The Bridge – A Surreal Escher-Inspired Puzzle Game

The Bridge - Key Art

“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” – M.C. Escher

Developer: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Released: February 2013
Price: £6.99 (PC/Mac/Linux), £7.99 (Playstation/Xbox), £8.99 (Android/Nintendo)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Android, Switch, Wii U
Available on: Steam, Humble, Epic, PlayStation, Microsoft, Google Play, Nintendo
Engine: Unity

Overview

2D puzzle-platformer The Bridge is inspired by Issac Newton and M.C. Escher, challenging the player to solve gravity and perspective based puzzles whilst traversing a range of impossible architectural landscapes. Starting life as a student project, the game impressively evolved into a professional quality indie game with the work of just two people (Ty Taylor and Mario Castañeda).

The Bridge Screenshot - Grave and Statue

The Bridge was well received at the time of release and won a number of awards between 2011 and 2014. Subsequently, the game’s development studio, The Quantum Astro Physics Guild, also evolved to include publishing services, aiming to help other indie developers successfully launch their games.

Gameplay

The Bridge is divided into chapters and consists of 24 main puzzles that involve a good variety of mechanics and obstacles such as gravity inversion, perspective manipulations, vortexes, parallel dimensions, and other mind-bending concepts in a world where the laws of physics don’t work quite as one might expect. Additionally, completing the game will unlock alternative versions of each puzzle along with a different ending.

The puzzles are satisfyingly challenging, requiring a specifically bent logic to solve. Death is only minimally punishing and simply allows the player to rewind time to a more opportune moment and continue. Much more frustrating were the excessively long loading times between each individual short puzzle. This was a minor gripe but technically unjustified and could negatively affect the player’s ability to immerse themselves in the game.

Styling

The game has a unique and sometimes creepy aesthetic with a sketchy, black-and-white lithographic style, very reminiscent of Escher but with hints of Dali-esque surrealism. The chapter loading screens feature more cartoon-like artwork which provides some variety amongst the visuals. The gentle music is relaxing and noninvasive and whilst it isn’t overly noteworthy it does nicely complete the overall feel of the game.

The Bridge Screenshot - Multi Key Puzzle

Summary

The Bridge is an interesting take on the puzzle-platformer genre, with inspiration from Issac Newton and M.C. Escher being present in both the mechanical and stylistic elements of the game. The challenges focus on physics and perspective and although difficult at times, are ultimately quite satisfying. It will take a few hours to complete and alternate puzzles provide some replayability. The solutions tend to emphasise logic however the less frequent platformer elements of the game make up some of the more tricky sections. Overall it is a title I’d recommend to anyone looking for a somewhat unique and heavily thematic puzzle-platformer game.

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