~It's hard to overstate my satisfaction~

Okay, mandatory Portal joke out of the way. But it's also true. Bridge Constructor Portal is just a fantastic puzzler, one of those ones that so often does that delightful thing where the moment you figure out what you're actually supposed to do, it all falls into place and you feel like a god damned genius.

But hop back a minute. What's the actual game? What is this connection between bridges, construction, and portals? Well, Bridge Constructor Portal is the latest entry in the Bridge Constructor franchise, and a crossover with Portal. Pretty simple so far. The premise, and I'm going to warn you now that the words 'bridge' and 'construct' are going to stop looking like actual words by the end of this, is simple.

You have, at the baseline, a vehicle that needs to get from point A, to point B. There are gaps, between the points. You have to construct bridges to ensure the vehicle can get across.

It's a very straightforward concept, like many puzzle games. But, like so many others, it's the details that make it interesting. And Bridge Constructor Portal has some very fun details, in its modest set of tools. Because to construct a bridge, you only have...Let's call it two and a half things. You have a rigid strut, which can turn into a tangible road. And then you have ropes. Struts handle being pushed down on better than pulled on, and an individual strut will stay straight, but they can only be so long. Ropes handle being pulled on, and can be any length, but have no rigidity.

And there, you get the wrinkles. Your bridges obey the laws of gravity. The connection between any individual pieces is only so strong. At the most basic level, your bridge has to be rigid enough to not shake itself apart, reinforced enough to handle the weight of the vehicle, and have the forces distributed well enough that the whole thing doesn't start a chain reaction.

That's just the Bridge Constructor side of this crossover, though. While I've never had the chance to play the original, it seems to be simplified somewhat from that version, which advertises actual budgets to stay within and multiple material types to work within. Here, that's all been stripped down, with your cash acting as a golf-style score of Lower Is Better, and your materials just being the singular type of convertible strut and the rope.

So, that's one side. Where's the Portal come in?

Ahah. There's where those wrinkles suddenly start folding over eachother and forming connections and look I made a brain.


This is firmly set in the Portal universe. You work for Aperture Science, whose logo might just be the one geek thing I'd totally wear on a t-shirt. (I'm a photographer when I'm not doing this, don't judge) You get your instructions, your helpful hints, and your cruel mockeries from GLaDOS herself, voiced by Ellen McLain proper. And your vehicle of choice, a little cartoony forklift driven by a couple of little Aperture Science stick men.

Oh, and you have the full set of Portal tricks going on in the puzzles around you. Bad news, you don't get to actually use them. No painting your roads with orange acceleration gel to rev up your forklift like a Hot Wheels car. Good news, taking your hands off of those controls leaves the level designers a lot of room to do some crazy stuff in some of these levels.

They do, admittedly, make some tweaks. The most obvious one is that the orange/blue portal system is gone. Instead, like goes to like, with blue opening to blue and so on. This is for two reasons: The first, is that knowing that portal A and portal B are connected, matters more than knowing which is A and which is B. The second, is that levels often won't stop at A and B, but will have C, D, even further letters and thus more pairs of portals to deal with.

So, this can lead to some real craziness. And that's on the levels that don't also have you trying to figure out how to bounce energy balls around, or kill a turret so it doesn't shoot your forklift until it explodes, or all sorts of twisted tasks keeping you from getting your vehicle(s) from the start to the finish.

Wait. I just said vehicle(s), didn't I. I did! Because you can get through each stage with just driving one forklift through...But then, you get the option (read: DO IT) to send through the convoy. Every level's convoy length, and timing, is a little different. One level might send 5 forklifts through slowly. Another might send a full dozen through as fast as it can. And convoys, oh, convoys have destroyed so many of my plans, you don't even know. More than once, I've had to basically clear the entire damn level, and rebuild my janky-ass solution from scratch to deal with the fact that it just did not hold up.

Oh, and in terms of platform, as you can see I did this on the Nintendo Switch, which might just be the best form to play it on. You get the really solid touch controls, which are great for quickly sketching out the rough form of a bridge. And then you get the joystick controls, which are much more reliable when you realize that rough form just kind of collapsed in on itself and dropped three tiny stickmen into a pit of deadly deadly acid and now you have to inform three tiny stick spouses. (You do not actually have to inform three tiny stick spouses) And of course, much like most puzzle games, video or otherwise, it makes a great portable thing to chew on exactly as long as you have time for.

I guess I normally put complaints here, don't I. Um...Well...I mean...I'd like the option to open up the dpad for actual movement instead of just the analog stick?

...Yeah that's all I got. This is just a super well executed form of what it is, so you either were turned off the moment I said "physics based puzzle game", or you should already own this by the time you're reading this sentence. Seriously, go buy it! Statistically speaking it's available on something in your house and for not a lot of money! Go, go!