Greetings, friend. Did you know that building bridges can be challenging and fun? Did you also know there is a lot of science involved in keeping bridges from falling apart? As we all know, science is owned by Aperture Laboratories which means they own a patent on bridges… and they might own a patent on fun. With Aperture Laboratories involved not only will you build bridges for transportation, you will also build them for science!
Bridge Constructor Portal is the latest entry in the Bridge Constructor series, and incorporates elements of Valve Corporation’s Portal series. You will take on the role of one of the Bendies (the paper cut-out figures from the Portal series signage) and your job is to build and test bridges for science… and transporting things. Sadly, you are unable to place portals on surfaces, but you will make use of portals that have been strategically placed for your “convenience.” Although I was sad about not getting to place portals, I was excited to hear Ellen McLain return to voice GLaDOS.
All levels will have three different modes to help you determine if your bridge will work and if the forklifts will reach the goal. Build mode is used to place objects on the map. Test Mode allows you to see how your build will work in real time taking into consideration: weight, gravity, and influences from the environment such as falling companion cubes or high energy pellets. The final mode is Drive mode where the Bendy forklift driver traverses your newly built bridges in hopes that they don’t break. There is a fourth mode called Convoy which is a more challenging version of Drive mode where you have to guide multiple vehicles at one time. (Side note: I found the increased number of Bendies driving in Convoy mode would cause some frame rate issues but it did not affect the fun I had building.)
The music was very fitting for the game but seemed to be lacking in both variety and length. Most of your time is spent in build mode and that comes with ambient music. I am unsure if I had a glitch on my end, but sadly I found myself without music in a lot of cases, being left to build with sound effects only. When in Drive or Convoy mode the music is more upbeat for the excitement and curiosity of whether the forklift with reach its destination. The look of each level fits perfectly with the Portal series theme. You have the whitish grey surfaces that are a staple of the series but unfortunately this doesn’t offer much for variety and has to be compensated by the backgrounds. The backgrounds show up when you are not in Build mode, replacing the grid area with a look at the inner areas of Aperture Laboratories. The backgrounds offer a bit more substance with things such as scaffolding and piping that lead to a void of what I can only assume are test chambers.
Bridge Constructor Portal is a very enjoyable engineering simulation and puzzle video game with a steadily rising difficulty level across 60 levels. I found the game worked perfectly in both portable and docked mode. The game feels like it belongs as a Portal side game and not just another game skinned to look like it. I believe it could use more music or maybe just more dialogue from GLaDOS occasionally while you build. Bridge Constructor Portal can easily be picked up and played by anyone but some of the levels might be challenging for younger or impatient players.
Review copy of the game provided by Headup Games
Played through all levels
Total Play Time: 12 hours