When humanity first started bridging rivers, they probably had to worry about either laying tree trunks across a stream or setting up rope bridges across chasms. Not so for the bridge designers of today – a bridge designer would have to consider many factors, like taking into the account the location and orientation of the bridge, acquiring geological data for building strong foundations, engineering a sound bridge design, and ensuring the availability of materials and equipment to be used at the construction site.
What you get
With Bridge Constructor, a puzzle simulation game developed by Clockstone Studio and published by Headup Games, the location and orientation of the bridge has already been decided – it will either be a river or chasm of varying width. Each level comes with predefined foundation points for you to start designing and building your bridge.
The game’s oversimplified story has you building 30 bridges for the island nation of Camatuga after an earthquake takes them all out. There are five themed regions in the game: seaside, badlands, hills, mountains, and cities.
The bridges you build must be able to take vehicular traffic from one side to the other – as simple as that!
Materials are made readily available to you although you will have to abide by a strict budget. Equipment like excavators and cranes are fortunately not required at all in the game; all you need do is to point and click to build your bridge, relying on an overlaid grid for precision.
The hardest part of the game however is coming up with a working bridge design. Depending on the material available in the level – be it wood, steel, concrete, or steel cable – you will find you can build a different length with each of these. Wood can only span a short four grid squares (which is equivalent to 10 meters) while steel cables can reach out to any length.
Deciding where to start building is simple: a yellow dot are foundation points reserved only for concrete pillars, while the white dots can be used to connect all other material types. You can easily pan left and right and zoom in or out with your mouse, useful for when you are building with symmetricity in mind, or later when you are concerned about aesthetics or about getting the best score.
Testing plays an important role in bridge design, and what better way than to enable “Simulate” mode to see at first whether your bridge can stand on its own. If your bridge design “survives”, you will noticethat individual sections will be colored from green to red – this indicates the stress upon that particular span or beam.
The second stage allows you to select vehicles to drive over your bridge – the ultimate in bridge testing. You can either select two cars or two trucks, both of which will start driving from left to right at a constant velocity and a fixed distance apart. As they start across, the color indication will start to update showing the stress encountered on all bridge sections. If you wish, you can disable the stress indicators to admire your bridge in its natural colors.
Bridge Constructor is quite a fun simulator that is highly accessible thanks to its crisp looking graphics (courtesy of the Unity Engine) and convenient point-and-click interface. The game is simple enough to be played by anyone, but its casual style play is complicated by physics-based rules which you must discover and learn by trial and error. There are no educational pointers to guide you in the game, although a quick Internet search (- try searching for “Truss” on Wikipedia -) should get you the requisite ideas you need to know.
The game is also quite linear: you will often have only one level to choose from, although the 5 different regions of Camatuga do give you an extra level now and then. If you ever find yourself stuck on a level, there is no way for you to skip it. Luckily, solutions are readily available online from many sources across the Internet.
Get ready for that euphoric feeling when you do solve a level, especially when you get the two trucks safely across your bridge – you deserve a pat on your back, especially if you get a high score when your result is posted to Facebook.
For it’s current price point, Bridge Constructor is a good choice if you are looking for something different in your game – this a simulation that will zap quite a lot of your brain power so that you can solve each of the fun physics-based puzzles found within. Designing and building great looking bridges has never been this challenging, and you have the developers Clockstone Studio to thank for this holiday season!