Portal and Portal 2 are some of the most beloved puzzle games of all time, and a proud member of the Valve library of titles. Bridge Constructor is a game that tests ones building skills in order to see if they can complete a task and get vehicles across a chasm or impassable gap. You’d think that these two things would never cross, but you would be wrong, as Bridge Constructor Portal brings the popular franchises together in an unlikely, but highly entertaining mashup.
Right off the bat, the game engages in the humor that Portal is known for as you have to “earn your job” at the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Once you earn your job, you’ll be introduced to GLaDOS, yes, THE GLaDOS, complete with original voice actress, who will guide you through the various ups and downs of what you can do, and what you need to do in order to complete the level.
You might think that this game would just “cash in” on the license of Portal and make a very easy game for players to complete, but that’s the exact opposite of what’s going on here. The game has 60 levels of challenge for you to complete. And while the opening levels do guide you in certain ways, once you get through them, you’ll be given real challenges.
And the use of the portals are really well done, they add both depth, verticality, and cleverness to the levels, and you’ll have to think in multiple dimensions in order to make the bridges needed to cross all the obstacles. Oh, but don’t think the bridges are given the shaft here, like all Bridge Constructor games, you have to be careful in how you build things, for just because you “make a bridge” doesn’t mean it’ll stand up to the abuse of having many cars going over it. In one case, I built a stable bridge, and the test vehicle made it over clean. So, to get the max score, I had a convoy of ten vehicles partake in the course, only 7 made it, because the abuse of dropping onto the bridge broke it at the tail end. Oops.
The strategy in this game is not to be overlooked. For not only do you have to send vehicles through portals, you have to make sure they have the opportunity to get that far. You have to contend with portals, gravity, momentum, slopes, switches, and even enemies that will try and kill your convoy should they try and cross. You must build strategically as well as compensate for what the vehicles can do in order to complete the level.
Another thing in Bridge Constructor Portal that shouldn’t be overlooked in the game is the humor. The hilarity of Portal is brought here to great effect, mainly because of GLaDOS. Her one-liners about life and death and the completion of tasks is great, and it really helps the original voice actress is back to really deliver them. Plus, there’s subtle humor like some of the vehicle riders getting knocked off of the rides, text telling you how much “money you wasted”, the “unfortunate” loss of life. And as mentioned previous, the very opening of the game, which…let’s just say rewards you for both correct and incorrect answers.
Now, there are some faults in the game that hold it back from true epicness. For example, there is a surprising bug in the tutorial that makes it so that if you fail, you can’t simply restart. Thankfully I figured out what to do the second time. Another thing is that sometimes the game gives you so much to do that it’s easy to forget a simple step. Like when you’re making a bridge, but you forget to transform it into a road, which makes it so that your test drivers die the moment they collapse it.
Also, while they do give tips on how to make the bridges stronger, some of the things they say are confusing, and will likely trip you up from time to time. And while I love the physics-based puzzles, there are a few that if you don’t have something just right, you’ll fail.
All in all though, Bridge Constructor Portal is a testament to how two seemingly different franchises can come together in a fun and unique way. I know Portal fans will be sad that this got made instead of Portal 3, but this is a worthy challenge, and most definitely is worth your time. And if you’re a Bridge Constructor fan, you’ll love how the series is evolved through the use of Portal’s characters, charm, and gameplay mechanics.
Bridge Constructor Portal is available now on Steam.