Your character, who appears to be a caricature of Escher, has the ability to manipulate the world around him. At first, use of the triggers allows you to tilt the world around you allowing you to shake apples from the tree under which he is sleeping.
Once you enter the game proper, this is upgraded to allow you full rotation of the world. This skill is a necessity as you enter the perspective bending levels that confront you, each of which has a single goal; reach the exit. To do so you may have to rotate the world on its axis to provide safe passage between your starting point and the door. With the Escher themed levels, both items in the foreground and background can be walked upon once set to the correct viewpoint. Although at first the puzzles are relatively straightforward, they quickly become extremely perplexing as additional threats and skills are introduced, such as Rewind, Inversion, and the Veil.
First among these is Inversion, the ability to teleport from one inversion plate to another, which not only switches your visual perspective, but also transports you onto another physical plane. This opens up the challenge of doors, keys and threats that appear on only one plane or the other. The Veil on the other hand when entered, allows the movement and rotation of the world without impacting your character. once exited, you return to your original perspective and any movement conducted in the veil is reflected on items in the level. This allows for modification of the relative position of items within each stage and is necessary in order to progress in the majority of levels.
Even with these limited abilities, the functionality devised within these levels is nothing short of astounding. Frustating, confusing, but ultimately astounding. As you progress through the game, each stage becomes that much more complex and you will find yourself dying countless times throughout. This is where Rewind comes into play. Holding Rewind allows you to scroll back through all of your actions to correct any mistakes you may have made and try again.
Graphically, the inspiration from Escher is immediately apparent. The characters and levels each have a hand-drawn appearance, and even at the beginning of each level your character is sketched in, leaving a graphical outline at your ingress. The attention to detail in the fore and background is superlative and appears to have been laboriously, and carefully crafted.
The only downside I can attribute to the game is its intense difficulty spike. Although the start levels are open to even the most novice of puzzles only the true aficionado’s may find solace or solution within the latter mirror levels.
For the true completionist, there are also collectable wisps that populate levels, some of which are based on specific actions within, and there are achievements related to completing levels in a very specific way.
The bridge is the latest in a long line of Indie games, proving that you dont need AAA production values or yearly iterations to make a game that truly excels beyond expectations.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 8.5/10 Format: PC/Xbox/Playstation Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of The Bridge by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.