As the name suggests, Bridge Constructor is a game about building bridges, how hard can that be? Playing through the game gave me a new perspective on the structures and shapes of bridges – they aren’t just built to look nice – the metal girder structures and reinforced cables have been placed with physics and function in mind and not just to be aesthetically pleasing.
An earthquake has rocked the island nation of Camatuga, and with the kind of destruction an earthquake brings, all the bridges within and connecting the five small islands of Camatuga have been destroyed – your job is to rebuild them. With various materials at your disposal, you must build different sized bridges and keep within budget. Once complete, you must test each one to see if it can sustain the weight of cars, trucks, and once you’ve completed all the bridges, the tank truck.
Each level poses a different problem, funds and materials might be limited, the gap you need to span could be really wide, or there is a central platform that must be constructed in order to add vital support – there’s plenty to keep the puzzles challenging although after a while repetition does start to creep in.
Each puzzle has a grid overlaid to the area, which makes an ideal guide for those wanting to build a bridge of perfect symmetry. Each grid you span with wood, steel, concrete pillars or cable will cost you money, and you only have so much to spend – on top of this, some scenarios will only allow you to build in one or two materials.
As you build, the road is laid automatically as you span each horizontal grid, although you can create a steady incline or drop. Meanwhile, placing vertical anchors will create struts – essential for giving your bridge stability. When you’re ready, you can preview your build before setting traffic across it, each part of your construction is coloured to show the stresses and strains that the bridge is under, leaving you to decide whether you need to make adjustments, or chance it and see if it will hold – it’s a great mechanic particularly for younger gamers to learn about structures and physics.
I found it interesting to see how the different vehicle weights effected the strain of the different struts and which shapes worked best to provide a strong structure, however, watching vehicles slowly travel over your creations can be rather tedious, particularly when it’s a long bridge – a speed up option would have certainly been a welcome addition.
While some levels are easy and can be solved using the same theory as previous problems, there are plenty that are tricky to solve, particularly when you have been restricted in the materials you can use. Like most games about creation, you’re limited by your own creativity at solving a construction problem. Do you be an adventurous builder aspiring to create wonderful creations? Or do you use the same solutions to build each bridge? There are no bonus points for presentation; you get those for finishing your bridge under budget!
Once you have completed repairing the bridges of the island nation of Camatuga, there’s the Titin Islands to tackle – also known as SlopeMania, which is appropriate, as each puzzle needs to be solved by creating sloped bridges. This advanced area will need your entire structural prowess if you are to beat it, and it’s also more creative and fun than it’s more serious neighbour Camatuga – when was the last time you crossed a bridge that was a ramp that launched you to the other side?
While I am far from being a bridge expert, I will offer one tip – mute the sound. What starts off as relaxing ambient music, becomes repetitive and irritating, funnily enough the game launched with the sound muted – keep it that way!
Bridge Constructor might have a limited game mechanic that seems like it would be more at home being played on a mobile device, but I found it to be an utterly addictive experience – I was intent on making sure all three weights of vehicle could cross my bridges, and even when my designs painfully crumbled under their own weight, it just made me more determined to rebuild and improve them until I got it right.
Thanks to Xbox and Headup Games for their support
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