EARLY ACCESS IMPRESSIONS: Poly Bridge

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

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Do you have what it takes to build a bridge that can help certain types of vehicles get safely across the water? Can your bridge also let ships through? Or can you build a jump to get said vehicle from one side to the other? Poly Bridge lets you do just that. Your challenge varies from level to level, and a few levels can throw particularly devilish challenges at you. You can also create and share your own levels via Steam Workshop. Poly Bridge is in Early Access, so you can also help shape the game as it matures.

Poly Bridge | Building your bridge

Constructing your masterpiece bridge is simple and intuitive. This is the suspension bridge level from the tutorial.

The game has a cartoony art style that gives the game a fun and playful feeling to it. The music is catchy and fits well with the visuals. Building your bridges is simple and intuitive in Poly Bridge. Building materials include wood, steel, road, cable, hydraulics, and suspension. All of these materials have their limits, though; put too much stress on them and your entire bridge may come toppling down. The game includes features to help you in your bridge building endeavors, though.

You can toggle on stress view, which highlights bridge parts in different colors to show how stressed they are. If a part turns bright red, it’s close to failing. You can also change the simulation speed and watch your bridge in slow motion, allowing you to better see where the problem begins when things go terribly wrong. You also get the option to toggle grid snapping off for finer control of where things are placed. This is important in later levels, as placement of joints can make all the difference between a bridge that stands, and one that fails in epic fashion. These options all unlock early on.

Poly Bridge | Viewing the stresses on your bridge

The stress view shows that this bridge is in good shape, as all parts are green.

The animated gif above (and the one below) are from the Poly Bridge online gallery that is full of user-shared replays, which the game exports as animated gifs. You can see how the bridge parts change color in real time to show the changing loads on each beam. You may also notice the van flips as it reaches its destination! This still counts as a win for you. In fact, your bridge can even collapse, but you still win as long as all vehicles reach their destinations and all ships pass by without colliding with the bridge. Don’t think that will make this game easy, though! In most cases, if your bridge is going to fail, it will do so well before you meet the level objectives, anyway.

There is also a funding limit in each level. You can exceed the funding limit, but only by so much. It makes it much more challenging to try to win the level while staying under the set budget. There is also an achievement for clearing each world with all levels beat while staying under budget. In addition to funding, you also may have limits on certain types of building materials in each level. These limits can all be set in your custom levels that you create in Sandbox mode as well.

Poly Bridge | Building Jumps

Poly Bridge lets you build crazy jumps, too!

Jumps aren’t the only interesting things you can make in Poly Bridge, though. Using hydraulics, you can also make bridges with an entire road section that elevates to let a ship through. You can make draw bridges as well, and the hydraulics can be set to either expand or contract so they move the way you want them to. In short, hydraulics allow for some very interesting structures. You can also create suspension bridges, or come up with something uniquely your own.

You’ve seen a couple different Poly Bridge vehicles in the images I’ve shown so far. There are a number of others such as school buses, and trucks. Different vehicles have different weights, and will effect your bridges differently. There is also a small ship in addition to the large ship that was shown in the first animated gif.

As mentioned previously, Poly Bridge includes a Sandbox Mode where you can create your own levels and bridges with no limits on materials or budget. To share a level for others to play, you will need to build a bridge and win the scenario you have created to prove that it works. Of course, you can also play levels that others have shared to the Steam Workshop.

Poly Bridge | Sandbox Mode

Create and share your own levels in Sandbox Mode.

Poly Bridge is a fun little game for $11 on Steam. You can see from the art style and some of the animated gifs above, that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Keep in mind that Poly Bridge is in Early Access, and as such, there are still a number of bugs. Dry Cactus has been updating the game regularly and are planning to add more features with community input. These may include new building materials, vehicles, and even the ability to create custom campaigns of levels to share with the community. Dry Cactus has also been very active in the Steam Forums, listening and responding to the community’s feedback. The game only has three worlds of levels to play through at the moment (so you can likely finish in a few days or less depending on how much you play), but there are already a bunch of community-made levels on the Steam Workshop as well. The levels for world 4 will be added in an update in the near future. Overall, Poly Bridge is a very fun little bridge building game with tons of potential in its future. You can build the greatest bridge ever, or the worst fail in engineering history in Poly Bridge!

Early Access Copy Provided by Publisher

About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.