If you ever wanted a new Portal game, you’re going to have to stop wishing because Valve isn’t considering it anytime soon. What they have been doing instead is licensing the IP out to other studios in case they feel like doing a spin-off with it. We’ve seen this done with LEGO Dimensions and Zen Studios’s pinball titles. Now Headup Games joins the foray with Bridge Constructor Portal.
I remember there being a ton of backlash when this was first announced, but similarly to the case with Two Point Hospital, this was completely undeserved. Valve has no role in making this game other than handing over the Portal name. Fans unaware of the Bridge Constructor series had no idea what they’d be in for; yet, without even thinking first, they just mindlessly bashed on this. It’s a shame, really. They don’t know what they’re missing out on.
The main takeaway from the visuals in Bridge Constructor Portal is that it does look like it belongs with the Portal universe. There’s a nice amount of attention to detail with the way the folks at Clockstone build their take on the Aperture Science laboratories. The Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System herself, GLaDOS, even appears to provide instructions and sadistic sarcasm.
It’s always a delight to hear Ellen McLain reprise her role as GLaDOS. I have a feeling the writers had fun with this one, because the jokes are fairly reminiscent of the genuine Portals. By that, I mean you can expect to laugh at times. Probably not as often, but the effort placed here is rather commendable. The atmospheric background music also feels like that of Valve’s titles.
In Bridge Constructor Portal, you solve a series of puzzles that take place in test chambers. Instead of shooting portals to warp yourself around the room, you build bridges so forklifts could travel across safely. It’s a physics-based puzzler, so a big part of solving a puzzle is constructing the bridges in ways that ensures their stability. That’s been the bread and butter of the Bridge Constructor series, but the Portal influences in this installment are actually stronger than even I figured they would be.
If it weren’t for the vastly different approach to the play mechanics, this wouldn’t actually be too far off the mainline Portal games. Features like sentry turrets, switches that drop Companion Cubes, repulsion/propulsion gels, and the portals themselves are all present and well accounted for. So on top of building decent bridges, you have these things to look out for and/or take advantage of. They effectively add new layers of strategy on top of the given bridge-building challenges to overcome.
Even if this isn’t a direct successor to Valve’s Portal games, I wholeheartedly recommend this game to fans of either one of these series. The levels blend the Portal and Bridge Constructor elements together seamlessly, and the result is quite a fun homage. It almost makes up for Portal never appearing on a Nintendo console………almost.