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Poly Bridge: If You Build It, They Will Crash

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Poly Bridge is a bridge construction game that has been in early access for quite a while. When it was first launched into early access this little game took the internet by storm. I am an avid Reddit.com visitor and not a day would go by when there wasn't a neat little 60fps gif file there showing off some pretty cool bridges that have been built.

Now that the days of early access are over for Poly Bridge, it brings with it some significant final touches. The level count in the campaign has jumped from a mere 36 to a whopping 105 which will be more than enough to challenge even the most savvy engineers and wannabes out there. Further to that the lighting effects and user interface have also had an overhaul which is immediately evident that plenty of work has been put into the final stages of development.

Poly Bridge takes a simple concept that has been done before but makes it user friendly and easy to learn, hard to master. I like a good puzzle game but often these bridge builders are quite hard to work out and really do require an engineer's degree in construction to even get a foot in the door. Poly Bridge will make you feel like a genius though. Well it will do that to some degree until you start hitting the big leagues. This game will also easily make you feel like a simpleton after you've finished your masterpiece of a bridge that you're so sure will work, to find that it crumbles even before any of the vehicles are driving over it.

Poly Bridge has a nice and unique way of helping you to figure out where you've gone wrong, or where you may want to make slight changes. By turning on the "Stress Visibility" you can see colour changes in the components of the bridge to see where the most likely section to fail is located. Your bridge sections will be coloured green if it's holding together strong, or it will turn orange to red if it's getting stressed and is about to break.

Poly Bridge feels like a fleshed out game that has had a good time in development. The visual effects serve the game's aesthetic well and really does make the game look amazing regardless of the low poly count styling. This game really shows off what you can do with good lighting and effects alone. Also showing great scope is the large number of materials and devices available for you to use in order to create your bridges. Poly Bridge is easily a game that every day folk can enjoy, but it can also be the dream game for those who might actually work in the construction industry.
The integration of the keyboard shortcuts and the mouse controls works wonderful with the carefully crafted user interface. When creating your bridge you are presented with a 2D grid in order to map out your design, then simply press space bar and your design comes to life in 3D and everything starts coming to life. Poly Bridge really does make it a pleasure to sit for hours designing bridges, even if that has never been something you've aspired towards. If you're like me, you won't be building bridges that look spectacular to start off with and that's fine. Even though my attempts looked more the bridges that were showcased in the Indiana Jones movies, I still felt a great sense of achievement when they worked. Hey, it looks like garbage but it didn't fall into pieces and no one died.

There's plenty to do even if you're stuck on the harder campaign levels. If you're confident you can move over to the workshop and try out some of the community created levels which might offer some different challenges. A good user created content section in a game like this will essentially provide an infinite amount of game play for those seeking to play. Further to that, you can add to the community base by making your own levels in the level creator.

Poly Bridge is a success story that still amazes me today. I never would have thought that a game of this type would be so generously taken to by the general masses, but Poly Bridge beat the odds by putting together a satisfying interface and fun replayability to its game. Hell, I even loved the soundtrack too. I loved it so much that I left it playing in the background while I wrote this review. It's soothing, calming and pleasant to hear the guitar strings playing in the background while the cogs turn in that brain while you're trying to build a bridge to get over it.

The final release of Poly Bridge is now available on Steam for $11.99USD for the standard version and $14.99USD for the deluxe version. You can even purchase the soundtrack for $4.99USD which might not be a bad idea so I can use it as writing music.

So with 105 campaign levels, a sandbox mode, community created levels and fun replays all packed into a neat package that you can easily lose hours playing, Poly Bridge is a game that I would be happy to recommend to anyone interested in this kind of puzzle genre.

SCORE: 8 out of 10

Positives:
  • Addictive concept
  • Calming soundtrack
  • 120k+ User Created Content
  • Simple but complex graphical design
Negatives:
  • Very steep difficulty spike
  • Can be tricky to adjust certain aspects of designs
  • Once you have a successful design you kind of just keep using the same over and over
Platforms: PC/Steam
Genre: Puzzle, Bridge Building
Initial Release: 9th April 2015
Developer:  Dry Cactus
Publisher: Dry Cactus

Lucas Aurelius
Aussie Gamers Express
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