2old2play was able to get our hands the mind bending indie game The Bridge that hit the Steam store February 22nd. The game’s creators describe it as “a 2D logic puzzle game that forces the player to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective. It is Isaac Newton meets M. C. Escher. Explore increasingly difficult worlds, each uniquely detailed and designed to leave the player with a pronounced sense of intellectual accomplishment.”
Should You Cross This Bridge?
That’s a pretty accurate description. The art style definitely makes you feel like you are in the middle of an Escher painting. The music’s ambience makes you feel like you are walking the rotating halls in the twisted mind of Tim Burton while he’s writing a noir Sci-Fi B film. The puzzles do get difficult quickly but reward you with that “a-ha” moment sense of accomplishment when things finally click.
Indier Than Thou
I feel like I’m really becoming a video game snob. I do have a soft spot for free range organic indie games from small studios. The Bridge was developed by just two people: programmer and game designer Ty Taylor and artist Mario Castaneda. It grew out of a master’s degree Capstone project. The Bridge already won many awards including being selected as one of the Penny Arcade Expo’s Top 10 indie games at the 2012 Seattle showcase.
With a gaming PC hooked up to our main television I like to use Steam’s Big Picture and a wireless XBox controller with a PC adapter. A lot of the indie games I play fall short of stretching to a 52” TV in full resolution and don’t have controller support but this worked perfectly with both. It even makes use of the rumble pack.
The game begins with a nod to physics great Sir Isaac Newton. He sleeps under an apple tree and awakens when you (spoiler alert!) shake the tree and an apple hits him in the noggin. From there you wander through some fields to a house with several doors that lead to the puzzles. The game consists of four levels with six puzzles each. Once you make it through them all you unlock alternate mirror versions of each. In total, the game features 48 puzzles and two unique endings. I would prefer all the puzzles to be open at once so you could wander over and try others when you get stuck on one. At least for levels two and three you can walk into either door but that’s still only two possible puzzles at a time. I guess it was designed that way for story consistency but I didn’t quite follow the narrative so I would have been fine with doing the puzzles in any order.
You navigate the puzzles by walking the floors, ceilings and walls and flipping around the gravity. In many levels you need to both avoid and use to your advantage “The Menace” which are angry looking balls that remind me of the 80’s Madballs
Thankfully, the game is only in 2-D so it didn’t make my brain hurt as much as some of the levels in Portal 2. The XBox controller works great and, once you get used to how things flip, the levels are easy to navigate. There were a few spots in the game where I couldn’t tell if I’m just bad at falling or if the physics were a bit off; though it finally did what I wanted after a few resets. The game has a really nice rewind feature. You can rewind a few seconds or as far back as the beginning of the level if you mess up. Definitely a bonus for physics puzzle games as it is often frustrating to restart the entire level to do the same thing over and over again when just missing. The game features another neat element for solving puzzles. Every time you “die” the game leaves a sort of ghostly imprint of you in that spot so its easier to remember what you already attempted and failed.
I played with my husband and it took us about three hours to get through the initial 24 puzzles. I started a few of the mirrors and I’d say its probably another four hours or so to play all the way through. One of the levels I found toughest was III-II. I had to give up for the night and try again before I realized I had to hit a button to rotate around the bridge symbols (a new game mechanic in this set of levels). It was pretty simple after that. The last two levels were really challenging. Luckily, just two days after launch there were already walkthroughs up on Youtube. If you really get stuck and can’t take it anymore, you can always check those out.
This game was a great way to spend a snowy weekend at home. If you’re a fan of physics puzzle games definitely add The Bridge
to your collection. It features a good difficulty ramp and doesn’t really get too infuriating until the last puzzle. Using 2old2play's rating system I went back and forth between New and Price Drop but it is an indie and it’s only $15. Don’t wait for the Steam sale. Support their careers and pick it up now!