I have always been intrigued about bridges ever since I was little. In fact, the development of bridges further solidifies that humanity is capable of achieving the impossible. Now imagine how fun it would it be to make something as grand as the historic bridges in New York or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Thankfully, the team at Dry Cactus has given me the chance to indulge in my bridge building fantasies, although I don’t think I’ll qualify as an architect after playing Poly Bridge.
Poly Bridge can be played in two different ways; either through the campaign or in a sandbox mode allowing you to do just about anything you want. The campaign mode has numerous levels that will test your determination to build an adequate design with limited resources. It starts out with a simple tutorial, telling you to connect two points over a small river with a basic road. Once complete, you are capable of starting the “simulation” and watch the vehicle safely cross to the other side or careen into the icy water or jagged rocks below.Throughout the campaign, you use different tools to assist in crafting bridges of varying lengths and complexity. One level for example has you using hydraulic pumps to create a drawbridge, allowing a steamboat to safely pass underneath. The real challenge begins when Poly Bridge begins limiting your resources, forcing you to manage every piece of wood, cable, and steel.
Of course, you aren’t only trying to connect point A to point B, as you must also manage the stability of the bridge in relation to the environment. The easy to use interface makes building a breeze thanks to the simplistic keyboard and mouse controls. Every piece of material has a maximum length; I call this the engineering circle. The circumference of the radius is determined by the resource you choose; for example, a steel beam can extend farther than wood. As long as another piece reaches within the engineering circle, you are able to connect them together in the hope it will help the strengthen your design.
The sandbox mode is completely open, allowing you to modify every aspect of the terrain. Want to task players with building a looping bridge around a floating hot air balloon and rigid rocks sticking out of the water, go right ahead. Just remember you won’t be able to share your design until you are able to build a bridge to safely reach the goal. As an Early Access title, I found the experience in the sandbox mode to be slightly buggy. Many times you will be unable to modify specific pieces or be able to switch between editing your design and testing it out. When this occurred, I lost the ability to save and ended up losing anything I modified since the previous save point.
Poly Bridge is a fun and challenging game, showing a ton of potential with the inclusion of the sandbox mode. The premise is simple, safely guiding vehicles from point A to point B, but how you accomplish this is only limited by your creativity and imagination.
Note: The Poly Bridge Early Access review is based on a digital PC copy of the game.