The laws of physics have never been so black and white
For this indie game preview I got a chance to check out The Bridge, a 2-D logic puzzle game co-developed by Ty Talor and Mario Castañeda. This game takes everything you know about physics, relativity and how you perceive your environment, then makes you twist and turn it in ways that will literally make your head spin!
The Bridge takes you on a journey as who appears to be the famous physicist and mathmetician, Sir Isaac Newton. While at least in my early game-play this isn't specifically stated, the apple that abruptly lands on the top of your head in the very first scene, is a pretty big hint. From there you travel as Isaac through a beautiful, M.C. Escher inspired, black and white hand-drawn manifestation of his dreams, as he tries to solve the theories of the laws of physics and gravity that govern the world as we know it.
Each level starts off by placing you in a given point of the room. Your goal is to then find a way to the door,or otherwise the exit, of that stage. Sounds simple right?
At first it is.
The levels start off relatively easy, literally giving you control to move the world around you(which I'll cover in a minute), and testing your knowledge of simple physics. "If there's no ground underneath me, then I'll fall down until I hit something." Simple enough, right?
Where this game really begins to shine is in how fast the difficulty begins to ramp up. By the third or fourth level, I was starting to have to take my time planning out my way to the exit through trial and error. What started out as a simple "tilt the room and fall to the door" mechanic, quickly turned into "turn the walls into the ground, then angle the ground into a slide, so that you can slide the key on the ground, to get to you, to open the door." Yea, you get the picture.
On top of that, throw in some spheres of death, that also follow the laws of physics and some black holes that are just waiting to pull you into an eternity of spiraling in place, and you have yourself a pretty challenging puzzle game.
Where this game includes challenge however, it also gives substantial satisfaction every time you complete a level. After beating each level I found that I was learning something new, which I was then able to apply to all of the levels going forward. On top of those "Eureka!" moments, the game is pretty forgiving if you make the wrong move; giving you unlimited opportunities to rewind time and go back to previous steps, in case you severely mess up or discover a strategy that might work better.
Movement and Controls
As complex as each puzzle of The Bridge can be. The controls are simple and easy to master. Using the "A" or "D" keys will move Isaac left to right, while the W key will allow you to enter doorways. Holding "Spacebar" allows you to rewind time, going back to previous actions or movements which you've done on that particular level, I had to use this a lot when falling to escape my death. The left and right arrow keys allow you to tilt the world around you. This is extremely essential in creating paths that would normally be physically impossible and making them possible. Such as tilting the room so that the walls are now angled below you so that they can now be walked on.
The only downside to this cool mechanic is that those who suffer from motion sickness may need to take more frequent breaks from their game play. Being someone who doesn't suffer from motion sickness normally, even I felt a little dizzy after the 12th level or so of spinning the world around.
The movement of Isaac himself is generally pretty simple to follow. At times it can feel a bit "floaty", however I imagine that this to be intentional, in order to give you enough time to plot the physical trajectory for objects(including Isaac himself) that are moving in the world, which you need to keep track of in order to solve the physics based puzzles of the game.
The Bridge Is definitely an indie title worth checking out! While the use of physics based movement isn't necessarily a new thing to games. The Bridge takes this otherwise "behind the scenes" mechanic and puts it center stage. The game is easy to learn, but ramps up in difficulty with little to no hand-holding. While it may not be for those easily prone to motion sickness, this is perfect for the puzzle-gaming crowd that wants a challenge.