The Bridge is a black and white 2D puzzle game heavily influenced by M. C. Escher. For those unfamiliar with Escher he was a graphic artist with a fondness for lithographs of impossible architectures where you don’t know if you are looking at a ceiling, a wall or a floor. The chances are you will have seen his works. Your grandparents or parents (depending on your age) will have had one of his pictures, probably The Waterfall, framed and hung somewhere in their house. Anyways, enough about art; you came here to read about The Bridge.
The Bridge starts with you, an unnamed character sleeping under a tree. Onscreen prompts get you to tilt the world left and right by using the trigger buttons. This in turn makes an apple fall from the tree and hit you on the head waking you up. Gravity is the key to success in this game and this nod to the great Isaac Newton is a simple example of the cause and effect that your rotations will have on the world around you.
As I made my way to the first puzzle I noticed The Bridge is also heavily influenced by Braid, a game created in 2008 by Jonathan Blow and drawn by David Hellman. You enter the chapters in a house and the levels are entered by doors in a corridor – very Braid-like. The look of the keys and doors – also very Braid-like. Even your ability to reverse time when you mess up screams Braid.
The basic premise of The Bridge is to make your way to a door located within each level. To do this you rotate the world making what was once a ceiling into a floor that you can walk on. As The Bridge tells you early in the game ‘The world is a much larger place when every wall is a floor’.
Sounds easy? It’s not. As you progress through the levels and chapters you are presented with new challenges such as finding keys that need to be collected to unlock doors and boulders that will crush you instantly. Both keys and boulders are subject to gravity and the rotations you make will cause them to move. So take care or you will send a boulder on an unstoppable roll towards you. Fear not, though, because if you die as I mentioned earlier you can reverse time as much as you want. This also comes in handy when you need to backtrack and rectify any mistakes such as when you send a key floating off into the sky. Later, as the game increases in difficulty, you are introduced to vortexes, invertors and veils. Good luck with those.
So you’ve made it through the first four chapters and taken a stroll across The Bridge; what happens next? Well, you fall and end up sat once again under the very same tree that greeted you at the start of the game, only something is different, something has changed. The world around you is in colour and it looks amazing! Standing before you is a pulsing cube. Walk towards it and you are sent to the mirrored worlds where sadly the colour fades. The mirrored worlds are much harder versions of the first 24 levels and you will be reversing time much more than you would like. Thankfully, the puzzles never get to the point where you decide enough is enough and just give up.
Graphically The Bridge is very stylish with its hand drawn black and white lithograph style. It looks very detailed on the PS4. I tried the PS Vita version at the same time to compare the two but unfortunately there is a big difference between the two. I’m not saying the PS Vita version isn’t great but next to the PS4 it is somewhat lacking in detail and definition. The game also struggles on the PS Vita with its single screen layout as it is too small. It would benefit from a zoom feature.
The musical score is very sombre and fits well. You don’t need a soundtrack that will get you pumped up. It is a puzzle game, after all.
Cross save works well and as long as you are connected to the internet you don’t need to do anything else. No uploading or syncing is needed. I was easily able to continue from where I left off on the PS4 by simply starting the game on the PS Vita.
The majority of The Bridge’s trophies can be obtained by merely playing the game. There are a few level-specific trophies but the one called “Collector” is achieved by gathering all the hidden wisps. What’s a wisp? Good question. Wisps are small balls of flame and to be honest I didn’t even know I was meant to be collecting them until I stumbled across one in Chapter Four Level Five. If you want to know what a wisp looks like I suggest you use the ‘Konami Code’ to spawn a wisp. It is one of the seven you need to collect. I can’t recall the storyline mentioning wisps so it does seem like a rather strange trophy to include.
The Bridge is a wonderful example of a 2D logic puzzle game. It offers up something new and feels fresh to the genre. The creators Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda should be proud. The hand drawn, black and white style makes it stand out. Could anything be changed? No, I don’t think so. True, the story may be a little lacking but the puzzles more than make up for this. Overall if you are looking for a puzzle game that is slightly left field and will get the old grey matter going for a few hours this is definitely for you.
NelMaNo Rating – 8/10