Those who may not be familiar with Bridge Constructor, it's a series of games that task the player with constructing bridges and allowing vehicles to pass across. Resources are limited and only certain anchor points can be used for structural support. It's a challenging physics game that punishes you for mistakes in calculations and terribly thought out designs.
Portal is Valve's highly successful puzzle game that sees you summon, leap through and spend countless hours messing with portals. Bridge Constructor Portal fuses both games together into a physics-based puzzle game that will reward you with witnessing vehicle driving lemmings flying across the screen and faceplanting into walls, or punish you with collapsed bridges and supports.
It's a game you never thought should exist but will be happy it does after spending some time in Aperture.
GLaDOS makes a return and acts as the friendly assistant, taking one through the ropes. The only materials available are suspension cabling and metal girders and that's all you'll receive throughout the game to construct bridges. What makes it challenging is different map layouts, the use of portals, turrets, and acid. To further complicate matters, bridge supports can only be attached to anchor points.
What makes Bridge Constructor games interesting is the use of physics and weight. Each girder you add to a bridge will include weight, which the supports will need to withstand. Should parts of the bridge turn red, you'll need to rethink part of the design else you'll have to fish poor lemmings out of the green goo. Instead of merely moving from left to right, Portal elements and theming will mandate most of the area to be used and it's easy to get into a position where vehicles are almost hitting one another mid-air.
Bridge Constructor is most reward because it places no limitations on your creativity — you can place as many panels and cables as you wish, so long as you create a path to the exit that the vehicles can take. It's satisfying to watch as all your fellow test subjects move into a portal and fly out the other end, resulting in a party celebration upon completion.
When testing your constructions, only one vehicle ventures out but your creations will need to endure an entire convoy if you wish to wear the crown. It's a neat way to allow those who aren't quite fond of fiddling around with designs to perfect them to progress through the levels while allowing others who enjoy achieving perfection to really knuckle down and not lose a single vehicle.
Gameplay is smooth and animations are great. It's also easy to take advantage of the physics mechanic thanks to the realistic implementation of gravity, which allows for some really interesting bridge designs. You won't need a powerhouse PC to run this, though gamers with lesser computers will want to turn down detail settings to ensure smooth performance.
It's also easy to get into, even if you've never played Bridge Constructor or Portal before, though experience with the former will play a part in beating the game with a maximum score. Everything is handled by the mouse and as you progress through the 60 levels, you'll encounter various obstacles. Easier levels will make use of drops and acid while later ones will include turrets and require some out-the-box planning.
Unfortunately, things are a little limited. There's the choice between girders and cabling. That's it. You have to use your imagination to get the vehicles to the exit using just two resources. It feels as though more should have been included — perhaps different types of materials. It's possible to simply spam materials and make it work in some instances since there's no real limit to the number of supports you can use.
Luckily, these drawbacks are minor and shouldn't ruin the experience.
Returning to Apature?
Whether or not you should pick up Bridge Constructor Portal depends on two things. Are you a fan of Bridge Constructor? Do you miss Apature and GLaDOS after seven years? If the answer to both questions is "yes", then you will like this game. Should you not be a fan of Bridge Constructor, you likely will not last through all the levels in this title but may find enjoyment from some GLaDOS puns and other humor.
Bridge Constructor Portal will not blow you away, but it's a fun puzzle title that makes good use of portals and puts a new twist on a classic formula. For Portal fans, it's an excellent opportunity to revisit the classic world of Portal with a slightly different approach.
- Has portals.
- Limited gameplay.
- Humor is a hit and miss.
Bridge Constructor Portal is currently available on Steam for $9.99. This copy was purchased by the review, running on a PC with an overclocked Intel Core i5-6600K, GTX 1070, 16GB of RAM, and Windows 10.
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