Also On: PC
Developer: The Quantum Astrophysics Guild
Puzzle games come and go, but the ones that raise the bar and earn eternal praise are the ones that not only step outside the box, but change the way we look and think about this genre. Whether it is in style, visuals, or unique game play, these are the puzzlers that go on to be called classics. Over the last couple of years, games like Braid stood out as such a title that did just that. Majesco’s latest title called The Bridge is one such game that will ultimately be compared to the great Braid, but will find the unfortunate fate of being judged alongside it.
The Bridge has found itself scoring well amongst the critics, but paying the ultimate price for not branching out the innovative ideas created by puzzlers before it, and falling short of what could be known as one of the great ones. While the game’s design is outstanding, and some of the puzzles will stump you for sure, there are just too many of them that are based off sheer luck and timing to be considered thought provoking.
Visually The Bridge is quite stunning, using a pencil style art and being completely black and white really gives the game its own sense of style. It is the style, in fact, that will be the first thing that gamers are drawn to (no pun intended). Each of the game’s 48 levels are uniquely created and really are the game’s shining star. The audio isn’t so stellar, as the lullaby-ish score repeats for each level without a new song to be enjoyed. Your main character whom you are guiding through each puzzle is mute and only the ambient sounds of the levels are evident.
Controls of the game are simple, using the directional pad or joystick will move your player left and right. There isn’t a jump button so you are at the mercy of gravity. The left and right bumper/triggers will rotate each level left or right. Where the tricks lie throughout the world of The Bridge is the obstacles and placement of them in each level in which you need to move yourself and the world successfully to reach the opposite door and free yourself from each level. The things that await you from getting to your point of origin could be keys, creatures that look to do you harm, and even time and space itself. Fear not true believers as if you happen to either fall off a level, mess up, or meet your maker, there is an option to rewind as far as you need to and regain the advantage over the level you are trying to master. It is how you use the control and rewind feature that will ultimate lead to your success.
As for levels, some are ingenious, some are not so hot and will make you scratch your head and think to yourself, “That was it?” There are some puzzles that will use gravity, some that will use mechanisms, and others that will even use inverted reality as if you were on the other side of a mirror. It isn’t the ideas that affect The Bridge’s overall enjoyment, but it just seems that some of the levels aren’t as thought inducing or fleshed out enough for complete satisfaction. I will admit that there were a few that really messed with my brain, though on the other hand, there are others that you think are messing with your mind, but the objective ends up being how well you time moving and rotating your guy until he falls exactly and with pin point accuracy, where he needs to be. These are the levels that are the most infuriating as they take more dexterity and patience than overall brainpower. Of course of the 48 levels, I would say maybe a ¼ of them meet this criteria, which I guess you can say that The Bridge is ¾ of a great game. Herein lies the game’s greatest weakness, replay factor. Sure it’s a fine go round the first time through, but the game offers no leaderboards, no time limits, and no alternate conclusions. The only real value in replay comes in earning achievement points that will have you completing a level quickly or even quietly. None of these factors change the outcome of the game and makes you wonder why these objectives were not added in game rather than as Achievement.
Overall, for the cheap digital price, you have a quaint little puzzler in The Bridge that will keep you entertained for a decent amount of time. Just don’t expect to revisit this land once you’ve had your way with it as it is a town that really sticks to the catch phrase, “been there, done that “, once you’ve completed it. While imitation is the highest form of flattery, in the case of The Bridge, it’s just a decent imitation at best.
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