Finally making its way to the Nintendo Switch after being ported to nearly every available platform is The Bridge, a 2D logic puzzle game that is the brainchild of developers Ty Taylor and Mario Casteñeda. First released in 2013, The Bridge is a game that forces players to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective in order to solve each of the 48 carefully crafted and thought-provoking puzzles.
With this being my first foray into the world of The Bridge, I truly didn’t know what to expect. But after exploring the first few levels, I knew that I was in for a real treat. While playing, I found myself having to think outside the box in order to solve some of these puzzles which lead to an entirely new level of mental stimulation. The artistry that went into creating the game’s visuals has also been something to truly appreciate. You can tell that the developers put absolutely everything into each element of this game because as a whole this game is quite exceptional. The developers also seamlessly incorporated a very cryptic story throughout the game, which is something I didn’t expect to even see in a puzzle game. This addition of story-driven elements that are especially cryptic in nature is something that adds to the overall dark leaning tone of this game and really rounds out a solid vision for the game.
The gameplay is incredibly straightforward, as is the case with most puzzle games. As a nameless character, it is your job to reach the exit door of each level in the game. This can be done in a variety of ways, but it is up to you to use the different skills and environmental tools at your disposal to accomplish this goal.
You’re able to control your character left or right by using either one of the two joysticks or even the directional pad (or arrow buttons if you’re using the joy-con). In addition you’re able to rotate the world using the left and right bumpers on the controllers. By rotating the world you can change the gravitational pull on specific objects. This can be used to your advantage to trigger buttons that unlock doors or even move objects out of your way in order to have a clear shot at the exit. One other very cool gameplay mechanic is the ability to wind time backwards in order to avert a death screen, undo a mistake you made in the puzzle, or just give yourself a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) chance to grab an item as you’re flying through the air.
While these movement mechanics were obviously essential to the completion of the puzzles, one of the things that was frustrating to me while I was playing was the speed at which the movements happened. While most of the levels maintained a very medium pace of movement, there were a few levels where the pace seemed to be either dreadfully slow or uncontrollably fast. In replaying these puzzles I understand the necessity to have this variation (one level required faster rotations otherwise it would have been impossible to complete) it would have been nice to just hit a groove and really understand the pacing of the game without the need to change.
Environmental obstacles also add to the unique gameplay of The Bridge. Some of these objects that are sprinkled throughout the game are: gravitational vortexes that capture items and characters in them and don’t let them out, spherical enemies called Menaces that kill you upon first contact, and inversion pads that allow the character to become an inversion of themselves to access new sections of the level. These different obstacles allow for such a great depth of content and add a tremendous amount to the puzzle solving experience of this game. In order to complete the puzzles, you’ll often have to manipulate many environmental obstacles while also timing your control patterns perfectly.
Upon completion of the first four worlds of the game, each world becomes playable once more but as an inversion of its former self. This gives the player access to 24 new puzzles and includes an alternate ending to the game.
While I was able to complete the two main storylines of the game in just a few hours, the thing that ultimately kept me coming back to this game was the opportunity to complete it 100% by unlocking all of the achievements. Some of these achievements were unlocked by simply completing the main and alternate storylines, but some of the other achievements require greater skill, or just a wackier way of looking at things, in order to unlock them. These extra challenges really take some of the puzzles and increase the difficulty significantly, adding to the mental stimulation that is capable with this game.
Overall this game was a really enjoyable puzzle-solving experience that challenged me to think outside of the box in order to accomplish the goal for each level. Pairing this enjoyable gameplay experience with a beautifully designed aesthetic created one of the more memorable puzzle gaming experiences that I’ve ever had. Take it from me, The Bridge is an excellent addition to any Switch owner’s library.
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.