Also On: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Developer: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
If aesthetics were everything, The Bridge would be a pretty strong Game of the Year contender. After all, it's basically an M.C. Escher sketch come to life. It's all lines that curve into each other, and bridges that look like optical illusions, and arches that should be physically impossible. Not only that, every single screen looks like it was lovingly hand drawn in pencil — which, considering the game was designed by a two-person team, may not be that far from the truth.
Of course, aesthetics aren't everything in games. They need to have gameplay that lives up to the graphics, or else you just have a bunch of nice-looking pictures. And on that front, I'm not sure that The Bridge quite delivers.
I mean, we're not talking about a gap between graphics and gameplay on the order of, er, The Order. The Bridge is simply an unassuming puzzle game that can't seem to find the right level of difficulty. Half the time the puzzles are really easy, and don't require very much brainpower to solve…but then you'll suddenly run into one that seems to border on impossible, and you're stuck playing around with gravity for several minutes until your little puzzle-solving man suddenly finds himself in front of the door that exits the level.
It's possible, mind you, that those uncharacteristically difficult levels still reveal one of the game's strengths, which is that it's got controls that are pretty easy to get the hang of. Press the right shoulder button and the screen tilts right, and the left shoulder button tilts it — you guessed it — left. Throw in a rewind button to erase your mistakes and another one to invert the screen, and you've pretty much discovered all there is to know. That may make those infuriating levels even more infuriating (since half the time it's all just a matter of trial and error), but at the same time, it means you're never fiddling around trying to do the impossible.
I think, though, that this lack of seemingly impossible levels is what makes The Bridge fall a little short of being a truly great game. Sure, impossible levels are hugely annoying, but they at least present a challenge that goes deeper than, "Just a bit to the left…no, rewind, a bit to the right…now left…left…rewind…" There's a place for that stuff, for sure, but sometimes you want it to go a little deeper. The Bridge, unfortunately, doesn't quite deliver that depth.