Bridge Constructor Portal
Welcome back to the Aperture Science computer-aided enrichment center
Bridge Constructor Portal is an indie puzzle game that combines the Bridge Constructor franchise with the iconic Portal franchise. The game was released last December.
In Bridge Constructor Portal players must construct bridges to get vehicles across hazardous environments safely from start to finish.
The game fully embraces the Portal franchise license to blend the laws of structural engineering and technology straight from Aperture Laboratories into a new experience.
Everything featured in the game neatly matches the iconic Portal style. The game even features Turrets, Weighted Storage Cubes, Faith Plates, Energy Pellets, Repulsion Gel and Propulsion Gel.
When the game launched last December it received a lot of mixed responses. However, this wasn't related to the quality of the game.
Fans of the franchise heckled Portal development studio Valve for giving the license away instead of creating new games themselves.
Since Portal 2's release in 2011 Valve has provided access to Portal assets for a number of third-party titles, including Lego Dimensions, Poker Night 2, Zen Pinball, Defense Grid: The Awakening and Runner2.
The implementation of licensed Portal assets in most of these games has been mediocre at best, so perhaps mixed responses to Bridge Constructor Portal's announcement and gameplay trailers aren't that surprising.
However, the implementation of Portal assets in this indie puzzle game can only be considered superb.
The moment players boot up the game they are instantly sucked into the iconic Aperture Science atmosphere that so many have missed since Valve's last Portal game.
When players start the game they will notice that the game focuses on Bendies: stick figures that are seen in Portal's Investment Opportunity trailers. Bendies drive the forklift vehicles that you must build bridges for to get them across hazardous environments safely.
Forklifts can drive through Portals, bounce on Repulsion Gel, speed up on Propulsion Gel and even drive over Faith Plates to get some air time. These are the basics ingredients that Bridge Constructor Portal uses in the 60 levels it features.
At its heart Bridge Constructor Portal is very much a 2D physics game and because of this features some minor quirks that can hinder gameplay. Most noticeably are inconsistency issues that cause your structures to collapse in one test run but stay up in another.
However, most of the time encountering these issues means that the structures you've built are simply too unstable to be feasible.
Once you've successfully gotten a single forklift across the game unlocks a second convoy mode to test your constructions with.
In this mode the game spawns multiple vehicles in sequence, putting even more stress on the constructions you've built to make sure they are structurally sound.
Once players are half way through the game they will notice that the difficulty level goes up quite fast. Some levels may even take players over 30 minutes to complete.
Level difficulty is also the biggest reason why players would want to stop playing the game. The only way to advance to the next level is to complete the previous one.
There is no level skipping function included to avoid that one level you just can't figure out, meaning that the only way forward is to look up the solution online.
Perhaps not including this feature is for the best because a good chunk of players wouldn't put in the time and effort to complete levels otherwise.
The game does provide a number of best practice tips to get players started, but these eventually become difficult to implement as you struggle to complete one of the later levels.
In between puzzle solving the game occasionally switches back to the office environment featured in the main menu where Bendies will interact with new equipment that gets installed as you continue playing.
These scenes offer no additional gameplay value, but including these scenes tops off the game's superb Portal implementation.
Bridge Constructor Portal is a definite must-buy for those who love the Portal franchise. Its intuitive controls allow for easy access to a new and unique Portal experience that we didn't even know we wanted in the first place.
The game easily provides 15 to 20 hours of gameplay depending on how fast players rush through its 60 levels and even offers repeatable content by selecting from the list of levels you have unlocked.
Bridge Constructor Portal is available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS. The PC version of the game currently retails for $9.99 US in North America and €9.99 in Europe and includes the original Bridge Constructor game free of charge.
The Android and iOS versions retail for $4.99 US in North America and €5.49 in Europe.
The game will also be making its way to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch later this year.
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