I'm typically wary of cross-overs between franchises that I love — especially in the world of gaming, where an older game may get updated with a tie-in from a trendy franchise that's marketed as a "brand new content"! It's rare for crossover games to offer anything substantial for fans of either property and cynically seem to exist as a quick cash grab.
Which is why I've been so god damn excited about Bridge Constructor Portal.
On the surface, combining two of the best physics-based puzzle games seems like a no-brainer. Bridge Constructor is a deceptively simple game that tests your civil engineering skills, while Portal is an iconic first-person puzzle game developed by Valve as part of the expanded universe from the Half-Life series that introduced the world to the Portal Gun.
Developed by ClockStone Studios, Bridge Constructor Portal captures the exact look and feel of the Aperture Laboratories test chambers from the Portal series and ports it into the Bridge Constructor style of gameplay perfectly. GLaDOS is back to give you all the snide advice as you work your way through 60 challenging levels. Originally released for PC on Steam, it's a perfect game to port to mobile, with the touch controls not impeding your ability to build, destroy, and rebuild sections of your bridge.
The charm of Bridge Constructor has always been the freedom to design any sort of "bridge" that's capable of achieving the goal of getting cars from one side to the other. You start off by building supports for your bridge, which can be converted to roadways with a simple tap. There are also suspension cords that can be used for additional support.
In keeping with the themes found in Portal, the rules here are even looser. Each test vehicle starts out with little test subjects in the back, but your goal here is only to ensure that the vehicle itself makes it to the goal — by any means necessary. It doesn't have to be pretty as long as it works.
As you progress through the different test chambers, familiar elements from the Portal series start to emerge — from propulsion and repulsion gels, to those creepy talking turrets and companion cubes. It provides a new wrinkle for hardcore fans of the Bridge Constructor games and is fan service done right for the Portal fans who will surely be drawn to this game.
There are some missed opportunities, however. While the game tracks how much money you waste on solving each test chamber, there doesn't seem to be any gameplay mechanic or punishment for spending too much or too little. And while Convoy mode tests your structure by launching multiple vehicles through the chamber one after another, it would have been nice to see a couple more different tests included for variety sake. Still, with 60 test chambers to work your way through there is more than enough content here to justify the price.
As seems to be the case with most Steam games ported to Android, Bridge Constructor Portal is available for half price of the PC version — just $4.99. That's quite a steal for a game of this quality, and should be considered a must-play for anyone with a Samsung Note phone who loves to get some use out of that S-Pen.
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