A good puzzle game is hard to find, especially on mobile devices. Something truly unique and exciting comes along only occasionally. Bridge Constructor: Medieval is the most fun I’ve had on my android device in a long time that didn’t involve aliens, hideous mutants or warring armies. Rather than testing your reflexes or party management skills this game challenges you to think and plan with real-world efficiency.
Many puzzle games skip any story or plot, which is usually not a problem. In Bridge Constructor you’re treated instead to a series of silly conversations between a brash, impetuous king and his level-headed advisor. In addition to adding a logical framework for the puzzles these exchanges were genuinely entertaining and widened my smile upon success. You learn that the king wants to wage war on their barbaric enemies, but in order to do so supplies must be gathered, allies recruited and troops sent forth. That’s where they turn to the player, known as the “royal architect”.
If the idea of building bridges sounds utterly boring to you and you were hoping for some unusual twist, then I’m sorry to say there’s not going to be much for you here. That’s what you’ll be doing ninety nine percent of the time. The other one percent is spent reading the royal dialogue and cursing the cruel whims of gravity. Building bridges isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each bridge must cross a span of varying length and be strong enough to hold the weight of men, horses, troop-laden carts and catapults. This being medieval times your building materials are severely limited. You’ve got two thicknesses of wood, ropes and stones. Though stones are the sturdiest but only useable on certain spots and can only be placed vertically; you’re not going to get away with building a bridge of pure stone.
The game interface is simple but robust. On each side of the screen are the cliffs and a white line connects them to indicate where the bridge segments should be laid. Below and on the side are additional points where you can anchor the various building materials. Adding more to your bridge is a matter of dragging your finger from the starting point to the ending point. The different materials can be selected by a menu that pops in from the side and there’s a handy “clear bridge” button if you want to start from scratch. When you think you’ve built a strong, sturdy structure you can hit the play button and see how well you planned. Occasionally the double-tap-to-delete function seemed wonky on the sensitivity and I’d delete several sections that I intended to keep. Luckily the “undo” button solves these problems, but repeating this process several times grows tiresome.
As puzzle games have always done to up the challenge, there’s two tiers to every mission. One is simply the basic satisfactory completion required to continue while the other is the harder, brass ring objective. Most often this means building a bridge with a fairly tight limit on your resources. Later missions incorporate other objectives. Those barbaric foes I mentioned will assail your bridges with stones, making defense as much a priority as stability of the structure. The most fun for me was building trap bridges, intended to collapse at the before enemy forces could reach the other side, sending them plummeting to their doom.
There’s no consequence for failure but nonetheless the tension mounts as you watch your bridge take weight, each section of the bridge changing color from green to the telltale red that indicates it has come perilously close to breaking. Switching back and forth between construction mode and the play mode where time resumes and people attempt to cross the bridge is done with the push of a button. It allows for easy testing and a certain degree of trial and error, but to truly excel at this game you’ll find yourself looking at real bridges and studying their design.
It’s unusual to come across a puzzle game that is taxing enough to engage adults but likely simple and straightforward enough that a child could make a fair stab at it. The game is perfect for idle moments; in addition to being able to save several bridge designs per mission the game automatically saves as you go along. Whether they’re a budding architect or someone who just loves a good brainteaser, this game will be a delight to anyone who can’t stop pondering a puzzle or riddle until they’ve solved it.
Yes, a solid challenge at every level.
With an easily navigated interface, real challenge, and fun graphics, this should be on the top of your list.