Bridge Constructor Portal Review
PolyBridge skills don’t fail me now
Available on: Steam
Genre: Physics Building Sim
Publisher: Headup, Whisper Games
Oh the fun time building bridges so people can safely continue their travels. The trial and error it takes as you continue to test which parts work and which parts break under the pressure. Does each element work out for the better or will it cause people to die? And more importantly, will these vehicles be able to go through these portals?
When looking for a puzzle game that will test your mind constantly, you can’t go wrong with bridge construction games. With Bridge Construction Portal, this does not deviate with testing the mind. With the levels starting out easy to get the hang of things, each bridge jumps in difficulty throughout all 60 levels. The only difference between this and other bridge building games is the inclusion of Portal as instead of building a bridge that looks like everyday people would use when they travel, you’re in testing chambers. And instead of empty vehicles…well there may be people on them.
Unlike other bridge building games, this is a little bit more relaxed. You don’t have to worry about moving bridge parts, well unless the bridge is swinging, you know how much money you spent but you’re not on a budget, you can just have one vehicle go to the finish to continue, and having a bridge piece break is no big deal. The challenge comes from the Portal objects and if you want to do convoys. Don’t worry about the people on the vehicles, that would be ridiculous, the vehicles only need to be there to count. You might want to invest in some security though as you will be cited as killing them and someone might enact revenge.
Depending on the level, it can contain turrets, companion cubes, gel, energy orbs, or a combination of these along with portals which occur in most levels. When the turrets get sight of a vehicle, it will start to shoot at it, so be sure to find out a way to destroy it so you can succeed. Companion cubes are usually used to press buttons the vehicles won’t be able to hit, but can be also used as bullet shields and to destroy turrets. There is also the inclusion of bouncy and speed gel on the track which can help with the portals as the speed hurdles them through the bridge. Lastly, and more annoyingly, there are energy orbs which need to go into their sockets, which act as the buttons, but you need to bounce them off of roads to do it. Which can lead to a lot of adjusting so the timing can be just right.
You only need to bring one vehicle, or in some levels one set, through a bridge to be able to continue. But if you want more challenge, you can choose to do a convoy. A convoy can range from 3 vehicles to 16 vehicles that can be on the bridge at the same time, so if the bridge can stand one, it might not stand to a convoy. It gets even harder on the levels that require multiple lanes or vehicle timing. If there are energy orbs or companion cubes that can get in the way, be sure to account for that too as they will get in the way as well.
With Portal being in the design’s forefront, I was not disappointed. The menu screen is nicely done, with objects being added to it with every level, as you are set as a worker. Each level is treated as a test chamber, with the level card being the same as it would be if it was in a Portal game, and Glados making an appearance to help you out and give you information about the facility. However, Glados does stop talking to you for long periods of time so if you like Glados you will be wishing for more and if you don’t wish the silence was for the whole game. And adding the fact that in the test chambers, the vehicles have three people, two of which can comically fall off and out of the test chamber as they undoubtedly wish they called in sick.
Most of the things I wished this game had comes from my experience in PolyBridge. This desperately needed a fast forward button as there are quite a few long levels that do need a lot of tweaking depending on what elements are there. Having a fast forward button would definitely help in times where you just need to see if one element is working out without having to wait long. I also wished that there was a click drag select, and with this a copy paste, as this helps a lot as symmetry is the key and if you mess up on a whole area you can delete everything rather than having to select pieces or connectors one by one. You do also get an undo button but no redo button so if you end up undoing too much, you won’t be able to take it back.
On top of that, it has problems of its own. The vehicles can and will glitch out and cause the back wheel to go under (through?) the bridge piece and cause you to slightly adjust it. While it might seem that it was because it might have been a little bit too high at first, it dawns on you during a convoy when only one vehicle gets glitched and all the others are fine. There were also instances where objects fell differently without the player doing anything to change it as well. In one of the later levels, a companion cube has to hit turrets and when it does it tilts so it can’t get stuck on the platform. In that level I had those objects hit differently three times, one of which caused a turret to hit the next one thus causing the cube to be stuck on the platform, till it decided to fall correctly.
I have to say that despite the frustration that came with the glitching wheels and randomness, I did have fun building bridges in this Portal styled bridge construction game. As I never played the original Bridge Constructor game, nor its spinoffs, my experience in PolyBridge and their features that made it easier on the player was in Bridge Constructor Portal. With the leniency on your budget, this might be the more relaxed version as you only need to get the vehicles to the finish. So if you like bridge building and don’t mind the drawbacks it has, go for it. But if you know you don’t like games like PolyBridge, and really only getting it because it holds the Portal name, you won’t like this one.