Title: Poly Bridge 2
Developer: Dry Cactus
Publisher: Dry Cactus
Genre: Bridge-Building Simulator
Available on: PC
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: polybridge2.com
Release Date: May 28th, 2020
There’s something about bridge-building games that hits harder than any other genre. For me, it’s the large amount you can learn about bridges while not being too serious about it. Building bridges can be fun, even when it inevitably fails and results in someone’s car plummeting into the water. These games have been around for some time, but Poly Bridge was the most popular one in recent memory. The cartoonish style along with ease to pick up and get into makes it a huge hit among players. Now, the team at Dry Cactus is following it up with Poly Bridge 2. After many hours of collapses and success, what do we think of it?
Atmosphere and Gameplay
Jumping in, things already feel similar. There’s your classic cartoonish art style from the first, but it has been heavily updated to look much cleaner and more like a game in 2020. Whoever does the art at Dry Cactus has improved over the past couple of years, and they have a lot to show for it. The same goes for the soundtrack, with similar calming tracks coming back in a new way. Adrian Talens returns to compose the game once again, and he has a lot better tracks to show off. He even remasters some of them, giving their original sounds a facelift. All of this gives a better first impression than the already great Poly Bridge 1 atmosphere.
The gameplay feels similar to Poly Bridge 1 as well. There’s a ton of levels in several worlds, with each one getting harder as time goes on. As you go on, your bridges get more and more complex, and eventually, you have a massive contraption. What Poly Bridge 2 does differently is primarily in refinement. It was one of the biggest issues with the first game, but the new physics engine makes everything feel much more consistent. Gone is the randomness of some bridges, and that feels amazing.
With that being said, there is some fresh stuff as well. One of the biggest changes is the new springs, allowing you to think of bridges in different ways. I’ll let you find out some of the new ways to use them yourself, but you can get pretty creative. It was fun finding each one out and have that “aha!” moment when I did. There are also workshop campaigns and leaderboards, only further adding to the experience. That among a few other things heightens the experience and gives Poly Bridge 2 a massive edge over its predecessor.
Difficulty and Minor Concerns for Poly Bridge 2
But one of the best ways I feel Poly Bridge 2 is done is in its difficulty. The difficulty ramp in the first game was good, but it’s only further refined here. There are a few levels that are unnecessarily difficult early on, but they’re few and far between. You can tell there was a lot of time put into playtesting and refining that curve, so huge props there. Besides the ramp, there’s of course the difficulty in the form of budget and breakage again, but what I wasn’t expecting is free level choice. Poly Bridge 2 does away with the campaign style and now allows you to play whatever you want. Want a more difficult experience? Jump up a world and give that a test drive. Want something easier? Head back to earlier levels and try to 100% them. It offers a lot of freedom and is great to see.
With all this great being said, there are a few smaller issues worth pointing out. For one, a few of the levels make the bridge-building turn into machine construction. While it’s a unique way to play, it makes the game no longer have its identity and makes it not belong. I’m playing a bridge builder to make a bridge, not create a sideways elevator. There are also some bugs in the new leaderboards and gallery, with them either taking long to load or not loading period. I imagine this will be fixed soon, but it’s worth noting anyway.
Options and Accessibility in Poly Bridge 2
As a final note, I’d like to touch on the usual options and accessibility features we talk about. The options feel barebones, but it’s more due to the game itself rather than lack of insight. There isn’t a lot you can do in a cartoonish game like this, so it makes sense. It just would’ve been nice to see more than a small handful of options in different categories. One setting that I liked though was color blind stress view. This turns the color of stress to white and black rather than green and red, making it much easier for color blind people to play. I’m not color blind myself, but it’s still a good thing to have. There’s also your usual language selection, so people from all around the world can play. Solid options and accessibility all around.
Verdict: Poly Bridge 2 serves as easily the best bridge-building game out there. It takes what Poly Bridge 1 did right and improves upon it, while also taking what it did bad and making it much better. Everything feels refined and polished, making for an enjoyable experience for all kinds of players. There are some minor issues here and there, but they pale in comparison to what’s done right. If you’re a fan of bridge-building games or just want something that’ll test your skills, Poly Bridge 2 is a bridge you have to cross.
- Incredibly refined physics
- Solid amount of content
- Excellent polish
- Enjoyable soundtrack
- Free level choice
- Good accessibility
- More workshop integration
- Minor bugs
- Few options