In what could be one of the more unexpected crossovers in recent times, the well regarded Bridge Constructor series has teamed up with The Walking Dead to forma fun, though bizarre, little puzzle title.
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead takes its cast from the AMC Television series rather than the comics, so we get “likenesses” of Daryl, Michonne and Eugene in amongst some new characters. I put likenesses in quotes because, well, they are recognisable to a degree but the art style does their rugged, apocalyptic charm no favours.
It’s hardly a deal breaker mind, and they only really show up in these cut scenes for a short while. There is no voice acting but ClockStone Studio have manged to get the general character traits of each right in the text dialogue, even if Eugene’s complicated prose is a little over done here.
But the characters and setting are just an interesting hook to catch the attention; the real meat of the game is the same physics based gameplay that the series is known for. I’ve never really gotten into the previous titles despite my fondness for this style of puzzle game as, quite frankly, I’m terrible at them. As soon as anything more complicated than a straight bridge is needed I struggled like all hell to keep the resource budget under the levels goal. That’s no to say BC:TWD is a bad time though. If anything, the Walking Dead tie in had me more willing to persevere, even if it is simply a familiar face to proceedings.
If you’ve not seen the Bridge Constructor titles before, let me give a quick overview of the gameplay; a level is presented, usually with a person or car one end that needs getting to the opposite side of the screen. Using various materials, such as wood or steel, we need to build bridges to get them there in one piece. The tricky part is in building genuinely functioning bridges, and doing so under each levels budget. We need to build struts, supports, use cabling, consider the weight of the bridge and the cargo going across it and more; it can really test our planning skills. At any point we can set the game in motion and see how our structure holds up, and are able to stop it at any time to make some adjustments as it inevitably comes crashing down before our eyes. There’s a real skill involved, and as a mobile title it works brilliantly.
On console we are of course restricted to controller input. This can make building a little more fiddly, though a quick undo/redo function helps with any accidental mistakes. Fine tuning placement of things can be a bit more hassle though as the cursor isn’t quite as accurate in its movement as I’d have liked. A few times I’d accidently placed a bean just to the side of one I’d intended to attach it to, though there is also an auto click into place feature which works most of the time.
Elsewhere, we can also set commands for any of the heroes to execute in order at specific points in a level. This feature I was not so keen on, simply due to the more awkward control implementation. We move between the points with the stick, and the characters with the d-pad, but once we’ve selected a point it moves between stick and d-pad input, and the UI isn’t overly clear about what we’ve already set up, or how things might play out between points if we need to send characters bac and forth.
Personally, I found my time with the game to be mixed; on the one hand, I enjoyed the setting and general gameplay premise. Building massive structures, making use of the physics to set of chained events and planning out a solution to a level is good fun. To a point. Some of the stages require incredibly laborious solutions that not only are fiddly to implement, but also can see even one small change mess the whole thing up. And trying to get under the levels budget while also completing one of the other goals (kill X amount of walkers, capture X amount of barrels etc) had me tearing my hair out as my carefully laid plan fell apart after spending far too long on my construction. Again, it’s more that I’m clearly not cut out for structural engineering, but there is no in-game hint or guide system which would have been hugely appreciated, even if it just gave us a starting block to work from.
For such an unlikely pairing, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead manages to combine the zombie apocalypse and structural engineering well. An in-game hint system wouldn’t have gone amiss, and it can be a bit fiddly to place things at times, but overall if you’re after a challenging puzzle game – and enjoy the TV show – then this is a great pick up.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.