...
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I hate when a new game comes out and D-toid gets flooded with stuff about a game I don't know anything about and I'm just stuck here, sitting with myself and my freeware games...
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
It is the middle of the night and Yu-Gi-OH is on TV. Are children with insomnia so common these days?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
My hair's done did and my Teddie cosplay is officially ready for next weekend's Comic-Con! Do I impress you, Sensei? [img]http://i.imgur.com/ZNlOmMf.jpg[/img]
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Replaying Tales of Symphonia for the first time in years, I only just now realized how random the plot is. Our goals are decided at Lloyd's whimsy, while we get major revelations just 'whenever'. Still a good game, but I'm proud to be #TeamBatenKaitos.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Question Time! What's YOUR MGSV Helicopter music?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Today at work, I made a reference to the DK Rap in one of my news pieces. Any day that I get to do that is a good day.
gajknight avatargajknight
Everyone's playing MGSV...and I've just arrived in Skellige in The Witcher 3. At this rate, I'll get 'round to MGSV when the PS7 arrives.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Currently learning Little Trinketry from Valiant Hearts: The Great War on piano. [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
MGSV is literally the Skyrim of stealth. 15 hours 3%... #Sneaker'sdelight
ThinMatrix avatarThinMatrix
The Kickstarter campaign is now live for Socuwan – the quirky indie MMORPG created by the community, for the community! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1465468930/socuwan-the-community-driven-indie-mmorpg
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Excellent video game OST's for the week (no particular order): 1) Super Stickman Golf 2 2) Lethal League 3) Crypt of the Necrodancer
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
The Bridge


  Sep 30

Arizona indie game developers show off their stuff

Valley of the Sun? More like Valley of the Fun, right?


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -