When I was a wee kid I had a demo for a game called Pontifex. This was my intro into bridge building games — a genre I hold dearly to this day. Throughout the years I had issues with getting a hit of bridge-building since nothing seemed that interesting. And then Poly Bridge happened and I enjoyed myself, and then forgot about it for a while. And now we get even more bridges with Poly Bridge 2!
When in doubt, add triangles
If you ever played a bridge-building game, you know what to expect. If not: A single level of Poly Bridge 2 asks the player to build a bridge (or sometimes something mildly bridge-related) that will hold up the vehicles going over it. There are a few different materials to use such as wood, steel or rope, and there is a limited budget that you are advised not to go over.
The fun starts when the levels become more convoluted. At some point, you learn how to use hydraulics to move certain parts of the bridge and create drawbridges to let ships pass without damage. Checkpoints and reverse points are introduced — the vehicles now have to pass through a specific point of the map or go to the end, turn around and go back.
And when all of that gets combined together you get a wonderful puzzle game.
A bridge too early
Poly Bridge 2 has a similar art style to Poly Bridge, but with obvious improvements. The backgrounds, before obviously low-poly now look more stylized and artsy. The bridges got a visual upgrade as well, all working well with each other.
The sequel also continues with the music style. The guitar-based tracks are upbeat and homely and instil a hope that I can figure out how to finish this level and also bring me up after another structural failure. Music in games usually blend in the background, but those chords pop well and mix well with the more chill game style.
I still don’t understand how to use cables
At a first glance Poly Bridge 2 felt exactly like its predecessor — I mean, it’s just more levels of doing the exact same thing as the first one, it could just be a DLC. But the more I played it, and the more I stuck with it the more I started realizing the differences. They may not be obvious at the beginning, but they’re there.
As mentioned before, there are a bunch of different materials that players can use to aid with their bridge, and there’s a new one as well. Springs are, well, springy — and they can be set up (just like hydraulics) to either be strong and contract or weak and extend. This allows making jump pads, or separate vehicles going across by weight, both things that the levels can allow for.
Many of the puzzles require you to balance a few things — a limited amount of materials, a budget, and a specific set of goals. Thankfully the game allows you to finish a level and go to the next one if you’re still over budget, so it can be thought of as a challenge to fit under that cash line.
Learning how to use hydraulics properly is also very important — levels often want you to use them to either let a ship pass, or maybe the final checkpoint is above the starting area. Mastery of all of your materials is the way to finishing all of the levels. Even if you don’t know how to use cables at all.
In addition to four worlds full of levels that first introduce you to and then train in the mechanics, Poly Bridge 2 also allows for player creations. Players can create single levels or even whole campaigns and share them online for others to play — this adds a lot of replayability to the game. There are also challenges, which spice up the normal levels to be even more difficult.
Poly Bridge 2 takes everything Poly Bridge brought to a table and tweaks it — in some places only slightly, while in others a lot. If you’re a player on a budget then you might need to ask yourself whether it’s worth it over the first part. But if you have some extra cash to spare, it’s a lot of fun.
Poly Bridge 2 is available on Steam and Epic Game Store.