The Bridge
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10
Looks easy? Too bad it takes more thought than it looks.

 

The world shifts back and forth, apples tumble from the tree, and one falls right on to some unnamed man who is taking a pleasant nap under a tree. He awakens and the adventure of solving mind bending, thought invoking, puzzles begins. You as the player caused the world to shift back and forth to cause the apple to fall. You not only get to control the unnamed man, but the forces of gravity and the world around this poor man in a 2D puzzle adventure.


The game has a striking art form that is black and white with a hand drawn feel. It almost feels like the designer didn’t want colors to be a distraction and wanted the game to have a very unique feel which it definitely does. The backgrounds are not overly striking, but you won’t be spending much time looking at those as all the little details in the puzzles themselves. The care taken into drawing each puzzle is immediately apparent in the way the puzzle moves and how the player moves through this surreal environment. It is also notable when you face one of the many ways you can die in that one of the bigger threats blinks every once and awhile and has two faces that always seem to be staring at you just waiting for you to make a mistake. The game has a look that is almost hard to explain better than the developers did in that it feel like an M.C Escher painting, but in a game.


The gameplay is nothing impressive, but combined with the art makes the game enjoyable. The gameplay consists of moving your nameless person left and right while spinning the world all around him. There are various mechanics that prevent you from just walking right to the end, like an evil smiling ball or a spinning vortex that traps him. However, these mechanics also help some times such as rolling a ball onto a button to turn off a vortex that has you stuck, and if something awful happens like a ball falls on the players head you can reverse time and rewind back to a point you feel like you can work with. This makes the game fun in that death is really not there just a shadow stained on the background stuck in whatever position the person died in. The whole shadow deal can be sad in that you just see an imprint of your past mistake and remember how this unnamed man died. Luckily you can reset the puzzle with no consequences other than losing your spot on that puzzle.


The story is something I have yet to find. All I know is that I am some nameless man who woke up to an apple falling on his head and rambles some very strange comments about life. He also seems to have images around the world that hint at some form of partnership with another nameless man. Without giving the ending away the game takes a sudden and very crazy turn and a quick look in the game’s achievements show that once you solve your last puzzle the game can become mirrored. However, I still am almost left not entirely sure what is going on or why I am doing what I am doing other than I am trying to reach the door. This maybe one of those games that you need to sit down and play through everything in one sitting, but without the time I am left guessing as why this man is flying around at my whim. There is suppose to be an alternate ending after you complete the mirrored version, but that will take you at least as long as it did the first go through not adding on the fact every puzzle is now harder due to being mirrored on itself.There are a set of wisps hidden throughout the game, but I didn’t catch any due to not knowing what they were until the second to last puzzle and then I was just ready to figure out what was going on.


The soundtrack is mindless and won’t catch your attention and in fact I played most of the game without my computer’s audio even being on. The sounds of the game are there and you will hear a ball smash into the ground or a door unlock, but they aren’t a huge deal. It seems like the focus was more on the gameplay and art style than sound, which is fine since the first two are good in themselves.


For 15 USD I have to say this game is a great little thrill ride for a quick little puzzler. I beat most of the game over a weekend while hanging out with some of my buddies. We sometimes had to sit around and throw all of our collective minds at some of the puzzles, but not one went unsolved. I will warn you though after spinning things around for an hour or so once you stop your mind itself will be spinning. I watched half a movie with my head turned sideways after playing for no real reason other than it felt more natural. Also some of the puzzles will haunt you. I spent a full day unable to solve one and then randomly at dinner one night the solution just popped into my head and I rushed off to solve the puzzle. The game has a wonderful touch and I kept wanting to play. However, if a plot is what drives you to play there is not an easy one to be found. As a fan of puzzles, unique games and M.C Escher's artwork this game was a wonderful one to play.

 

The world is falling apart. Im not sure why, but it is.