Indie Spotlight – The Bridge (2012 PAX 10 Winner)
Can you imagine? A title that started out as a master’s degree project turned into one of the most creative and unique PC games to come in years. I’m of course talking about Ty Taylor’s The Bridge, winner of the PAX 10, and a beautiful, hand-drawn adventure puzzle game that disorients your notions of physics and perspective.
Part Echochrome, part Limbo, and full of interesting ways to solve puzzles, The Bridge is one of those games that engage you both visually and mentally. Built from the ground up to appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers, The Bridge asks you to solve each of it’s thought-provoking puzzles by taking a number of elements into effect. You’ll have to deal with gravity, sloped surfaces, physics, plays on perspective, time, and even enemies as you proceed to solve each room puzzle.
More about The Bridge (PC) after the break.
The Bridge is quite easy to control; you use the left and right keys to tilt/rotate the screen and world while the ‘A’ and ‘D’ keys make your character walk left and right. It’s a simplistic control scheme that allows you to focus less on fighting with keyboard controls and more on how to use each of the elements to your advantage. It’s amazing how each of the puzzles are solved actually, you tilt the world and use gravity to make your character fall to another part of the world, all the while using tilt to avoid the monstrous enemy balls that’ll kill you with one hit. Later puzzles even require finesse in regards to tilting and movement in order to avoid death by monstrous ball.
Thankfully death doesn’t mean game over in The Bridge. Like Limbo, you can rewind time to a point where you can make different decisions regarding each move and tilt. From what I’ve played, and unlike other platformers you don’t have midair controls so timing, geometry, and perspective play a huge part of your each move.
I’m not kidding, there was a level in the first chapter that puzzled me (excuse the pun) for about an hour before I could solve it. I can’t even count how many times I had to rewind because of my own errors. The level was filled with maze-like spirals that played with my depth perception and had keys (that I needed to open a locked door) sliding with the maze like spiral and I needed to use timing, gravity, and finesse controls to collect them and solve the puzzle.
What’s great is that the elements and puzzles you learn throughout the game continue to add up and concepts from previous puzzles all come together to create more interesting challenges. I haven’t even started tackling concepts like parallel dimensions, gravitational vortexes and alternate worlds. Speaking of alternate worlds, I’ve been told that a different version of the game will be unlocked after you finish the main storyline. This new world will include alternate versions of the puzzles you’ve previously beaten – each requiring vastly different approaches – so prepare to be challenged again after defeating The Bridge.
It’s a beautiful game that challenges physics, concepts, and mechanics other games have solidified and turns them unto their heads. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how much the game will challenge your sense of perception enough that you’ll want to try again and again until you’ve beat that annoyingly hard puzzle.
*Note: Staff Writer Lee Guille is currently playing through the full version of The Bridge and we’ll have a review on JTM very soon so stay tuned!