The Bridge is an indie puzzler with one core concept, you can rotate the world around you to achieve your goal of getting to a exit within the stage, which is done simply by pressing the left or right trigger buttons. As you get further into the game there are new challenges in your way, constantly trying to prevent you from achieving your goal. Boulders, black holes and the environment itself will try to prevent you from getting to where you need to be, trying to confuse the player with its maze like environments, where the simplest solution is staring you in the face. The game tries to make your head spin as much as you do with the levels themselves.
The game consists of 4 chapters each broken down into 6 stages, with mirror versions of the same levels unlocked once the game is completed. Later levels introduce new mechanics such as inverters, which not only transport you somewhere else in the stage, but also changes the character model from full detail to an outline drawing. This has an effect on the gameplay as you can only enter white doors as a white version of the character and vice versa. Gravity plays a big part in the game, as certain levels will see objects just out of reach, for example a key hanging on a chain follows the laws of physics as you rotate the world and without the ability to jump, you’ll have to use your wits to try and collect the key and to try and make it out of the stage.
Later stages introduce interactive objects such as pressure pads that manipulate objects and sometimes require you to use other objects to aid you in getting to the exit. Later stages also add the challenge of needing to collect keys in order to unlock your exit. If you are killed by anything in the levels instead of a game over and resetting you back to the beginning of the level, by simply pressing ‘B’ you have the ability to turn back time. This allows you to reverse any mistakes that you may have made, letting you reverse time as far as back as you want to go without being punished.
One of the main downsides is that the character can be quite annoying to control. When you push left or right on the left thumb stick, even after letting go of the thumb stick he still continues to walk for a split second, making it extremely difficult for precise movements. This can be frustrating as you try to carefully perch yourself on a ledge only to find your character has fallen off the edge of the world, having you constantly rewind time and try again. Another issue is the fact that even on a shallow incline your character will go in a sliding animation which prevents you from being able to control his movement until you correct that for him. One major issue which arose while playing was that I would feel quite dizzy after a while, which resulted in me having to play in short sessions.
The start of every level shows your character drawn into the environment ready for the challenge ahead with the level of detail in each stage very appealing to the eye. It has a unique look to it, with the whole game being in black and white, with faded edges around the screen reminiscent of an old black and while cartoon or film, even down to a film grain effect and with the backgrounds and levels create a very bleak and oppressive feel, cleverly offset from the playable environment with its blurred backgrounds. The soundtrack matches the visuals perfectly, with some tunes feeling surprisingly light in tone, and on the other hand can feel pretty unsettling. It would have been nice had there been more variety to the soundtrack, although it matches the tone perfectly. The game has very unique level design, with the feeling that the developers took inspiration from the likes of M.C. Escher.
The Bridge is a very good looking game, with a very basic, yet striking visual style. The ability to manipulate the levels adds whole new dimension to your standard puzzle platformers making it stand out from the crowd. For those that like puzzle games it holds a lot of potential, at times making you really struggle to find the solution, despite it staring you straight in the face. Despite this, the lack of a proper story to tell could put some people off, as well as literally making you feel dizzy whilst playing it. For those that like to challenge themselves this is an ideal title and whilst it isn’t a standout puzzle platformer compared to other on the marketplace it is certainly one of the more unique and challenging ones.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Format: PC / Xbox 360 Release Date: 13/11/13
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of The Bridge for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 10 days on a Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.