App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Bridge constructor games are a bit of an old hat at this point, and I don't just mean ClockStone Studio's long-running Bridge Constructor series when I say this. This is probably why the latest game from said developer tries to breathe new life into the genre by building it around the mega popular franchise that is The Walking Dead. Although ClockStone manages to find some neat ways to tie engineering and zombie survival together, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is about as harsh and desolate as the zombie apocalypse it portrays.
Bridges and beyond
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead follows a small group of survivors struggling to scrape by in a world overrun by undead. For this particular game, survival often hinges on crossing a gap by building a series of load-bearing structures that allow your crew, whether on foot or in vehicles, to safely reach their destination.
Levels start with some dialog outlining whatever mess your crew has gotten into before dumping you into a build mode that shows where you can place planks, cables, steel beams, and more. Once you feel like your structures are adequate, you can then start the action to see whether your plans were well considered or not. As is the case with most Bridge Constructor games, you can expect lots of spectacluar bridge collapses and other physics catastrophes that will force you to get ever more creative to complete levels.
Although Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead has levels about building bridges, there's a surprising amount of challenges that don't revolve around building a strong bridge. Some levels have you issuing orders to survivors to distract zombies, while others involve building elaborate deathtraps for herds of walking dead. Others still might require you build a bridge so that it supports your survivors, but crumbles before your pursuers can use it to give chase.
For each of these levels, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead challenges you to use as few materials as possible to earn a special badge. You can just as easily ignore this challenge though and use as many materials as you want to over-design to your heart's content. Your only real limitations are your build area and anchor points, which are pre-determined for each level and are designed to force you get creative.
You're on your own
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead has some really great level concepts that can have you doing things like shooting crates to crush zombies or making chutes for grenades blow up strategic targets. In this way, it feels like one of the freshest bridge constructor games out there. The only problem is that Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead doesn't really teach you anything about how its materials or physics work and just leaves you to figure everything out on your own.
I imagine if you're a bridge-constructing veteran, this is all fine and dandy, but without experience or knowledge about how these games work, some levels can be a slog of trial-and-error that forces you to scrap entire plans multiple times before reaching a solution. I know that this is supposed to be part of the fun, but it would be nice if there was something in the game that could teach you more advanced building techniques or more explicitly highlight your weaknesses instead of just leaving you to figure it out. It also doesn't help that Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead has precious little visual or audio variety to mix things up as you fail repeatedly.
The bottom line
Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead is way more than just a bridge-building game with zombies in the background, and for that it deserves praise. Unfortunately though, the creative challenges it serves up require a ton of experience, patience, and sometimes both, and I wish the game did a little more to help you out than it does.