Developer(s) – The Quantum Astrophysics Guild
Publisher(s) – The Quantum Astrophysics Guild
Designer(s) – Ty Taylor & Mario Castaneda
PEGI – 3
Programmed by Ty Taylor and inspired by both the artwork of MC Escher and the scientific legacy of Sir Isaac Newton, The Bridge is an intricate puzzle game combining black and white hand-drawn graphics with gameplay involving the manipulation and traversing of a series of stages to progress through. For many reasons, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and was extremely impressed with what it to offer in almost every aspect.
Graphics – 8/10
Making use of a unique art style as opposed to cutting-edge graphics, The Bridge is presented entirely in black and white and illustrated in graphite pencil reminiscent of the works of MC Escher, who the main character bears a striking resemblance. The visual style works wonderfully well to perpetuate the atmosphere of the game, which is intriguingly morbid and dark. There is also cleverly effective use of lighting throughout the game to further add to this atmosphere. The game’s soundtrack also compliments the game particularly well, as it is incredibly subtle as well as foreboding at times.
Gameplay – 7/10
The game involves the player having to solve a series of complex puzzles whereby they must both navigate through with the player character and manipulated the stage around him in order to either access different areas of the stage or collect keys in order to progress to the next puzzle. As the game progresses, new elements are periodically added to further add to the challenge and keep the game fresh throughout. At one point, in particular, the player must begin to switch between two characters to access different areas and to collect different-colored keys corresponding to the different hues of both characters. The game’s mechanics make it a subtle, challenging, and enjoyable experience for the duration. There’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had for solving each puzzle, as they require a great deal of outside-the-box thinking to solve.
Controls – 10/10
The game’s controls pose no problems regardless of how greatly it differs from traditional 2D side-scrolling titles. It’s particularly impressive how the developers have made the game work as well as it does. Over the last few years there’s been a great deal of innovation made with the 2D side-scrolling genre with games such as The Swapper, Limbo, Super Meat Boy and Stick It To The Man and The Bridge is yet another excellent example of this.
Lifespan – 4/10
Disappointingly, however, to complete the game to 100% can take there around 7 ½ hours, which for a game with this much innovation and enjoyment to be had is criminally short. Though lasting longer than other indie side-scrollers like the aforementioned Limbo and The Swapper, this game just needed that extra push in terms of longevity, in my opinion, to make it stand out more among the indie development community.
Storyline – 7/10
However, what does make this game stand out fairly well among the indie community is its story. The story follows an unnamed character navigating his way through each of the game’s puzzles in order to progress through. Elements of the story are revealed with each series of puzzles solved, and new story elements are introduced along with new elements of gameplay. With everything that comes with this game in terms of gameplay, controls, graphics, etc, they all work together in a very subtle way to contribute to the substance of the story on both conscious and subconscious levels in my opinion. But that, in and of itself, is where the quality of the story lies; that’s it’s particularly open to interpretation, much like the works of the people who inspired the creation of the game.
Originality – 8/10
The Bridge is a game that is unique in every respect, down to the graphics, gameplay, control scheme, and of course, the story. There are games that have come and gone that have necessitated the mechanics of manipulating not only the character but the environment around them (Fez, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and The Witness to name but a few), but none of them have been handled in such a way as to how it’s been handled in this title. It’s particularly impressive considering the general limitations that come with 2D side-scrolling compared to 3D open-world games.
To summarize, The Bridge is a unique, subtle, and deliberately paced game, which will make players feel challenged, satisfied, and perhaps even inspired to create their own interpretive work of art. Though it doesn’t last as long as it really ought to do, what there is to enjoy can be done so thoroughly and it’s definitely worth playing through to feel the satisfaction of completing it.