By Daniel Courtney
If anyone has ever told you to “build a bridge and get over it” then Poly Bridge may just be the game for you.
Poly Bridge by indie game developers Dry Cactus is a simulation-based bridge builder in which the player must construct a bridge stable enough to transport a number of vehicles to the other side. You can select from a variety of different materials such as wood, steel, cable, and hydraulic pistons and then construct your bridge on a 2D dotted plane. You need to take into account the weight of the various vehicles, the max joint stress of different parts of your bridge, your budget for the map, and any incoming ships which you will either need to avoid entirely or accommodate for.
Currently in Early Access on Steam, Poly Bridge is still a work in progress, but the current version features three worlds with over 36 levels, Steam Workshop integration, replay sharing, and a sandbox mode.
Poly Bridge is moderately priced at £8.99 and packs in just the right amount of entertaining content and challenges to make it worthwhile. Admittedly upon first impressions you may be sceptical whether the game is going to be entertaining enough to hold your interest, but you’ll quickly find yourself cheering in triumph whenever you manage to complete a stage. The game has a quick and easy tutorial system which will get you familiar with the controls in moments and despite a couple frustrating levels in the beginning, Poly Bridge offers just the right amount of satisfaction throughout to keep you coming back for more.
However, unlike other physics-based indie games (like World of Goo, for example), the maps don’t encourage quite the same level of creativity, and you’ll naturally find yourself wanting to reuse the same bridge designs that have worked for you in previous levels. Neither is it always immediately obvious where your designs are falling apart, so you may encounter yourself repeatedly mashing the shift key to try and pinpoint exactly where it keeps collapsing. Luckily the game offers a few ways to help you with this, providing an on/off button which reveals the high stress points in your bridge, and allowing you to zoom in on specific areas. While the earlier levels may have you believing you’ve taken to bridge construction like a fish to water – some levels of incomparable difficulty dotted sporadically around the campaign will instead have you believing you’ve taken to bridge construction like a fish to high-speed off-road dirt biking.
Nonetheless Poly Bridge will manage to hold your interest for a good amount of time and any frustrations brought up while playing will quickly dissipate and return to enjoyment. The friendly low-poly style graphics mixed with the relaxing background music add up to a fun, casual playing experience that always brings you back for more. Despite not being a finished product as of yet, this is certainly an Early Access game done right with a great amount of content in comparison to the low price, and with no cumbersome engine bugs. Poly Bridge is a game well worth your money if you’re looking for a fun little game to pass the time.