The enjoyable Bridge Constructor franchise has seen some interesting spin-offs and it has finally joined forces with The Walking Dead.
I've been a fan of Bridge Constructor ever since I played the original when it released for PS4 back in 2016. Shortly after that, I enjoyed the Stunts sequel and a couple years later, I absolutely loved Bridge Constructor Portal which put the series on the map for a lot of gamers. After eagerly awaiting the next title in the series, a spin-off set in the world of The Walking Dead was announced and I was intrigued. Now that I've played it, I'm quite impressed with how original and fun it is as it takes the existing formula and adds many layers of strategy that'll have you tweaking your solutions until you perfect each stage. Doing so will have you trying to use as small of a budget as possible which is nothing new but on top of that, you can try to actually kill all of the zombies in each level which is very entertaining to watch. Overall, you wouldn't think that this odd pairing would work as well as it does yet it's definitely rewarding stuff.
The basic construction aspects of Bridge Constructor have been adapted seamlessly as you use wood, steel girders, and cable to craft bridges for either humans or vehicles to travel along. However, you'll also have to build bridges over rubble which can be quite tricky, especially because the car physics here are rather finicky. Meanwhile, you'll use the same materials to set up traps. For example, you can tie a garbage bin to a sign, lure zombies to push the garbage bin, and then watch the sign fall and crush them. There are plenty of clever situations like this throughout and it's super-satisfying to watch your solutions play out. Anyway, the main objective of each stage is to guide all of the human survivors to a goal area as they avoid zombies and being able to do so will require a lot of ingenuity.
In addition to the construction elements, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead also tasks you with issuing commands to the survivors which is akin to programming AI on a very basic level. This is accomplished through choosing different nodes on the level map which represent decisions like split paths, ladders, and such. Characters can also perform unique abilities like throw a talking doll to distract zombies and perhaps lure them into a trap. These people can also fight zombies but they can only fend off a couple at a time and require a certain amount of stamina to take on more. With this in mind, tweaking your solutions in order to remain under-budget while defeating all of the zombies can take an exceptionally long time but once you work it out, the sense of accomplishment is top-notch.
Of course, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead isn't a perfect game and its most noticeable downside is its visuals which are filled with generic environments, goofy-looking character models, and the odd graphical glitch. Once you dig deeper, you'll realise that the controls can be pretty clunky, too. Namely, the interface is somewhat cumbersome and doesn't allow for much player error and the controls will have you constantly looking around the screen so you can see what buttons to push to bring up certain menus, etc. Finally, some of the stages are downright perplexing and had me scratching my head as I simply pondered how to merely begin to figure out a solution. There is some guidance with the dialogue scenes that play before a level but it's still difficult to know where to start at times.
If you're a Bridge Constructor fan like I am then you'll likely find a lot to love about this quirky The Walking Dead spin-off and its clever gameplay wrinkles. It may not be the smoothest experience in the franchise but it's certainly the most fascinating.
- + Clever blend of gameplay mechanics that's impressively enjoyable
- + Loads of variety throughout
- + Mastering stages is a rewarding challenge
- - Controls and interface are rather clunky
- - Graphics aren't particularly appealing
- - Some stages can be a bit too tricky