Buildin’ Bridges Straight to My Heart.
When I was a kid, I was enthralled by construction sets. Even at a young age, I could spend hours piecing together the most daunting LEGO kits. Dry Cactus’ Poly Bridge triggers memories of my childhood with its beautifully created virtual bridge-building set. In fact, Poly Bridge capitalizes on these childhood memories and raises them to the next level – with properly calibrated hydraulics, of course.
With regard to the core gameplay, Poly Bridge is not a drastic departure from other games in the niche bridge-building genre. Dry Cactus does, however, supply some interesting tools that I personally have not seen previously implemented; like the Trace Tool which gives players the ability to easily trace out a design and then fill it in with a specific material. Despite my initial concerns, an engineering degree is not required to navigate through Poly Bridge’s user interface. In fact, Dry Cactus has made it very simple for players to start building bridges, and I found that the game’s difficulty scaled well across its 100+ levels.
In short, players are presented with a 2D side view of various expanses in which bridges are meant to be built. It’s up to you to use whatever materials that are at your disposal – asphalt, wood, steel, cable, or hydraulics – to build a contraption that will allow all of the vehicles to reach their very important destinations. The amalgamation of these materials often resulted in whimsical creations; one of my favorites being a ramp that only the most courageous drivers would dare jump. The available creation tools resulted in hours and hours of mischief and mayhem.
Once satisfied with their creation, players can activate the inhabitants of the level in order to see how their contraption fairs against the forces of nature. If successful, you’ll watch as various polygonal cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles happily romp from Point A to Point B. However, if the bridge’s schematics were poorly designed, you’ll gaze in horror as ant-sized people unknowingly cruise across the highway and fall to their deaths, as the fruits of your labor crash down all around them. It’s disturbing, really.
The good news is you’ll have a magnificent time regardless of whether the citizens of Poly Bridge arrive at their destinations dead or alive. The game also features a fully-realized sandbox mode, which allows you to build nearly anything that you can imagine. Dry Cactus has implemented a Twitch integration mode by which viewers can offer suggestions to their favorite streamers who are meticulously erecting their own creations. All of these modes and tools result in an enjoyable experience that I’d recommend to anyone who is even slightly interested in Poly Bridge.
Sights & Sounds
In all honesty, I didn’t launch Poly Bridge for the first time expecting much in the way of graphics. After all, how many ways are there to present a bridge-building simulator? I was pleasantly surprised, however, with a world that I can only describe as elegant. The mixture of lo-fi 3D polygonal graphics with a rich palette of colors gives Poly Bridge a warm and inviting atmosphere that I absolutely loved.
The 100+ levels are divided up into several sections, each representing a specific type of biome: desert, snowy peaks, grassy hills, and more. All of the environments are magnificently executed and only made better by the game’s gorgeous art direction. The same goes for the countless vehicles that come into play within each challenge. Overall, Poly Bridge maintained a pleasant tone throughout my experience, which I would ultimately describe as cozy.
This same feeling flows into the soundtrack, as well. Poly Bridge features an original soundtrack written by Adrian Talens, a budding video game and virtual audio producer. Some listeners may not enjoy the acoustic ensemble, but I’d argue that the tunes are a relaxing companion to the game, and only serve to elevate the overall experience. As for the sound design, it’s exactly what you’d expect. The world is filled with sounds of car horns, hydraulics, and engines moving to and fro. What else do you need?
The Bottom Line
Poly Bridge is a quirky road trip that lead to hours of enjoyment, all of which were nestled in a cozy, polygonal wrapper. Due to the limitations of the genre, I’d expect this sort of game to only hold the average player’s attention for so long. However, I’d still argue that this is a great purchase for those who’re looking for a casual experience that lends itself to shorter play sessions. The case for this game is made even stronger by the gorgeous audio and visuals that Dry Cactus has managed to craft. Additionally, now is probably the best time to jump in, as many of the concerns raised in earlier reviews of Poly Bridge seem to have been addressed by the developer. Poly Bridge may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy the bridge-building genre, then you have no excuse not to try this game.
- Beautiful Art Direction
- Great Original Soundtrack
- Bridge Building Shenanigans
- Lacks Lasting Appeal