Building bridges. Sure, it sounds like an interesting concept and a mentally challenging occupation, but can a video game of this nature deliver that same feeling? Originally a mobile (and later, PC) game, Bridge Constructor has made its way to Xbox One; does everything go according to plan? In short: no.
If a video game’s title was ever a dead giveaway of its content, Bridge Constructor is a clear winner. Players are tasked with building bridges of ingenious, and often questionable, designs to link a group of islands together. After a few quick prompts you, the game’s engineer, are thrown into the deep-end with managing angles, materials, and project budgets. From the outset, the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ tutorial is immediately off-putting.
The game’s mechanics never become too overbearing – lay some road, insert support beams and connect everything up. This is mostly due to a blocky, uncomplicated UI that indicates the materials on offer for a particular stage. Your materials are placed in a square grid with a toggle to further multiply the amount of squares for more precision. Upon completion, there’s a test run to check your design’s structural integrity – with an initial selection of small blue cars and large delivery trucks; vehicle physics and bridge suspension during these moments gets stressful.
Of course, constructing these bridges is the hardest part. Early on, wood is the sole material available but, as you progress, bridges requiring either steel beams, wire cables or concrete pillars will unlock. A well-constructed bridge hinges on knowing the pros and cons associated with each component, whilst keeping your project’s budget in check. For instance, wire cables are useful for supporting horizontal tension, whilst wood buckles under this pressure. Players soon learn that a strong overpass must also have lots visual triangles to evenly distribute the weight from the road and oncoming traffic.
There are five different islands to clear, with bonus locations and a new vehicle unlocked upon completion. With over forty levels, Bridge Constructor demands your attention but, in reality, it fails in securing it. There is a generic art-style at play that sees numerous levels look identical. Your location is always over a rocky creek amidst a forest, on the outskirts of a lifeless city, or overlooking a cavernous drop in the mountains. This ‘copy-and-paste’ level design results in long lulls of gameplay where building to a time limit, with an accompanying day/night cycle, or even the challenge of building intersecting freeways, would have done enough to keep things interesting.
From here, this offering from Clockstone STUDIOS turns into a mundane title. The aforementioned uncomplicated UI blossoms into an unintuitive mess, due to the small roster of useable materials, dull soundtrack and lack of environmental hindrances – for example, using drawbridges to accompany incoming boats – significantly reducing the game’s enjoyment. Players may also be disappointed their hard work goes unrewarded, with no meaningful bonuses (i.e.: new items, cash increases, reputation growth) for finishing a level under budget.
While it is still fun to take pride in your own successes and laugh at your failures and near-misses, Bridge Constructor turns into a long haul. It’s slightly addictive nature is counter-acted by so many other factors that diminish whatever integrity you previously held for the game. As an Xbox One title, this is quite unimpressive.
Clockstone STUDIOS had a mentally challenging and surprisingly entertaining simulator on their hands here. Unfortunately, Bridge Constructor is added to a list of unfit console titles that have failed to evolve from their mobile roots. It had a solid foundation but there are so many pieces missing that could have made this a fairly decent game.
Hayden failed on many attempts at building and crossing bridges during his time with Bridge Constructor, where the additional vehicle – the tank truck – spontaneously combusted numerous times. A review copy was received by the publisher.
A bit unstable.
What's that saying about "building bridges"?