Polybridge, a game that tells you all you need to know about it in its name. Poly meaning many and bridge meaning to close a gap. I point this out because it really keeps with the central theme of Polybridge, which is to be very simple and upfront about what it does and how it does it. It’s a clean and simple bridge builder game that doesn’t do that much, but what it does do it does well.
Polybridge has got a laser focus on usability, deciding to keep the harder physics calculations hidden behind the scenes for better or for worse. Thankfully they still allow for the use of a small stress percentage indicator at the bottom of the screen so you know exactly how much more your bridge can take. It starts slowly by showing off one material at a time and making sure you know exactly how much you can do with it, then slowly adding more.
Each time you think you’ve run out of creative uses for that material the game suddenly gives you an impossible gorge to cross with semi-trucks and tells you that your only materials are wood and the road itself. It’s a game that’s as much about thinking creatively as it is about not underestimating what a little hope and some triangles can do.
Before I forget I want to take a moment to address the soundtrack, which if my previous reviews haven’t tipped you off are kind of one of the things I emphasize with games. As it turns out Polybridge actually has a pretty great soundtrack, it’s simple and relaxing much like the game is. It’s well thought out and allows you to focus on the almost therapeutic task of making a bridge that works. When you’re on a roll the music allows you to really zone out, when you’re frustrated by a difficult level you’re able to take a deep breath and calm yourself to the music.
Speaking of being frustrated there are two things that make Polybridge one of the best bridge building games I’ve played from that (admittedly rather niche) genre. Firstly, the developers took the time to build in Steam Workshop support which means that even once you’re done playing the prebuilt levels you can continue to challenge yourself or check out creations by other people. Secondly, the game is built around being accessible, an admirable goal that was further helped with the addition of the ability to skip a level and come back to it later. This means that even if you do get fed up you can just move on and come back when you’ve beaten other levels and want another crack at it. It’s the little things that make the game go from good to great.
Polybridge is not the most detailed game ever, nor the most feature heavy. That being said it’s still an excellent introduction to the genre and offers the ability to lose hours in it regardless of your background. As a result, I can easily recommend it to most users, even if only as a good way to kill a lunch break.
Polybridge is out now on Steam for Windows, Mac and SteamOS