The Bridge is an excellent example that, yes, video games can be categorized as a piece of art. Each of the 48 perception shaking puzzles is displayed with an art form that looks like it was pencil drawn by a mathematical genius with an inspiration from M.C. Escher.
The game universe is grey and dark, yet at times it’s also quirky and curiosity inducing. The main character is a tweed jacket wearing book worm who is seemingly simply tasked with reaching a door and sometimes collecting keys. He’s essentially a college professor who awakens into the game from a falling apple (Newton anybody?). He then leaves his house in what I view as a quest for knowledge with the help of logic and reason. Yet his perspective is literally turned upside down when he realizes that gravity and physics are working against him. The ceiling is the floor and rolling spheres with a demonic grin are certain death in this puzzling and impossible world.
The minimalist style of the game is wonderful because it truly allows the player to focus on the alluring world, calming music and thought provoking puzzles. It’s like watching a drawing come to life, or an optical illusion that player’s control; from the black and white color scheme to the eraser smudges that leave a mark at where the player dies. Featuring impossible architecture like never ending staircases, upside down towers and infinity arches, this game’s magical design is enough to keep gamers playing through some of the more frustrating moments in it’s trial-by-error gameplay.
My only flaw with The Bridge is that the protagonist moves far too slow and there’s no option to jump. Pressing the arrow keys tilts the screen and rotates the landscape which lets players manipulate where their character lands and furthermore how close to the door the bookworm reaches. This works in interesting ways, however sometimes the character doesn’t react the way one would think he was intended to. Limited movement and sometimes sluggish physics leads to many ungraceful deaths in a labyrinth of puzzles. Thankfully players have the ability to go back in time at any moment which reduces some of the slight rage felt after dying just from touching one of the grinning boulders.
But all in all, The Bridge couldn’t be fun if it wasn’t challenging. Ultimately this game is very original and keeps players interested in it’s challenges with its dream like presentation. And the satisfaction of actually unlocking and reaching a door after a dizzying effort and many Limbo-like deaths is oh so sweet. Plus there’s an alternate ending to unlock after the main game, so the mysteries are far from over once you’ve finished all the chapters.