I’ve never considered Bridge Constructor to be a particularly action-packed game series. Delivering cars and trucks with nameless occupants across a divide by engineering a bridge is fun, but somewhat impersonal. You can imagine my surprise then when Bridge Constructor Portal adds a lot more anxious energy to the tried and true bridge constructor formula.
When I learned of Bridge Constructor Portal’s existence, I figured it would just be a reskin of the previous titles in the series, but with portals. However, this game is far from just a simple rebadging of ClockStone’s previous titles, and it uses the Portal IP very effectively.
Bridge Constructor Portal puts you in the position of an engineer at Aperture Science. You are tasked with constructing bridges so that cargo forklifts can get from one side of the area to the other. The game starts out rather easy, and you just have to worry about learning how to build supports and road decks. As you proceed through the stages, GLaDOS instructs you on more and more variables.
Throughout the first 30 or so of the 60 missions, you’re introduced to new concepts. You’ll have to tackle suspension cables, weighted switches, turrets, and more. The last half of the game doesn’t add anything new, but takes the concepts from the first half and arranges them in more and more complicated ways. The portals fit into this type of game really well and are used effectively to add verticle space. A lot of bridge constructor games are limited to the horizontal plane since that’s just how bridges are constructed, but here each set of portals add another vertical level of play. This means the stages in Bridge Constructor Portal can be more complex than what you’re probably used to in a bridge construction game, and it makes the puzzle-solving process longer for each stage.
You can beat each chamber by getting one vehicle across, which allows you to go on to the next one. However, the real challenge is in getting a whole convoy across. A design that allowed you to get one truck to the exit portal might falter and break under the pressure of multiple forklifts, which worst case scenario means scrapping the whole thing and starting over.
The controls are relatively intuitive, but a little simple for a PC game. You control everything through the left mouse button, and it can be a bit finicky. Supports can be turned into road decks with a single click, and a double click is used to delete items. It found that sometimes instead of removing a piece, I’d just end up moving it or changing it to a support or a road deck instead. The game is also for mobile devices, so I get why the controls are simplistic, but I would have liked to see PC specific controls that allow for more precision.
For $9.99 this game has a ton of replay value. Sixty chambers, some of which can take a while to figure out, is a good chunk of content for the price. If you’re a fan of building bridges, there are certainly worse choices out there than Bridge Constructor Portal. However, if you’re looking for a more complex simulation, you’ll want to look elsewhere. There are not different materials for supports or road decks, and this is more of a puzzle game than an actual bridge construction simulator. It is a lot of fun though, and since Valve refuses to actually make games anymore, it’s likely this is as close as you’ll get to a new Portal game for years to come.