Bridge Construction Set Review

Developer: Chronic Logic Publisher: Chronic Logic
Release Date: August 26, 2003 Also On: None

Receiving Bridge Construction Set from Chronic Logic today, I expected something unique and fun, as the last game by that developer I had played was Gish, a great, unique platformer. But the more I thought about it, the less hope I had. Can a bridge construction game actually be fun?

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To put it simply, yes. BCS uses simple, creative, and freeform gameplay to keep players addicted. It has really only one mode. The gameplay consists of a river with two or more mounting areas on each site. At the beginning of the game in “Easy” mode, you are given a budget, materials, and description. You start with just Iron, building a tiny bridge over a tiny gap. Not realizing that there was a tutorial, I just started by making a road deck across the gap, and starting the test. It was then that the complexity of the game hit me. When you test a bridge, it applies gravity to your structure, and in some cases, sends it crumbling into the river. While testing, you can choose to show the stress on each link of bridge individually, from green for stable, to red for falling apart. But just because your bridge can stand doesn’t mean it passes. Next, you have to test the bridge by allowing either vehicles or a train to pass across, exerting more stress than its weight alone. As you progress in the game, you teach yourself how to build a strong bridge, using iron, steel, cables, and hydraulics for drawbridges.

As far as graphics go, they are as basic as they can be. The environments are just blue water and green grass, with occasional hue changes or small towers on either side. The real question I posed to myself is whether or not the game would actually be any better if the graphics were top-notch. But in a game like BCS, the important area of the game is gameplay. Yes, it may be slightly more eye pleasing with hyper-realistic lighting, but I would gladly sacrifice graphics for compatibility in a game like this.

Sound is… even more basic. There is no music at all. The only sound effects are clicks when you place materials, hums of vehicle engines, and crashes when your bridges fail. But again, in a game which is strategy and creativity based like this, things like graphics and sound matter much less than in games which rely on atmosphere.

Before I get into replay value, I feel that it’s important to mention the fact that you can create your own levels (with adjustable ground heights, budgets, materials, etc.) and email them off to a friend, which also means that Chronic Logic could release new level packs at any time (or if they don’t, you can!). The inclusion of this level editor is vital to a game like this’s success. This brings the replay value from “pretty good” to “awesome”. All in all, games like this really don’t get the recognition they deserve, but are worth hours of fun. You don’t need a great PC to play it, so go ahead and download yourself a demo and try it out.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 8
Written by Dave Review Guide

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