TheBridgeScreenshot3

Indie puzzler, The Bridge, bends space, time, and your mind

logo

We are all familiar with MC Escher’s works of perceptual illusion and physical impossibilities. Quite brilliant really, stare into one of these works long enough and your eye gets lost in the detail as your mind struggles to make sense of the depth and contrast. It’s a world onto it’s own, ripe for puzzling — Ty Taylor and Mario Castaneda have done just that in the indie-darling, The Bridge.

On the surface it looks so simple, but the devil is in the detail, and I think that’s what makes The Bridge an instant classic. One in which grey-scale MC Escher-esque landscapes and mind-bending puzzles come to life. Like most great puzzle games the goal is deceptively simple: navigate your avatar (who looks suspiciously like Escher, himself) to the door and proceed to the next level. Of course, the door is sometimes on the wall… or is that the ceiling… oh, wait, that’s the floor again. The sketchbook-art style of Castaneda is really quite inspired, as you are drawn (pun intended) into The Bridge’s beautifully designed levels.

TheBridgeScreenshot4

The game utilizes a minimalistic control scheme – WASD to move your avatar, and the Arrow keys to rotate the game environment. Yeah, that’s right… I said rotate the game environment, have fun trying to do both at the same time while processing gravitational physics. As in many puzzle games, you learn to crawl before you walk, walk before you run. Each level presents a unique challenge, the solution to which becomes part of your mental arsenal to use in future levels.

Soon enough, however, you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of mobius strip trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Fear not, for the developers want the game to be accessible, fun, and encourage experimentation — the game has a “rewind” function, a la Braid, however, unlike Braid, it is not a part of the game-play from what I’ve experienced, rather, it is available so that you can explore the game freely.

I like to fancy myself the resident puzzler at Nerd Appropriate; you know, decent mental-rotation and spatial-orientation cognitive abilities, charming good-looks, that sort of thing… so believe me when I tell you this game will challenge you. There are times in which I simply had to take a step back and approach a puzzle at a later time. At one point my mind became so lost in the infinite looping of one stage, I found myself endlessly rotating the environment, starting into the washing machine of my mind. I got a little nauseous — I don’t mean this in a negative way, that’s high praise. This is the point at which I realized I really enjoy this game.

TheBridgeScreenshot5

So I write this as I am stuck at a particular puzzle a bit later in the game, knowing full-well that a more challenging mode of the game is unlocked once the main story is complete. I also look forward to the a-HA moment, when I finally solve it.

The Bridge is a must-play, for the presentation as much as the game-play itself. What started as a college project has turned into something quite wonderful, having garnered praise from various indie-challenges, developer showcases, and even the PAX 10. Now, you can enjoy the game on Steam, with support for Steam Cloud, Big Picture, and Full Controller support.

The Bridge is Black and White

The Bridge on Steam

Good luck, and Happy Gaming.

Scott

Hi, I’m one of the founders of Nerd Appropriate and the Rated NA podcast. I like good and bad sci-fi films and tv, pho, and the retrofuture. I am primarily an Xbox gamer, but also do some PC and Wii U gaming as well. By day, I am a research scientist, mostly in topics related to human-computer interaction and user experience. Before all this, fellow NA co-founder Matt and I played music together in various bands. I also used to make "comedy" videos for my high school morning news program before there was a place to post them online. Favorite Star Wars character? Admiral Ackbar. Best Bond era? Timothy Dalton (Craig a close second). Game of all time? Maybe System Shock 2. Thanks for being a part of this labor of nerdy love with us.
  • BombmanDK

    My 8 year old son understood the bend; This is the hint: look at all the lamps when you rotate while in the cage and then realize the significance of what you see!

    • It took me a while to key in on the lamps in this game, but it definitely helps. While the juxtaposition of the image and text in this article indicate that I was stuck on the Bend, it was actually The Intersection (two levels later) that stumped me for unknown reasons, if memory serves me correctly. What a fun game!