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Game Review: Thimbleweed Park (Switch)
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Game Review: Bridge Constructor (XBox One)

Game Review: Bridge Constructor (XBox One)
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Game Name: Bridge Constructor
Platforms: XBOX One, iOS, Android, Windows
Publisher(s): Headup Games
Developer(s): Clockstone STUDIO
Genre(s): Education, Simulated Strategy
Release Date: Original Release: August 2015, Re-release: July 2016
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

Sometimes a gamer just wants a relaxing game that requires some thought to play, but doesn’t involve complex button mashing techniques. This is where the strategy puzzle type games come in to play. The 2015 Indie PC/mobile game Bridge Constructor, from developers Clockstone STUDIO, has been revitalized and brought to the XBox One through its Games With Gold promotions and is a game perfectly designed for one who is looking to just have a simple gaming experience.bridge-constructor-2

The game does not have much in the way of a tutorial as the concept of the game is simple, build a bridge that will withstand the pressures of various vehicles crossing it. There are various islands to complete in the game and within each island are several puzzle levels to tackle. Each level starts out looking at a gap in a scenery (city, canyon, waterway, etc..) and the player must build a bridge that will successfully allows cars, and trucks to cross it. Tankers are added once the game is completed on first go around. Seems simple enough, but you are provided with a set budget of money to spend on materials (wood, concrete, cables, and steel) and sometimes only specific materials are at your disposal depending on the level. This can sometimes put a stoppage to a plan in motion if you run out of money.

Once you are satisfied that your bridge looks like it will be sturdy enough, you can go into test mode and see if the bridge design will hold up. Natural pressure stress points in the design will show in colour ranging from yellow to red to indicate possible issues if vehicles were to run over it. If there is something structurally wrong, you will instantly see parts break off and then its back to the drawing board. This can lead to a lot of rebuilding and testing bridge-constructor-3until you can find a design that looks like it can hold up. As you go up in levels, the solutions become more complex, thus requiring more strategic thought.

If your bridge appears to be ready to be put to the test, you can choose to run two cars or two trucks over it. If they make it across without the bridge collapsing, the level is complete. If only the cars make it across, the level gets a completion marker, but if the trucks can make it then you get a golden truck completion marker (kind of like having that awesome “I’m the best” stamp on it….every gamer wants!!).

After a level is completed, the bridge design is saved and thus you can always go back to the creation to modify it to try and improve upon its structural design. This is also very helpful once you have completed the game, as you then can go back and see if your original bridge can stand up to the pressure of having two fuel tankers drive across it.

Though this game has an initial interesting concept, it requires a lot of self teaching and patience. Sometimes it just requires the smallest of tweaks to remove the pressure from a support to make your bridge sturdy enough to cross, but then there are times when it seems like the game is trying to cause the player to overthink the solution to the level. You could develop this amazing structure that should be nothing but string enough but just can’t hold up to the in-game physics logic, just to later discover that a simple road with a few supports to help with the bending of the road while vehicles drive over is the ultimate solution (ugh!). Many of these simplistic solutions will pass the level, but will definitely not hold up to the tankers. But then again, how many players will actually get that far to testbridge-constructor-4 that theory considering you have to complete the game to access the tankers to test with (though for those who do stick it out, the tankers increase the difficulty ten fold).

It appears that the developers made the game very rigid, wherein players expect unlimited sandbox creativity to design a unique bridge design that (though unconventional) logically should work. Instead it seems like the game is programmed to only accept a select few designs. Even more is that the level budgets are never high enough for a player to be able to get creative and make a spectacular bridge.

The game appears to have a slight internal glitch that sometimes when you go into test mode, your bridge falls apart during the run, but if you go back to build mode and then right back into test mode to try to pinpoint the failure point, the bridge holds up fine and the level is passed. This is a cause of a lot of frustration as it would be good if the game was consistant in failure rather than randomized in the programming.

Also, it is odd that the developer designed the game to be played in a complete mute atmosphere, so no catchy tunes to hum to while strategizing. Perhaps this helps with the concentration??

Bridge Constructor is a interesting idea and definitely is a great game of strategy, one that is perfect for a night of challenging between a few players as you put your heads together to find the solutions. But beyond that, the game lacks depth wherein the levels feel like slightly altered copies of the last and there is no motivation to keep playing the game for a long period to see what happens next. The game feels more like it belongs on a mobile device rather than a main brand console.Though the game is not bad, its more suitable to a strategic type gamer or for a good puzzle game to relax the mind after a hard battle in other intense games.

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