The Bridge is a puzzle game that makes the player look at space in a different way. It’s a 2D game with a beautiful hand drawn style and a black and white aesthetic. From the opening moments of the game, where you move your brilliantly animated little avatar, you realise that this is a title that developer “The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild” hope is the next Braid or Limbo. The game looks like a pencil drawing come to life, and you have to see it in motion to fully appreciate it.
that forces the player to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective.At first glance The Bridge is a beautiful little puzzle game with perhaps an overly simplistic control scheme – it only uses five buttons, and four of those are variations on moving left and right. However this control scheme lends itself incredibly well to the devious puzzles you have to overcome. I found myself often staring for hours at the screen wondering just how everything fitted together, only to be confronted with the solution in a sudden flash of insight and kicking myself for not getting it sooner.
I should probably note at this point that I am not an avid puzzle gamer – whilst I’ll play the occasional puzzle game for fun, I’m no expert on these things. However the amazing thing about The Bridge is that while you’re twisting it’s levels in impossible ways, it’s twisting your brain in ways that you wouldn’t expect – and you gradually begin to understand how the levels work and how the pieces all fall together to actually make sense. This is a stark contrast to other puzzle games where there’s either a distinct and sudden click in your brain when everything starts to make sense, or constant frustrations as new elements are brought in or old ones are shuffled about.
That’s not to say The Bridge isn’t without it’s own frustrating moments. On more than one occasion I found myself close to shaking the screen and shouting “Why won’t you work?!”. The game also suffers from a lack of a decent difficulty curve, though it is easy to see where the attempted difficulty structure is – different chapters, each with six levels that are expected to get gradually harder until the next chapter where it all starts again. This unfortunately didn’t happen as some of the earlier levels in a chapter proved to be so much more tasking than later levels and while completing these harder levels earlier did give me a strong sense of reward, it left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed when the later, easier levels came about.
The music is unremarkable – that is to say you’d be unlikely to remember it a month after playing, though coupled with the art style it sets the oddly unsettling mood of the game well. The slow paced sounds of the menu music somehow contrast well with the equally slow, intrigue inducing music of the levels. It all adds up to create an eerie sensation of uncertainty.
All in all The Bridge offers a solid, polished puzzle experience. While it might lack a certain amount of flair, there’s enough head-scratchingly clever puzzles in it to give even the most twisted of minds a run for their money.
7 M.C. Escher fueled mind-benders out of 10