Tuesday, January 22

Review: Build a Bridge! [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Bridge building games really took off in the mobile and tablet space, and can offer up some great physics-based fun, but have unfortunately had some serious challenges in being translated to Switch. While touchscreen play has typically worked out just fine, considering the versatility of the hardware and a desire to be able to play on your TV, the issue has tended to be with play in docked mode. Early titles went the route of using the console’s pointer controls and unfortunately that was an awful mistake. Though in bursts it works well enough the recurring issue with those controls inevitably wandering on you, forcing you to constantly contort yourself and recenter, made them a mess. So right out of the gate kudos to the people behind Build a Bridge for going with competent and reliable use of the controller instead.


For the most part if you’ve played a game like this before the setup should be familiar. You’ll need to lay down your pavement and then use different materials to help support your bridge to allow vehicles to safely pass over them. Since bridges sometimes need to be built to let things pass under them or around tricky landscape you’ll find you need to get used to building in curves and figuring out how to manage support in a wide variety of ways. Since this would quickly get dull if you only dealt with real world scenarios very quickly the game begins throwing increasingly outlandish ones at you, including ones where you won’t so much create a bridge as a big ramp to jump off of.


In order to help differentiate itself in the space you’ll also be able to take on challenges with some slight variations in the form of themes for the Orient (you know, bamboo and dragons) or Space (jump moon rovers occasionally with the help of UFOs). If you’re up to the challenge aside from having any success at all and managing to construct something that works using as small a budget as possible there are additional special challenges for each stage. Whether seeing if you can build restricted to only specific materials, being sure your vehicle gets a certain amount of hangtime, or any number of other odd variations if you are looking to eke out every bit of content from the game not only are there loads of levels to conquer but getting every star will present its own challenges on top of that.


While Build a Bridge doesn’t manage to match the more inventive and silly fun of something like Bridge Constructor Portal, among the more traditional bridge builders on the system I’d say it’s probably the one I’ve enjoyed the most. Granted, a lot of that boils down to having the controls working well and without kinks, something the other titles have hopefully patched by now, but first impressions can be vital. I wouldn’t say that Build a Bridge breaks any major ground in evolving the genre but if you’re a fan of physics-based titles and are trying to make a decision I can’t find any reason not to recommend it.


Score: 8

Pros:
  • Well implemented controls whether playing with the touchscreen or physical controls
  • A variety of objectives and ways to complete levels encourage experimentation
  • Alternative settings change out the look and feel of the experience for added fun

Cons:
  • While there’s plenty of variety offered overall this is mostly a traditional bridge builder
  • Even with tips and attempts to help some people just don’t grasp the underlying concepts well
  • There are multiple titles in this space and price range, each with their own merits