The feeling of building the perfect bridge and watching a large vehicle pass over it without crashing is a truly great feeling in puzzle games. Few things make you feel as smart as mastering physics, tension and mass. Poly Bridge looks to offer just that.
As with many of the bridge-building games on Steam, Poly Bridge aims to offers dozens of challenging puzzle levels in which to test your bridge-building ability. One unique thing going for the game is its visual style, which starts with blueprint-style planning but shifts to a beautiful, 3D aesthetic when you actually test out your construction. The style is simplistic with large, polygonal shapes that really work well.
When you are building your bridge, moving back and forth from planning to testing is instantaneous. This is important for a game where you are going to make many – and I mean many – failed attempts at bridges before you finally get it right. Planning is easy, letting you lock each piece onto a predefined grid or giving you free form to put pieces at whatever angle you want. It’s pretty simple to make a design that feels strong and for the most part it’s easy to pinpoint where your weak spot is.
The most interesting aspect of Poly Bridge is the variety of challenges available. Some are straightforward bridges, while others will bump up the challenge with jumps and drawbridges. These levels offer up interesting scenarios but they also sometimes show a more complicated level of physics. How a car or motorcycle reacts when it hits and lands from a jump is significantly more difficult to predict. I personally didn’t care for the jumping levels mostly just from this aspect.
When levels start introducing pistons you start to see some of the limitations of the game at this point. Pistons attach at a certain point and sometimes it becomes too difficult to judge exactly what will happen. I also found several instances where the bridge doesn’t lift enough or lifts it more than I wanted, causing the entire structure to collapse. All that being said it is still incredibly fun to play around with hydraulics and when it all comes together and actually works, it’s really cool.
This is a game in Early Access, which naturally means it lacks a certain layer of polish. I’ve hit several points where the game will get stuck in a certain part of the interface or the screen will suddenly go blank. The game also lacks any type of auto-save, which means you could potentially lose your creation. But it’s usually not too difficult to recreate your masterpiece. I’ve also had a couple times where I’ve completely broken the physics, causing something that should be 100% stable break without cause.
Even with those few issues, Poly Bridge does feel surprisingly complete. Sure, not all levels are present yet and there’s a couple issues but for a newly released Early Access game, there’s a good product ready to be had. The addition of lifts and drawbridges to the traditional bridge building is a lot of fun, if somewhat unpredictable. If you have any interest in feeling like a master builder, it’s definitely worth a look.
An Early Access code of Poly Bridge was provided to Pixel Related for this preview.