Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

The Bridge (Switch)

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 12 - 2017

Mind-melting puzzles on the Nintendo handheld hybrid.

 
The Nintendo Switch games catalogue is slowly growing, but it still has  along way to go until the handheld hybrid feels like an established platform. There are plenty of games in development for the console, but they seem to be on a slow drip release schedule, often coming at a later date to their equivalent games on other platforms. The obvious downside is that Switch gamers have much less choice, and multiplatform gamers will tend to pick up titles they are interested in on their other consoles. There is an upside however, and that is the re-release of games on the Switch that may have been launched ages ago on other platforms, and that players may have overlooked.

 
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The Bridge, from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, is a 2D puzzle game that has already been released on most platforms. Now, the game has come to the Nintendo Switch, bringing mind-bending puzzles and beautiful visuals to the handheld platform – surely the perfect platform for some puzzle-solving fun?

 
Based upon the works of M.C. Escher, The Bridge is an incredibly clever puzzle game that will test players perception of reality, alongside logic and the ability to think outside of the box. All of this takes place in individual hand-drawn pencil scenes, which can be more than a little confusing just to look at. I think M.C. Escher would approve.

 
The game starts with a man sleeping under a tree. This is our hero for the game, and despite very little by way of narrative, there is a mournful tone to the game that suggests what could have been an interesting story. Whatever the reason for his current situation, the player must first wake the hero up and guide him to the derelict house where the puzzle levels can be found.

 
It is this first sequence that introduces the player to the very simple controls of the game. The player is able to move the protagonist left and right to reach their destination, but they are also able to alter the world around them by spinning it on a central axis. With the press of a button, the player can change a previously flat piece of path into a downward slope that the character will slide down, or to a steep hill that he will struggle to climb. This manipulation forms the basis for the puzzles to be found within the house.

 
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It is when you enter the house that you are presented with the types of impossible realities that make the M.C. Escher illustrations so fascinating. There are 48 levels in total, and each level will involve the player having to reach the exit by moving the character and spinning the environment. Things start slow and relatively simply, but gradually other aspects are added to the puzzles, such as demonic balls that will crush the player, or black holes that threaten to suck in the player. Each level finds a new way to confuse the player using both the basic controls and newly added obstructions.

 
Sometimes, a level will click straight away with an obvious solution. But more and more the player will find themselves experimenting with different movements to try and find out what will happen before being able to plan a route to the exit. In a stroke of benevolence on the developers part, a rewind feature is only a button press away, allowing for a certain amount of harmless experimentation while trying to work out what the hell to do. The difficulty of the puzzles does ramp up, especially in the second half of the game. But the puzzles never feel cheap or unfair, often leaving the player feeling somewhat silly when the solution presents itself.

 
Visually, the games influences have already been mentioned. The fascinating optical illusion backdrops that encompass the puzzles themselves can be quite mesmerizing, while the hand drawn pencil art work is sublime. There are no cheery pops of colour to raise a smile in The Bridge, leaving the whole experience feeling serious and grown up.

 
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Puzzle games always work great on a handheld console, and The Bridge is a nice fit for the Nintendo Switch. The visuals may be basic, but the puzzles are anything but. For players who want to step away from the bright colours and action gameplay found on most Switch titles, The Bridge makes a perfect palette cleanser that is sure to challenge the brain cells.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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