The Bridge (Wii U) Review

By Nikola Suprak 14.10.2015

Review for The Bridge on Wii U

The Wii U has slowly and steadily been building a very impressive catalogue of indie games available via the eShop. Sure, most of them show up significantly later than they do on all the other systems, but better late than never. The latest reheated leftover to make its way over to the Wii U is The Bridge, a title first released on Steam over two years ago. While most people might not like leftovers, this is the good kind of leftover that makes for a pretty excellent midnight snack. It is a bit short and takes a while to get going, but titles like this make decent additions for anyone looking for a good puzzle title on the eShop.

Indie puzzle games seem to be all over various online marketplaces, but what helps The Bridge stand out and really distinguishes it from its competitors is its incredibly striking presentation. Clearly inspired by the works of M. C. Escher, this looks like a painting of his that someone decided to turn into a game. There is a really interesting, unique aesthetic here, where the various levels look like something someone drew by hand with pencil in a notebook somewhere. The levels themselves are quite interesting from a design standpoint, featuring the same sort of impossible features that M. C. Escher's work was always known for. The presentation isn't overly complex, but there is brilliance in the simplicity, and great source material for inspiration makes this worth looking into almost for the visuals alone.

What is particularly impressive is how the aesthetic also feeds into the gameplay, and, really, the entire game is based around concepts presented in Escher's work. The goal of each level is quite simple: open the door and leave. The controls start out very basic, and the D-pad moves the character around, while the shoulder buttons rotate the stage. The entire world can be flipped upside down, where walls become floors and ceilings become walls. Rotating around allows for travel around little loops, which will move a linear walking path from the floor up and around to what was previously a wall. The game opens up nice and easy, playing around with perception in some very basic puzzles before eventually layering in more complex challenges and ideas.

Screenshot for The Bridge on Wii U

An impressive job is done slowly ramping up the challenge. New elements are introduced over time at precisely the perfect point before the game begins to stale. Doors will be locked and require collecting keys to open, large boulders will roll around and kill on contact, and little vortexes will be introduced that can either trap the character or the boulder… or both. Eventually, a sort of dimensional swap element is added, which not only transports the character to the other side of the platform, but also makes it so only certain doors or keys can be interacted with depending on if the character is swapped or not. There aren't a ton of new twists added, but there are just enough that it keeps things compelling and leads to some really clever and fun puzzles.

While there are some quality puzzles, the biggest issue is that The Bridge is simply too easy. The entire first half of the game feels like an extended training sequence, and far too many of the levels can be completed in a minute at most. There are multiple stages that, essentially, require no thought at all, and the solution can just sort of be bumbled into. Keep rotating until things work, and if that doesn't help, just rotate in the other direction. It makes solving the puzzles actually feel less rewarding, and, many times, coming up with a solution is less likely to elicit warm feelings of celebration and more likely feelings of confusion as to whether or not that was the way it was supposed to be solved.

The second half of the title, however, is significantly more rewarding, and after completing the four normal levels, mirrored versions of each are unlocked that ramp the challenge up substantially. It is here where The Bridge really shines. Not all of the puzzles are hits, and there is a handful that feels a bit clumsily designed. When it works, though, it works great, and there are enough really clever challenges here that it comes together to form a really entertaining experience. The best puzzles throw everything together, requiring multiple perspective shifts, dimension swaps, and careful manipulation of obstacles to finally reach the last door. If the entire game was so impeccably designed, it would be an easy recommendation. It seems to plod a bit too long in mediocrity, unfortunately, which is even more of a problem because the game itself is so short. The entire thing can likely be completed in a single day, and it doesn't really stay around as long as the best titles in the genre.

Screenshot for The Bridge on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Quirky indie puzzle games these days seem to be a dime a dozen, and every Humble Bundle seems to come with eight new ones for the price of a nickel and two buttons. Still, even in this saturated market, The Bridge manages to stand out. The remarkable aesthetic and M. C. Escher inspirations almost make the game worth the price of admission alone, but even beyond that, this is a really well designed puzzler. It makes the most out of its mechanics, and changes just frequently enough to prevent things from ever becoming stale. It might take a bit to get started, and too many of the puzzles can be solved by accident, but there is enough here to make it worth a look even two years after its original release. It might have taken a while from the construction to finish up, but this is a bridge worth crossing.

Developer

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Publisher

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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