Back in December news came down that something new was brewing in the Portal universe. Of course any time a small nugget of information releases without the full details made available, speculation runs rampant. That’s the double-edged sword of teasing an announcement – sometimes people’s expectations and reams soar through the stratosphere. When it was revealed that Bridge Constructor Portal was the new game in development, the reception on the internet was pretty negative – people wanted Portal 3. Here we are two months later playing the final product and I’m happy to say that this is a fun game in its own right!
It’s not what people asked for, but that perhaps works in favor for Bridge Constructor Portal. At its core the game has you creating bridges, ramps, slides, etc. so that the test vehicles can make it safely to the finish line. The game slowly introduces new construction tools and guides to help you achieve your goal. The controls are impressively simple and quickly allow for you to build all sorts of structures.
What makes the game so darn exciting (and difficult at times) is that everything in the game has realistic physics. So, if you build a bridge spanning a large length without the proper supports, it will crumble under its own weight. On top of that, the structures have to be able to withstand vehicles driving over them as well. You can easily and quickly test your structures to see if there are any weak points (which show up as red). Then you can send one vehicle on its way to see how it interacts with your setup and whether or not it makes it to the goal line. You may notice small details that need to be fixed or changed, but what you may not realize is that your structure may not be able to withstand a convoy of vehicles. That’s because the weight and stress of multiple vehicles moving about different parts of your bridges can cause unforeseen problems – like wobbling roadways or suspension ropes snapping from the stress. It gave me a slight glimpse of what it must be like to be an engineer, and it can be hard!
What really sets Bridge Constructor Portal apart from other games in the construction series is that it features the infamous test chambers. These look and act very similar to the ones found in the Portal series and thankfully Ellen McLain returns as the voice of the evil artificial intelligence GLaDOS. This injects some much-needed humor into each level and fans will appreciate this aspect of the game. The game also features the trademark portals, where you can send a vehicle through one and it comes out another one of the same color. Much like a Portal game, you’ll often have to send the vehicle through specific portals at various angles to make them speed up or slow down so they can reach the goals of the stage. As the game progresses you’ll have other Portal standbys like cubes, sentry turrets, lasers, propulsion gel, and more. It’s really a great combination of the two franchises and it creates a memorable and unique game all its own.
The game features the same graphics and aesthetics present in the Portal titles. There are nice little light sources and the UI isn’t obtrusive and is quite helpful. Everything in the game has a sterilized and clean look to them. The game runs smoothly and is great in handheld and TV modes. I like that you’re able to zoom in and move around the camera to get your constructions just right.
With about 60 test chambers to solve there is plenty of game here, especially when some levels can take upward of 30 minutes to figure out. These things get complex and can really challenge the mind. I found it helps to have a second person sitting on the couch and giving suggestions as to how to progress. Two minds are better than one! Even if you’ve never had an inclination to build a bridge before (like me), there’s fun to be had in Bridge Constructor Portal. It’s a perfect game to play on the go with self-contained test chambers so it’s easy to come back to and play in short spurts. This is a fantastic example of two IPs blending together to form a solid experience.
Bridge Constructor Portal was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.