I never played the original Bridge Constructor game, but after playing through Bridge Constructor Portal, I definitely should. Bridge Constructor Portal is a wonderful little puzzle game that kept me entertained for hours. One of the better puzzle games I have played as of late.
The physics. In a game that is built around physics simulation, the physics should definitely be top-notch. Bridge Constructor Portal does not disappoint on that front. The physics were great and all of the methods for building the different bridges felt at least somewhat realistic (minus all of the portal mechanics). The game even provides the player with a little handbook of “best bridge building techniques” if the player were to ever get stuck.
Variety of mechanics. Not only does the player have to deal with the physics behind actually building a stable bridge, but all of the mechanics that players know and love from Portal have made their way over. This includes aerial faith plates, turrets, gel, companion cubes, and yes, the portals too. All of these mechanics were introduced gradually over the course of the game, giving the player time to adjust for each addition. The later levels use all of these mechanics and are quite difficult, but are always a blast to solve. This is in part due to the excellent level design throughout the game. There were only a few dull puzzles out of the sixty total.
The two victory conditions. Bridge Constructor Portal has two separate victory conditions for the player to go for. The first of which just requires one vehicle to make it to the end of the level, whereas the second requires an entire convoy to cross to the end. I only managed to get a convoy across on maybe a fourth of the levels, as most of my bridges would self-destruct under the weight of just one. This dual-victory condition provides more content for those that actually go for the 100%. Not only will the player have to construct decent bridges, but these bridges will need to be able to hold up several vehicles at once. It definitely makes the game a whole lot harder. I had enough trouble just trying to get one across, some levels even taking up to thirty minutes to reach that goal. I could easily double my playtime if I went for the 100%.
Wall clipping. Now, while the physics may be one of the best parts of the game, that does not mean it comes without at least a couple issues. For one, there is a very noticeable clipping issue when building support beams parallel to the ground. As in, when I build a box that is literally sitting on the ground, it would sometimes start falling through the ground. This method of building seemed to work half of the time, where the boxes I built would actually lay flat on the ground like they should and the other half of the time just falling completely through the floor, or just one corner dipping into the floor. It was very frustrating at times and I had to redo several designs because of this issue.
Some levels can easily be exploited. The player can use the above method to build into areas they should not be able to. By placing the end of a support beam right at the top or bottom of an impassible laser (intersecting the laser, but adjacent to the ceiling or floor), the player is able to connect another beam to the other side and then delete the first beam. This allows the player to build whatever they want in restricted areas. I actually abused this in a couple levels as it allowed me to skip the majority of the intended solution. This exploit is very easy to use and is not all that hard to find out, so I am surprised that it made it through testing. It definitely did not hurt my overall experience with the game, but its a bug nonetheless.
Bridge Constructor Portal is a solid game overall. A decent amount of content to go through with fun and interesting mechanics to match. There are a few small physics issues, but they are not enough to sour the experience. Would definitely recommend checking it out if you are at least slightly interested in puzzle games. I would even recommend this game to those that are not even that into video games. It is just that accessible while also being fun for hardcore fans.
You can buy Bridge Constructor Portal on Steam here.
I was provided a free review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.