Bridge Constructor Portal Review

By Kelly Packard, 9 months ago
As players may have learned in Bridge Constructor, building bridges can be a stressful job. Now picture building a bridge while Portal's mean robot-lady GLaDOS breathes down your neck, convoys of vehicles loop in and out of portals, everything bounces around thanks to repulsion gel, and a small army of turrets fires upon the helpless drivers. That's Bridge Constructor Portal.


The whole shebang may seem like an unlikely coupling, but when you see Bridge Constructor Portal in action, it starts to make sense. As the game begins, your character is one of many to be interviewed for a job. Portal's dark humor is in swing right away; answering any of the interview questions wrong will see your chair drop through a floor panel so you can be engulfed by the familiar incinerator (Pro tip: Do not say you'd make lemonade when asked what you should do if life gives you lemons). Portal's trademark humor is intact throughout, largely thanks to the presence of GLAdOS, who is voiced by the manipulative robot's original actor, Ellen McLain.

The humor isn't the only piece of Portal that has intermingled with Bridge Constructor; mechanics players will recognize from Portal and Portal 2 are integral to your construction. It's not just about building bridges anymore; it's about building a bridge that will support a vehicle after that vehicle bounces off repulsion gel, jumps through two portals and presses a button that drops a companion cube on a turret, eliminating it so the other vehicles can safely pass. Portal fans will love the inclusion of these elements, and they make the game more than just Bridge Constructor with a Portal logo slapped next to it.

The presence of the Portal mechanics also makes puzzles challenging and satisfying to solve. There are two parts to any Bridge Constructor Portal equation: figuring out what to do, then building it. Unfortunately, the solving is a lot more fun than the building. Knowing exactly what to do is often followed by a tedious amount of building, tearing down and rebuilding. Some of the puzzles require precise placement of your materials or else the whole puzzle isn't going to work. More than once, I spent an obscene amount of time to tweak the minute angle of a jump or bounce point to get the route to flow smoothly. One word keeps coming to mind: tedious. Your bridges will require even more tweaking once multiple vehicles start to need to use them, adding more pressure to their supports.

Thank goodness, an easy oneThank goodness, an easy one

It probably sounds contradictory: Bridge Constructor Portal's puzzles are satisfying but tedious and boring. The problem is that your time will be unevenly split between 10% enjoyable puzzle solving and 90% building. The building's monotony and the time spent to do it outweigh the enjoyment of these tiny bursts of puzzle solving. Piling dozens of little triangle formations high into the air to support your bridge and complete the puzzle gets old quickly. As the game drags on, the puzzles get longer and more finicky, but not necessarily more thought-provoking. Completing each level turns into a test of endurance instead of a brain teaser. It got to the point that opening a new level, figuring out the puzzle and seeing the amount of building involved made me want to close the game.

At least, Bridge Constructor Portal's ideal audience is easy to pick out: those who already know they enjoy the Bridge Constructor series' core gameplay are going to like it, and they're going to like it even more if they also like Portal. For players who tried Bridge Constructor before and found it tedious, boring or repetitive, the Portal elements won't be enough to convert them into a fan.

Fun fact: the drivers of the vehicles don't have to survive; we only care about the vehicle hereFun fact: the drivers of the vehicles don't have to survive; we only care about the vehicle here

Earning all 1,000 gamerscore on Bridge Constructor Portal is straightforward. There are achievements for completing all the levels and delivering every convoy (one vehicle making it through the route will pass the level, but you'll have to make an entire chain of vehicles go through to get full points). There are also a few miscellaneous achievements earned for tasks like bouncing on repulsion gel or entering portals a certain amount of times. Of course, with Bridge Constructor Portal being a puzzle game, there will always be guides to help out players struggling with certain levels. Many gamers on the site have already earned all the achievements.

Summary

Bridge Constructor Portal is still Bridge Constructor. The inclusion of GLaDOS, dark humor and Portal staples like gels, turrets and companion cubes will be appreciated by fans, but it's not enough to overcome the tedious core gameplay. Once you have the satisfying 'a-ha!' moment of solving a puzzle, you come to the unfun part: painstakingly piling up dozens of little triangle formations to create supports for your structures. The formula gets old quickly as the puzzles start to require more elaborate building, and we come back to that word: tedious. Players who know they enjoy Bridge Constructor will be at home with Bridge Constructor Portal, but those who disliked past games in the series should steer clear, despite the tantalizing Portal branding.
3 / 5
Bridge Constructor Portal
Positives
  • Puzzles can be challenging and satisfying to figure out
  • Portal fans will appreciate GLaDOS' inclusion and familiar Portal mechanics like propulsion/repulsion gel, turrets and companion cubes
Negatives
  • Core building gameplay is way too tedious to be fun
  • Gets repetitive and old quickly
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent 12 hours building really questionable bridges in Bridge Constructor Portal. It's a good thing the drivers don't have to be alive at the end of the test, only the vehicles, am I right? 10 achievements were won for 640 gamerscore in the process. An Xbox One code was provided by the ID@Xbox team for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Kelly Packard
Written by Kelly Packard
In a few descriptors: college student, longtime gamer, writer and junk food enthusiast. I contribute to TrueAchievements as a news writer and reviewer. Usually, you can find me knee-deep in a multiplayer game while ignoring my growing backlog or on one forum or another discussing all things gaming.