+Great mechanics like the vortex or veil
+Impressive pencil-drawn visuals
-Requires a lot of trial-and-error
-Some solutions require a lot of out-of-the-box thinking
Final score: 9 / 10
Controller support: Yes
Memory:1 GB RAM
Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
OS:Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
Processor:1.7 GHz or Greater
Memory:2 GB RAM
Graphics:Pixel Shader 2.0
Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
Great puzzle games with personality and charm are quite rare, as many prefer just to turn themselves into platformers and offer only the most basic of challenges.
The Bridge, however, isn't such a title, as the downloadable game made by independent developers Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda consists of a series of puzzles that start out relatively easy and that quickly become fiendishly complex.
With an impressive pencil-drawn visual style, plus the promise of puzzles that use perspective and physics, The Bridge is looking like an impressive game.
Does it deliver on its promises or should it be erased? Let's find out.
Play as the Professor ...
... and solve many different puzzles
The Bridge puts players in the shoes of a professor who needs to complete different puzzle rooms inside his house.
While the premise may sound wacky, the gameplay isn't, as The Bridge delivers some of the most imaginative puzzles around, with players needing to navigate all sorts of complex constructions that borrow heavily from M.C. Escher and require out-of-the-box thinking to even comprehend, let alone manipulate.
The level design is top notch and, besides tricking you with different illusions, the various levels always manage to seem fresh as not a lot of actual content is recycled through the campaign, which is broken down into chapters.
You can guide your character to the left or right and rotate the world in those two directions. These shifts have an effect on both the protagonist and the various other physics objects, including keys needed to unlock the exit, or the menace(s), which are a sort of giant balls that kill the character if they touch him.
Even if you die, you have the option of either restart the whole puzzle from the beginning or to use a special rewind feature that really comes in handy when trying out certain strategies or when pulling off quick maneuvers.
While the first half of the puzzle rooms are relatively intuitive, the ones towards the end become very complex and introduce new mechanics like vortexes that suck anything in them, the ability to invert the character to interact with specific items, or entering a special veil that allows you to freely rotate the room without gravity affecting the actual character.
In case you get stuck, the game also has a thorough hint system that walks you through the actual solution to the puzzle. Even so, some hints might be too confusing or ambiguous, so you'll still have to use your brain in order to really figure out the complete solution or to get some of the tricky achievements that are included with the game on the PC. The hint system has been eliminated from the final version of the game, so players will certainly have to use their brains and do a lot of trial-and-error until they find the right sequence of moves.
What's more, once you finish the game, you unlock an alternate version that includes more challenging variations on existing puzzles and even an alternate ending.
As a result, The Bridge will last around 5 hours on your first playthrough and even more on your second, depending on how smart and fast you are.
You'll certainly want to spend more time with the game, however, as the gorgeous black and white visuals make everything seem like they were drawn with a pencil and the haunting soundtrack really completes the experience by solidifying the atmosphere.
Use hints when stuck ...
... and maneuver the Menace
The Bridge is a delightful puzzle game that offers more than a great challenge for players who want a workout for their brains. In case things get tricky, you can always use the hint system which, even if a bit ambiguous at times, should help you solve most of the levels.
Throw in the even more challenging alternate version of the game's campaign, which is unlocked after completing it for the first time, and you'll certainly get your money's worth from The Bridge.