The Bridge Constructor series is known for its physics-based bridge building gameplay, but also for its concept mashing. Not merely satisfied with having vehicles travel over roadways, Bridge Constructor took on a few radical forms, including collaboration with the Portal series for Bridge Constructor Portal. I originally though Bridge Constructor Portal to be strange, until I realized it fit neatly into the whole “testing” theme that Portal had going on. And then came along Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, and I struggled to see how The Walking Dead and Bridge Constructor could mash together. It turns out that the idea is actually a pretty good one.
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is a physics-based bridge building game, with a little bit of strategy and even light combat thrown in. This definitely isn’t your typical bridge building game. In Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, you’ll mostly be guiding your survivors to safety, while building bridges to facilitate their escape—or death traps to crush and blow up zombies. It’s in the latter where Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead excels, but it’s the former that takes up most of the game time.
There are multiple moving parts to most Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead scenarios. There are the parts which need to be built, in a (mostly) classic Bridge Constructor style. Then there are the parts where you tell your character to perform actions. The bridge constructing parts are about what you would expect from the Bridge Constructor series, except you’ll be utilizing your bridge building expertise to foil zombies as well as bridge people and vehicles across gaps. Sometimes a structural integrity failure after a certain weight is a good thing—because if enough zombies run over it, the weight will cause a collapse. Sometimes you’ll have to attach weights to a heavy object to pull it onto zombies below, or loose a spool which will roll and create destruction. There are the normal material types available—wood, steel girders, cable—with the sturdier materials being heavier, but also costlier. In Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, you don’t really have a budget so much as a score. If you score low enough, you’ll beat the challenge for the level and be rewarded a shiny badge.
Not only is constructing integral to Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, but so is strategy. Yeah, I never thought I’d have to consider combat in a bridge building game, but here we are. To be honest, while the idea of controlling characters to perform actions, escape, or even fight enemies was intriguing, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Characters can only perform actions through a clunky waypoint system. You can cue up commands at waypoints, and watch as your characters execute them. This requires a lot of trial and error when you incorporate the bridge building and the zombies themselves. Characters can even fight under ideal circumstances. But they won’t turn around on their own, even to defend themselves—and they’ll only perform the action from the last waypoint they hit.
Surprisingly, just like the strategy element, there is a heavy narrative element to Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead. It seems as though it’s a strange amalgamation of TV show, video game, and graphic novel. Each scenario is bookended by story to give context, and to advance the overall narrative. The dialogue and character interactions aren’t particularly well written, however. Don’t expect Telltale’s The Walking Dead style dilemmas, or even much drama.
I don’t know what I expected exactly from this mash-up, but I was hoping for a little bit better execution. Building bridges is what you would expect, and there are some clever and fun scenarios. But issuing orders to characters is clunky, and sometimes more frustrating than fun. The story and dialogue is just so-so, but it adequately sets the stage for each scenario. I’ll definitely be checking out any future Bridge Constructor combos. Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is interesting, but not great.
Bridge Contsructor: The Walking Dead is available now on Windows via Steam, GOG and the Epic Game Store, for Android on Google Play and iPhone on the App Store as well as for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series X|S.
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