Bridge Constructor Portal is developed by Clockstone software Which has made games like Greed: Black Border, a sci fi dungeon crawler in the vein of Diablo and all the other bridge constructor games, its also Published by Headup games, not valve software. Valve seem to have licensed out their ip to join the storied collection of bridge construction games.
The last time Valve allowed another developer to use their portal ip was for 2015’s lego dimensions.
Bridge Construction Portal is simply a bridge building game where forklifts carry supplies from one end to another. Along the way turrets, acid, laser walls and general poor layout will try to stop you from completing your goal. The forklifts are pretty sturdy and as long as you get them going the right direction they can recover from most crashes.
The thing with bridge constructor is (pause) I am awful at, the absolute worst. My brain just doesn’t get bridges. I don’t know if its just my limited grasp of physics or my short attention span or my inability to understand what cause and effect really mean. I caught myself building bridges that were far to elaborate for what the puzzle called for or sometimes not understanding what the puzzle was actually trying to get across.
I found that some stages started with partially constructed bridges that I took as a baseline to from. But as I built on them, I kept backtracking and scrapping the entire bridge and felt the developers were building false starts to challenge more intermediate players. I definitely felt challenged and more specifically defeated. Unlike the predecessor that this game is based on. I didn’t come to the eventual brilliant solution on how to solve the puzzle. Instead my solutions were wonky nightmares that would make any engineer quiver in fear.
Early in the game I found my zany bridge constructions as fun romps and caught myself chuckling as I pulled of stunts that I felt shouldn’t have worked. But as I progressed I kept checking the games only tutorial called best practices. Its a guide that is meant to give you tips on the basics on bridge construction,(pause) and though some were helpful, others only added to my confusion.
I originally thought that maybe a better tutorial would of helped me understand how to play the game better but as I kept playing I found that the game became more like work and my breaking point was having to look up a guide the developer provided to reviewers beyond a certain point in the game. After seeing their solution and my 30+ minute attempt at a solution I simply believe that this type of game is not for me. If you are someone that enjoys the construction and fine control of some of these amazing rube goldberg machine than Bridge constructor Portal might be more up your but if you are more like me and the idea of a well formed bridge doesn’t stiffen your scaffolding than maybe a pass is in order.
As for the writing, It pulls from the portal universe with as much as you are an employee at Aperture labs. There are the overly complicated descriptions on simple items but that is where the carry over ends,unfortunalty the wit and charm of portal is not. Though Ellen McLain of Glados fame does lend her voice to the role again, there is not much added to it that you couldn’t get from a sound file from Portal 1 and 2. I wonder if this will be the last time will be graced with Mclain performance as Glados? As Valve has shown a reluctance to revist their old franchises.
For me the game just doesn’t illicit the most basic response that a game should push in anyone. (pause) Interest, interest can be about story, or learning new mechanics or completion of a game. I got half way through the game and found all the elements the game was introducing, which is stuff pulled directly from portal 1& 2 with the gels that both speed up and make bouncing a thing. I had no interest and this is definitely correlated with my already paltry ability to actually play through the levels. A game so not for me that it has helped realize the types of games I do like.
Hopefully this will allow Valve to continue to give out their Ip’s to other developers because even if I wasn’t a fan of this game in particular I do like the idea of letting other developers mess around with their IP, especially as I’ve said before, they aren’t using them.
In summation. I enjoyed moments but overall I can’t recommend a game that forgets the basic tenant of the series its based on. Make the player feel smart.