Bridge Constructor Portal Review
As a fusion between the Portal and Bridge Constructor series, Bridge Constructor Portal manages to take aspects from both franchises and is mostly successful in creating a hybrid-game that has clever humor and writing, and challenging (and sometimes frustrating) puzzle-based
You play as a new employee at the Aperture Laboratories, under the supervision of the machine GLaDOS, returning from the Portal series. Before starting the first of 60 total levels, the game requires the new employee to answer a series of employment-related questions. Though the answers are practically given to the player, answering any of the hilarious questions incorrectly will have the employee killed and another one stepping forward in line, taking his place and setting the tone of the game before it even starts.
Players work through the levels (called “test chambers”) in the game by building bridges through the test chambers to navigate employees on trucks from one location to another. However, just building the bridges is usually not enough, as players have to figure out how to navigate increasingly difficult obstacles, such as turrets, launch pads, acid, and of course, portals, to get their trucks to the exit.
The game slowly introduces new tools and obstacles to the player, such as cables and increasing the number of portals in the level, which provides a slow difficulty scale that never feels too drastic while keeping the game fresh.
The game also utilizes a realistic physics system that forces players to balance weight on the bridges, or watch them fall and be forced to think about the puzzle in a new way. Fortunately, the game offers an unlimited amount of retries, and after one truck has made it through the test chamber, players have the option of trying to get all of the trucks to the exit in the more difficult convoy mode, or just continuing to the next test chamber.
Some of the puzzles are genuinely challenging, and the answers are rarely simple. There are multiple ways to solve some of the puzzles, but the majority of them are straightforward. While the gameplay is simple in that all you have to do in each level is get the truck to the exit by building bridges, there were a few puzzles that had me scratching my head, thinking that I was completely missing something because the puzzle seemed impossible, but I felt accomplished when I finally figured out the solution.
Unfortunately, some of the puzzles that have multiple portals of very similar colors do feel unfair. It is extremely difficult to tell the difference in color between some of the orange and yellow portals, which means the player has no idea if they are building the bridges in the correct places until after they have attempted to send the truck through one of them. There is no colorblind mode to remedy this issue either.
There is a test feature that lets you see if the bridges you have built will stay, but it doesn’t take into account what will happen when the weight of the truck hits the bridges, so you may think you have built a bridge that will solve the puzzle, but realize that the bridge is not sturdy enough to complete the pass-through. Luckily, the game saves your bridges whenever you send a truck, and if you fail you don’t have to rebuild everything, so it isn’t too frustrating, but it becomes more like trial-and-error instead of engaging puzzle-solving.
Outside of attempting to get all of the trucks to the exits in the convoy mode, there isn’t much replay value here, either; the fun in this game is figuring out the puzzles, but once that is uncovered, there’s little reason to play through the game again. I was able to solve all of the puzzles in around eight hours of play, which is an average length for most puzzle games.
While Portal Bridge Constructor does have some issues in a few of its puzzles, the game is an enjoyable experience full of classic Portal humor and lore, and a charming presentation that made me want to continue playing even through some of the frustrating parts of the game. The game is simple yet challenging and is an easy recommend to fans of puzzle games who want a short but sweet experience.
Portal Bridge Constructor will also be released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch consoles in early 2018.
Disclaimer: PC Aficionado was provided with a code for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in the review are the writer’s own and are not influenced by the developer and/or publisher in any way.
- Clever humor
- Addictive gameplay
- Solid voice acting
- Very little replay value
- Some puzzles feel unfair