Few games get your brain going with as much ferocity and purpose as puzzle games. The genre of puzzle games is one that encompasses a staggering array of different styles however. You have some games that offer you up number puzzles, others that ask you to solve a variety of balance-based problems, whereas others require you to find your way out of maze-like structures, solve riddles, or simply get from A to B in innovative ways. Cargo Bridge most definitely belongs to what is most accurately known as the sub sub-genre of Bridge Games. That’s right, this is a genre all to itself, and even though it may sound tedious to many gamers, such games actually provoke a great deal of thought and offer a surprising amount of innovation for players. Cargo Bridge is certainly no exception. What does one do when they need to get cargo from A to C when B is a gigantic drop that will result in certain death? Why, build a bridge of course! This game is designed to test your innovation and aptitude for problem solving, so what are you waiting for?
If you aren’t put off by the idea of building a bridge for entertainment, then you have made the right choice because as far as bridge games go, this one is exceedingly superior. The entire premise is really as the title suggests: you simply have to build a cargo bridge, and you are doing so to let workers use the bridge to transport cargo over it and to the goal; only then will you be able to pass on to the next level. Cargo Bridge’s unique approach has you entering a blueprint-like mode, which is really just a blue-tinged overlay of each level but which really adds to the effect of being your very own construction genius.
You are given to tools to build with; a path tool and a support tool. It should be obvious but one simply has to build supports and lay paths on the top in order to fully bridge the gap. The true challenge is in building a bridge that both works and stays under budget. That’s right: you get a limited amount of money on each level and this money must be spent wisely to create the bridge. This means that you can’t simply play around with pieces endlessly and be wasteful; this game requires careful thinking and planning, economical use of resources, and strategic placement of the minimum quantity of resources possibly for the greatest possible outcome. This is truly the mark of a great challenge, and it is only the greatest of games that manage to provide such an inspiring and thought-provoking challenge.
Tired of my allusions to various bridge-related phrases yet? Well you should be, since they are terrible, but the particulars of the gameplay should distract you from this. You must identify the anchor points on each bridge and build around these in order to come up with a structure that will support the downwards force that it will be subjected to. The difficulty increases level by level since your budgets become increasingly frugal and the stress that your bridge will be subjected to will become progressively larger. Bigger gaps, unusual terrain, and various obstacles will also get in your way in various levels, so be prepared to think outside the box, and indeed outside the bridge (so what if that doesn’t make sense?).
Contrary to the arbitrary title of this final section of the review, the only troubled water that Cargo Bridge has to worry about is in the imagination of the player. As a puzzle game, Cargo Bridge triumphs and is a superior experience to other bridge games, even Bridge Craft, which is probably one of the better-known bridge games out there. The difficulty level increases in a fair manner, with early levels being easy enough to familiarise with the game but not so much that it insults the player. You will be stiffly challenged in the later levels as well, so don’t expect an easy time as you progress through the game.
The only downside is the overly-minimal nature of the bridge screen, which gives new players no indication of which tools are for what, and it even lacks any labels which makes it mightily inconvenient and annoying when you have to hover over icons to see what they do. A sort of sandbox mode and/or level designer would be incredibly entertaining as well, which may be something for developer Limex Games to consider in the future.