Available On: PC, Mobile, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch
The original Bridge Constructor was a novel puzzle game that tasked players with, well, constructing bridges in order to ferry cars and trucks across chasms. Budding engineers had to overcome real physics issues involving supports, anchors, and the distribution of weight.
Bridge Constructor Portal is a vastly superior sequel that expertly injects beloved themes and characters from the Portal series while making the entire gameplay experience far smoother and more enjoyable for console players.
Welcome Back to Aperture Science
Bridge Constructor Portal absolutely nails the dry yet cheery humor of the Portal series. The Portal games were first-person puzzlers that put players through a grueling series of tests involving a unique portal-creating gun, only for the player to discover the dark inner-workings of Aperture Science along the way. The series is best known for its starring villain, a powerful and uniquely voiced AI called GlaDOS.
Delightfully, GLaDOS returns for Bridge Constructor Portal, serving as the sardonic narrator for Aperture Sciences’ newest architect. Bridge Constructor’s series of physics tests mesh perfectly with Portal’s narrative series of science experiments. GLaDOS doesn’t quite introduce every single level, but every line of narration is humorous and brings back fond memories of Portal.
Throughout each of the 60 levels, you’re given a single objective: safely transport a vehicle (filled with silly stick figures) from point A to point B. You’re given only a handful of tools to construct bridges, and limited to specific anchor points. Where Bridge Constructor Portal really shines are in the incredible level variety and Portal-themed hazards along the way.
Bridge Over Troubled Acid Baths
The actual portals are used in clever ways throughout the campaign, using the familiar color-coded approach to juggle multiple portals. Often they’re a means of doubling back across bridges and utilizing as much space as possible within a constrained area, forcing players to think outside the bridge when creating their sturdy constructs.
Portals aren’t the only challenge. You’ll also have to move vehicles across vats of acid and around deadly laser fields, and avoid turret fire. And yes, the turrets all feature that awesomely-goofy GLaDOS voice. The companion cube also makes more than a cameo appearance. In many levels vehicles must drive over switches to activate different effects, such as dropping down cubes to destroy turrets, or activating ramps.
A few levels even employ pinball-like puzzles, using bridge supports to bounce balls into certain positions to activate more switches. This goes far beyond the scope of the original Bridge Constructor games, which are nicely included in the new retail edition. Bridge Constructor Portal makes the rather simple act of building ropes, supports, and roads fascinatingly complex thanks to all these additional hazards and challenges.
Bridge Constructor Portal is rated E10+ for Fantasy Violence. Vehicles are full of little stick figures who perish along with the vehicle in acid or fiery explosions, but it’s all done for cheeky laughs. The original Bridge Constructor games (included in the retail edition) are rated E for Everyone, with slightly less acid baths and death lasers.
While it’s nice to have some of the original Bridge Constructor games included in the retail edition, Portal is by far the best offering, almost to the point that it’s difficult to go back to the early games. The interface was far clunkier and clearly designed for mouse and keyboard, whereas Bridge Constructor Portal works perfectly well with a controller, and it’s a literal snap placing, moving, and deleting pieces in your elaborately designed structures. Puzzle game aficionados and Portal fans alike will adore this perfect blend of great theming and solid gameplay.