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February 2023

Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: Headup Games
Release Date: Nov. 19, 2020

About Lauren "Feffy" Hall

I am a freelance writer based in Canada, where it's too cold to go outside; therefore, we play a lot of video games. I'm an expert zombie slayer (the virtual kind), amateur archer (for actual zombie slaying and general apocalypse purposes - it could happen), and a work-in-progress wife and mother (IRL). My claim to fame: I completed the original MYST without looking up cheats. It took several years. What other accomplishments does one need in life?


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PC Review - 'Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead'

by Lauren "Feffy" Hall on March 3, 2021 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead combines the legendary and challenging puzzle gameplay of Bridge Constructor with the post-apocalyptic universe of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Buy Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead

These days, whenever the topic of zombies comes up, it's inevitable that AMC's hit series "The Walking Dead" is offered as a fantastic example of the dramatic, gritty, zombie-centric content that zombie nerds love and demand. It's no wonder that ClockStone Software cozied up to TWD fans with the creation of Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead. After Bridge Constructor: Portal, ClockStone has once again proven it has a knack for combining the simplicity of its structural puzzles with stories derived from popular entertainment. The result in Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is yet another engaging, infuriating puzzle game that will have you stumped for hours on end.

When you dissect the game, the pieces all seem to fit nicely within Bridge Constructor's typical template: tough-as-nails puzzles that can be solved with multiple, creative solutions; witty banter and character inclusion to entertain as you follow the story-driven adventure; and the ever-addictive level completion system that has you staying up far too late while trying to complete just one more puzzle.

As is typical for Bridge Constructor titles, the simplicity in the game design is perfectly executed. Since there are generally several solutions for each puzzle (thank goodness), simplicity in your tools and the overall structure is vital to the gameplay. Also typical with a Bridge Constructor game is a helpful tutorial that spans multiple levels and introduces new building materials, character movement, or usage options as you progress. This is great because it gives you a chance to use a particular beam or material before the game throws another curveball.

If you are a fan of AMC's "The Walking Dead," you'll be reintroduced to the characters, who have been reimagined as cartoonish caricatures that are surprisingly accurate representations of the actors. Moreover, each character's dialect is present via the on-screen text dialogue, as this game features no voice acting — apart from the zombie grunts.

The game starts off like any other zombie game or show: You are in the thick of it, so you're either running from zombies, getting fuel, or finding food that hopefully hasn't spoiled. You are introduced to Eugene, who was one of my favorites in the series. True to form, Eugene is full of genius plans so your party can make it through the puzzles (mostly) unharmed. There are other character introductions, but I won't spoil them .

Like Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead's predecessors, the puzzles get gradually tougher with each successful completion, and after the first six levels or so, there are some real humdingers. Weight and material become important factors, and knowing what to use and where becomes less trivial with each passing level.

With each Bridge Constructor game comes a set of challenges and strategies. For example, when I reviewed Bridge Constructor: Portal, there were many dangers to watch out for as you completed puzzles, including turrets and laser fields. Other factors drastically changed the gameplay, such as the portals themselves as well as speed and velocity. In this TWD version, it's mostly the zombies that play an important role in many puzzles by either nudging large objects that are in your way, bumping items, or breaking platforms by falling through them. There are many ways to use them to your advantage. After all, what would "The Walking Dead" be without those lovely, disgusting walkers?

In addition to the zombies being relatively useful tools in bridge-making (who knew?), the characters also bring a touch of action to the games by essentially becoming movable pawns to help with your tasks. Then can climb, move, and throw things, and they can manipulate certain items in the game. These sequential, strategic moves add some individuality to the typical bridge construction, which would otherwise become a bit monotonous.

When I reviewed Bridge Constructor: Portal, I noted that the controls for building felt a little clunky, and the same is true here. I don't believe this has changed much from one game to the next with regard to the actual gameplay. Since you can pause or restart, and it's very simple to remove and replace the materials, clunky controls are hardly a deal-breaker. Helpful tip: If you tend to go a little crazy putting up excessive support beams and feel overwhelmed, you can remove all construction and character moves via the options menu.

This game seems to have removed the "test" button, but it wasn't a terrible thing, since you can repeatedly click "play" to see what's what, and then it resets everything when you click back to building or the command buttons. Essentially, they've rolled the entire function into a generic "play" button, and simplicity works well for this kind of game.

One thing that I'm glad is still present is that while you have to complete the puzzle and your objective, it doesn't have to be perfect. You are provided with a goal, such as achievement stars for completing a puzzle using less than 5,000 materials, but you can still complete the level if you don't hit the target. I rarely reached those goals, so that was a great thing! In my opinion, it's really good game development if they give you something to strive for, while not forcing you to complete the puzzle in a specific way.

The cartoonish graphics worked well for this title, as they do in every Bridge Constructor game, lending to the lighthearted fun that it provides, as opposed to the gritty, dark and serious moods of many other current offerings. The bright, comedic art and animation kept the overall feel of the game relaxed and entertainment-driven, which is a far cry from the seriousness of the AMC series. While it's quite different from the TV show's style, it still works in this environment and keeps the game fun.

Further to the thematic art was the music, which is obviously very similar to the musical theme of the AMC series, and it's not intrusive in any way. When I'm playing puzzle games, I often end up muting the music track because my mind follows along with the song and not the puzzle, which obviously distracts me from the puzzle. I didn't find that to be necessary for this game, though.

As for the gameplay, it is quite simple, but there isn't a hint system, and that can make it really tough to progress. Sometimes you just can't wrap your head around a puzzle, and that's when things start to get complicated and you end up using 15,678 pieces to complete a puzzle instead of the recommended 6,500. I may or may not be exaggerating, but you get the idea. There is a construction manual, and I frequently referred to it to make sure I was building my bridge efficiently. I usually wasn't, and it's alarming how many times I had to remind myself of the beauty of simple, strategic beam placement.

That simplicity and open-endedness of Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead are what contribute to the game's overall brilliance and insanity-inducing properties. While the title has some frustrating controls at times, it's still straightforward: Get your guys from point A to B, essentially. The fact that each level is a little minigame, which leaves you the option to spend hours at a time with it, grants some control over how much effort you put into the game. Overall, this is a well-made title and an excellent addition to the Bridge Constructor franchise.

Score: 9.0/10

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