Bridges (brij-iz) n. the link between cities, between islands, between you and me.
Bridge constructor (brij kuh n-struhk-ter) n. the arbiter of bridges and connector of worlds.
Game reviewer (geym ri-vyoo-er) n. the person who couldn’t even gain admission to her high school physics class and just wants to…c’mon…just…why don’t you work!? Argh!
She’ll be right.
Headup Games’ Bridge Constructor, originally released in 2012, cast you in the role of an appraised bridge engineer and architect. Despite being completely unqualified for the job, you we in charge of ensuring the structural integrity of bridges traveled by 2-axle and 4-axle vehicles only. In celebration of the fourth birthday of the vanilla game, the developers have invited us to join the Choonited Kingdom island group and create giant bridges to let trains pass through instead of just puny cars and trucks.
In the original Bridge Constructor you played through 40 levels of building bridges over valleys, canals and rivers on the island of Camatuga. Each level was comprised of a free build mode and a stress test/play mode. In the former you could create your bridge and supports and in the latter you could check how terribly your bridge was stressed and flailing around in the wind from lack of support. Play mode allowed you to send trucks and cars over your new bridge regardless of how terribly it was falling apart, and if they made it over you could clear the level (with a bonus, depending on whether you had any money leftover from your budget). Your only limitation was the assigned budget at the start of each level and how well you could kajigger bridge pieces so they didn’t fall down go boom.
Example of masterful bridge construction
The 40 original levels required you to move across the islands of Camatuga, which had been hit by a natural disaster and had all their bridges destroyed. All 40 of them. You start in the aptly named Westlands and work your way over from there. You’d think that Camatuga had no roads, only a series of interconnected bridges. The main menu advertises the unlockable worlds Easter Islands and Winter World, as well as the newly released Trains. The Trains DLC features three new islands with 18 new levels, two load-bearing levels – modern commuter trains and heavy fright trains – and new scenery like picturesque mountains and ravines.
At the start of the first few levels, your helpful handyman friend will give you hints and tips as part of a tutorial. Unfortunately I needed more hints and tips than the game could ever offer because my understanding of physics and general construction skills are lacking. I would constantly end up with saggy, disappointing bridges that wouldn’t support a mouse, let alone a truck. The game has two grid overlays of varying specificity to help you make segment placements, but if you lack the head for these kinds of games you may find this useless at best.
I failed to create my fourth bridge after many tries, so I thought I’d try the Trains DLC. Unfortunately that mode is just “Build an even more structurally sound bridge” mode. Given that I was failing so miserably to begin with, you can probably imagine that creating a bridge worthy of holding a train wasn’t going to happen. Oh well, I’ll always have my cackles of glee as I made cars go over horribly unsafe bridges and plummet to their doom.
As you may have guessed, I failed pretty hard at this game. I’m not particularly good at puzzles like this and physics games aren’t high on my list of preferred titles. That said, I did enjoy Bridge Constructor from a Sims perspective simply based on the damage I could cause.
Red means good, right?
As I rate the game, I have endeavored to put aside my personal feelings on games of this type and rate objectively based on what the game sets out to do and to whom it is being marketed. It is a very good physics puzzle-style game and I think people who enjoy games with more realistic construction aspects with an actual goal will enjoy Bridge Constructor a lot. It has a very crisp, clean appearance with a user-friendly interface. Music isn’t the main point of the game, but I think it could do with a little variety as it can become very grating regardless of whether you’re failing horribly at the game or not. If you’re a fan of physics games, puzzle games or construction games where the end goal is making things work together harmoniously, Bridge Constructor is for you. The Trains DLC is probably worth picking up if you’re inclined towards harder and harder challenges that may not be offered by the base game.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Bridge Constructor + Trains DLC (PC)
Difficulty - 8/10
Gameplay - 6/10
User-friendliness - 7/10
Physics be damned!
A good game with a pretty quick difficulty increase if you don't know what you're doing. If you do have a knack for construction and physics games, you're going to have a good time, especially if you add on the Trains DLC. If you're not a fan of these types of games or lack a basic understanding of how bridges stay up, like me, you'll enjoy sending cars, trucks and trains to their doom!