Bridge Constructor Portal, after an earlier release on Steam, has arrived for PS4 courtesy of Headup Games. Blending the familiar Bridge Constructor gameplay with a unique blend of Portal, this is one that fans of either series will have been looking forward to.
I’m definitely one of those people, and I’ve been hoping for years that Valve will suddenly announce a third Portal game – much like I keep hoping for Half-Life 3. Neither one is on the horizon, but Bridge Constructor Portal is the closest thing to a Portal title in years. And with the Portal-inspired Q.U.B.E. 2 on the horizon, these are good times.
I’ve played the original Bridge Constructor quite a bit, and two things kept bugging me. First, once I had a decent grasp of the basics of bridge building, many of the levels starts blending together for me. The other thing was that the game didn’t leave too much room for creativity, because you were always limited in the amount of resources available to you. Bridge Constructor Portal “fixes” both of these issues for me, and I already can’t wait to go back and try a few levels again with new ideas.
Speaking of which, a lot of the solution ideas you’ll be thinking of are very much Portal inspired. Obviously, the portals themselves play a large role in this. They create multi-layered levels by teleporting a vehicle elsewhere on the playing field, forcing you to create more than one contraction in many of the levels. The basis is always the same though – create a structure that will allow vehicles to safely pass towards the exit tube.
The portals can also be used in far more elaborate ways though – as they can be in Portal and Portal 2. You can have vehicles drop down and plummet into them, using the velocity they’re gained by blasting over a gap after they come out of the exit portal, for instance. Instantly familiar to Portal veterans, and extremely fun to pull off – and actually it’s often pretty fun if things go wrong as well.
The Portal license doesn’t just extend to the core gameplay – which includes other aspects like turrets and gels as well. The development team that Headup used also made sure that the game looks and sounds a lot like Portal – making the absolute most of the license. This isn’t just Bridge Constructor with a Portal skin, it feels like a hybrid with equal shares from both universes. As far as Portal goes, that means that GLaDOS is there to taunt you as well – and that there’s plenty of artwork and signage that will feel familiar.
The Portal infusion to the formula also means there’s more room for diversity and creativity, with levels feeling quite distinct from one another. They start off simple (and feel a lot like the classic Bridge Constructor gameplay at that point), but things quickly get trickier and more “Portal-like”. Even with an unlimited amount of building materials, thing can still become very difficult when you run out of places to anchor your construction from. Sometimes, scrapping a design and starting over is the best solution – whereas in Bridge Constructor I’d always have a pretty good idea of what was needed and just tweaked that until it worked.
Not having been able to play a proper new Portal game for almost seven years now, it was a delight to play Bridge Constructor Portal. It’s not the same and not as grand as Valve’s offerings, but it’s certainly enough to tide fans over for a little bit.