Posted: December 24, 2013
Like a lot of other players, I was immediately sold on The Bridge's concept and art style. Both are certainly very solid: Mind-bending puzzles in a graphite or charcoal sketch style inspired by the works of M.C. Escher. Puzzles work by rotating the level and moving your character, and solutions often require managing gravities that work in several different directions within the same level. There's little not to love with that description, and that is ultimately what sold me on the game.
What ultimately comes out of that concept, however, is little beyond an exercise in tedium. There are several details in the game's execution that leave more to be desired. (Full disclosure: I reached about halfway through Chapter 4 before realizing that I was not enjoying myself in the slightest.) First, and most noticeably, is the ambling pace of both the character's movement and that of the level rotation. Many times, I found myself just idly holding a direction for several seconds, waiting for the level to reach the desired orientation while my character impotently shuffled about trying to gain footing on the shifting ground. Or I'd end up dragging my feet along a "twisting" path -- which usually turns out to be ultimately linear -- to my destination, long after having worked out the solution. I appreciate a good, thoughtfully paced puzzle experience, but perhaps the motion of the level and character should actually match that speed of thought.
Perhaps more egregious, though, is that the puzzles, while sometimes fairly challenging, never actually feel satisfying to solve. Unlike other more clever puzzle platformers, there were never any "Oh, yeah! THAT'S how I'll do it!" moments while playing The Bridge. Everything seemed to just kind of putt along, and reaching a solution seemed like a given more than an actual achievement. Perhaps it gets more interesting after Chapter 4, but that's the point that I gave up.
Other objections could be made of how highly derivative -- downright imitative -- the game is of a certain other time-bending puzzle platformer. One could suggest that shoehorned time reversal mechanic adds absolutely nothing to the game experience other than harking to another better game. Arguments could be made that the narrative and level structures are almost identical to that one game with the timey wimey stuff. One could do all that, if one wasn't enjoying playing Braid so much more.
Overall, I wouldn't personally recommend The Bridge, unless you picked it up on sale and don't mind tediously trudging through admittedly very competently illustrated puzzles for a few hours. I commend the developers and wish them the best for their future games, but hopefully next time they won't try to make Braid 2: The Rebraidening.