Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is the sixth instalment in the popular physics-based puzzle game franchise, bringing us to nearly a decade of Bridge Constructor games.
The Bridge Constructor series, which is developed by Austrian development studio ClockStone, exploded in popularity in 2011 when a GIF of gameplay from the original game went viral on Reddit.
The games are relatively simple in concept: you build bridges. The real challenge comes from increasingly complex layers of resource management; players must consider factors like building materials, weight distribution, limited construction space and much more. Simply getting a truck from A to B can quickly become a comedy of errors and debris.
Since that original title in 2011, the folks at ClockStone have explored the potential of the format in a variety of new forms and themes, including Bridge Constructor Medieval and Bridge Constructor Stunts.
Their previous effort, Bridge Constructor Portal, released in 2017 and made great use of Valve’s Portal IP. Not only was it aesthetically similar to the Portal games, it took on board their mechanics such as portals and automated turrets.
This brings us to Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead, a cross-over with the global pop culture phenomenon of the same name by comic writer Robert Kirkman.
Much like its predecessor, the latest iteration of Bridge Constructor adapts the bridge-building gameplay to suit the perilous, undead-infested world of The Walking Dead. At first, you’ll simply be getting vehicles full of survivors from one side of the stage to the other. Once you’ve got your bearings throughout the first few levels, though, the game begins drip-feeding new mechanics to complicate matters.
In addition to constructing all manner of bridges and platforms – which will require economic and clever use of wood, steel and bungie cables – the human survivors are able to have commands queued up by the player. Once they reach pre-allocated spots on their path, they can perform different tasks depending on the character. It’ll take careful planning of their route as well as what actions they’ll take at each junction in order for them to reach their final objective in one piece.
Daryl, the crossbow-wielding biker made famous in the Walking Dead television series by actor Norman Reedus, can fire his signature weapon at the undead or to destroy parts of the environment.
In one example, I set up a sequence where Daryl drops a shipping container onto a beam, throwing explosive barrels into the air, which he proceeded to shoot with his crossbow – blowing open a crumbling wall so that a car full of survivors could safely drive through the opening.
It’s Rube Goldberg machine moments like this where the game can really make you feel like a genius; albeit after feeling like a complete idiot for half an hour. There’s a lot of trial and error involved in beating the eight levels in each of the game’s five chapters, but I found myself figuring out the puzzle quicker and quicker each time as I got a feel for how each of the building materials interacted with each other.
Overall, it’s a solid puzzle game with plenty of varied levels to sink your teeth into. The only area where Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead really sags is the actual story sprinkled between each level.
There’s a cast of original characters in addition to familiar faces from The Walking Dead universe, and they all talk and plan in short cutscenes before each mission begins.
After the first few, sadly, I found myself skipping through the dialogue altogether. These cutscenes feel like they only really exist to give a justification for including the licensed characters; it would honestly work well enough with no story at all.
But hey, if the barebones story and dialogue is far less interesting to you than the actual gameplay, it’s easy enough to ignore and skip right through. That’s not usually a compliment for a game, but I think in the case of a bridge construction simulator, an occasional forgettable and skippable cutscene is no real sin.
Fans of The Walking Dead – especially the excellent TellTale adventure narrative games – might be a bit disappointed by how the crossover manifests in the writing. But if you’re potentially hungry for a challenging and mentally satisfying puzzle game with a bit of Walker-slaying flavour, it’s a fun little experiment, even if slightly undercooked.
★ ★ ★ ☆☆
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is available now for Mobile, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One / Xbox Series X.
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead was played via Steam using review code provided by the publisher.