When I began playing The Bridge, I was delighted that my first impression was that it felt similar to Braid. Bridge copies Braid’s rewinding, but didn’t make it part of the game proper, it is always just a way to undo errors. Another element borrowed from Braid is the story telling method with a similarly nebulous backstory. Unfortunately, this is where the similarities end.
By the time I had finished The Bridge, I was generally dissapointed. Not only with the gameplay but also with the graphics and artwork.
The gameplay is actually quite simple. You have movement and you have rotation, thats it. The game’s difficulty comes from putting you in odd situations where rotation or movement kills you, and you have to puzzle your way out of the situation. There’s a few physics puzzles thrown in for good measure.
The early puzzles are all too easy. By the time you reach a difficult puzzle, the game is over. Luckily for us, the game has you replay the levels in a mirror-mode with slightly more difficulty. Although repeating a level with slight differences is a deflating experience.
The main issue I have with the game is that the rules of the game change without indication from time to time. For instance, sometimes your screen rotation is locked to the angle of the floor, sometimes not. Sometimes you can fall through an edge and later on you won’t. I believe it has something to do with the last edge you touched and not the angle of the edge you are falling through, but I’m still unsure.
The graphics of the game are in black and white. Other reviewers have praised the art because of the M.C. Escher-esque appearance, which I admit is very cool at times. However, other puzzle games, such as Braid and Fez, which are both excellent puzzle games, overwhelm you with beautiful colors which help calm you during the frustration of puzzles. Beautiful colors and nice backdrops can provide a pleasant distraction. Bridge’s black and white theme pushes a feeling of drab hopelessness onto the player. At the end of the game, you are presented with a full color scene and only then do you really realize what you’ve missed. I feel robbed of a better experience.
As I mentioned earlier the story is told in a similar way to Braid’s. That is, various objects spill out cryptic phrases or quotations and its up the player to put them together. The very end of the game also helps push you in the right direction. Although, its a bit open ended.
Overall Score: 70/100
I think the game is a ‘good’ puzzle game, but it pales in comparison to better puzzle games I’ve played. It’s still worth playing if you enjoy the puzzle genre, its always fun to think in new ways.