The fictional nation of Camatuga has been devastated by a huge earthquake leaving the town’s population stranded! Built upon five islands, the only way in or out is via the network of bridges that criss-cross the landscape, but all 30 have been completely destroyed. It is up to you to rebuild the transport infrastructure and get the nation back on track … No pressure!
Thrown In At The Deep End
On the face of it Bridge Constructor may seem daunting. I mean, how many of us know anything about bridges? I personally envisioned a challenging game with a steep learning curve, meaning a lot of attention would have to be dedicated to tutorials. I was wrong. What I discovered was, yes, a challenging game, but no tutorials to speak of. Nada. Nevertheless, after playing around with the different levels it isn’t too difficult to ascertain the general gist of the game, but just in case, let me walk through some of the key points.
Needless to say the aim of the game is to, well, build bridges, but for added difficulty you must do so with specific materials and of course, the dreaded fiscal budget. For each new construction there can be any combination of four materials: wood, steel, concrete and cable. As I’m sure you can deduce, steel and concrete cost a lot more than wood and cable, so watch your budget carefully! In most cases, it is best to only use stronger, more expensive materials in crucial stress points for maximum effect and minimal cost.
There are five islands to make your way through and a cumulative total of 30 sites ready for construction. Some can be quite basic, and others utilise the suspension bridge style. After constructing the bridge in draft mode, you must take it to “real” life and run both cars and trucks over it to test its strength. The individual components of the bridge alternate between red and green to show the level of stress they’re under — no prizes for guessing which colour is bad. Successfully running trucks over the bridge earns you bonus points, as does coming in under budget. There is also great Game Center incorporation with many challenging achievements to complete.
Now that I’ve given you the unofficial rundown on the basics, let’s find out just how fun Bridge Constructor is. Depending on your taste in gaming, this could be the greatest or lamest app you’ve ever downloaded. If, like me, you love classics like Sim City and Rollercoaster Tycoon, the odds are you will enjoy Bridge Constructor. Though a lot more limited than the aforementioned titles, there is still a lot of fun to be had with this game, even if it can become a tad repetitive.
The types of bridge you can build really depends upon the materials available in any given level; if only wood is available, unfortunately the construction isn’t going to be terribly exciting. However, throw some steel and cable in there and it’s a different story. Games like Bridge Constructor really bring out the inner child that really wants to build huge, elaborate structures, but unfortunately, budgetary constraints really limit the amount of fun you can have.
A brilliant addition to this game could be a “free-roam” level in which it is possible to build any bridge you’d like over your chosen landscape without having to worry about money. That’s not to say the regimented levels aren’t fun — believe me they are — but it’s always cool to create without restriction. The trial and error nature of this game can become frustrating, but is also highly rewarding. Trying out different combinations of diagonal truss structures and suspending the road with cable is really brain engaging, and coming up for the cheapest way to support the trucks for maximum points, provides some real mental stimulation.
Interface & Design
Building bridges can be a slightly tedious task at times, especially when removing individual materials with a double tap, for example. When a game is inherently complex and fiddly in nature, the overall quality of the gameplay and interface is compromised by the limited screen real estate (a problem Bridge Constructor unfortunately suffers from). However, this issue is symptomatic of iPhone gaming in general. Fortunately, this game is a universal release, so if you have an iPad you can enjoy the bigger screen, as well as more accurate taps and material placement.
Despite the fact this game suffers from a poor navigation and menu system, an issue that can’t really be helped a great deal, aesthetically, Bridge Constructor is impressive. The level of detail in each location is something to be applauded and although the game itself is why this app is worth the price, the attention given to secondary features is great. Along with the great landscaping and the overall realistic nature of the bridges themselves, the soundtrack provides some relief from the occasional extreme frustration that you will almost certainly encounter.
How Does It Stand Up?
It is great to see developers like Headup Games pushing the boundaries of the iOS platform with increasingly complex and detailed games and their success is testament to the demand for such titles. However, I still harbour some doubts over the iPhone as a console of sorts for the more intricate levels of gaming. Sure, the likes of Angry Birds and Tiny Wings are perfect for the iPhone, but I know for sure that Bridge Constructor is a better fit for the iPad.
Having said that, this game, on both iOS devices, has provided 30 challenging and rewarding stages and a great deal of fun at the same time. There is a lot of potential for future updates and if you love to build, then Bridge Constructor may be the game for you.