“It’s like the laws of physics just went right out the window!”
“And why shouldn’t they? They’re so inconvenient.”
– Geordi LaForge and Q, Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Bridge is a little bit sketchbook, a little bit MC Escher, a little bit crazy. It’s sort of a sideways scroller, but there are two twists that make the game particularly notable. First, you don’t really control the character so much as you control the whole world. Second, the entire three dimensional world has been flattened into two impossible dimensions, leaving you to figure out how to navigate not only your character, but also manipulate objects both good and bad. You will scratch your head at some point.
Turn, turn turn
As a subtle hint that gravity may not necessarily apply, The Bridge starts with the main character under an apple tree. The world of The Bridge is gloomy and grey, with a hand drawn pencil hatch mark feel, so it’s part art project, part game. You must venture through a series of 48 levels controlling your character using the A/D keys to move left/right, while the Left/Right arrow keys rotate the world. The ultimate goal is to make it to the level’s exit door; along the way, there are gravity vortices and crushing stones, which should be avoided. There may also be one or more keys, which you’ll need to unlock the level’s exit.
Gravity works much the same in The Bridge, with the main character and scene elements always falling towards the bottom of the screen. This can be used to your advantage if you rotate the scene so the character falls towards a door, but it can also work against you. An evil Tiki-god-Indiana-Jones-esque ball could also fall on you, or, in higher levels, you could also fall out of the bounds of the level. Floors, walls, and the ceiling are all interchangeable, and the challenge is to figure out which one you need to be walking on in order to make it to the exit door.
As though manipulating physics and your character weren’t enough, The Bridge also uses a unique Escheresque art form that makes impossibly flattened 2D drawings out of 3D worlds. Identifying where a ramp leads can be difficult, as it can pass above one part of the level but behind another. This means you can use it as a bridge to reach one part of the level, but you’ll be stuck at another—it sounds challenging and looks pretty tough, but it’s an addictive challenge to figure out where you can walk and where you can’t.
Luckily, all this brain tingling challenge is easy enough to grasp quickly, and the game has a very unique no-penalty time rewinder. In fact, it’s actually impossible to die, as such; you simply hold the space bar to rewind time and go back to before you messed up. Slightly gruesome is the fact that previous deaths remain in a ghostly pencil outline of your body (sort of saying “a corpse was here”), but you get unlimited rewind/redos.
The Bridge is available on Steam for 10 bucks. It’s got 48 levels in the basic version, with an expanded 24 alternate puzzles unlocked once you’ve played through the game. The artwork alone is visually stunning, and the game itself is a fun way to unwind your brain or zen out for a while. In a world of bright and tacky Angry Birds clones, The Bridge really stands in stark contrast with its simple but gorgeous black and white lithograph look.
Buy The Bridge
Seller: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Minimum Requirements: OS X 10.6, 1.4GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 400MB hard disk space, 256MB graphics card