My first taste of the construction orientated puzzle game series developed by ClockStone, Bridge Constructor, occurred back in 2015 and it’s not one I remember fondly. Its stunt themed sequel – Bridge Constructor Stunt – failed to entertain too, which led to the consideration that maybe construction and the accompanying architectural skills just weren’t for me. But then, a stroke of genius saw the straight-laced building aspect combined with the madcap science of the Portal series; thus, the highly addictive Bridge Constructor Portal came to fruition in 2018 and there are no doubts that it’s far superior to its predecessors.
Despite releasing almost two years ago, Bridge Constructor Portal has just received its first piece of paid DLC titled Portal Proficiency. As exciting as fresh content is, one has to wonder how this DLC containing new conundrums will step up and add to the base experience to entice gamers back in. Could it address the few drawbacks to be found in Bridge Constructor Portal, and more importantly, will the additional levels avoid coming across as being more of the same?
The Bridge Constructor Portal – Portal Proficiency DLC takes us back to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center once again and delivers a whopping 30 extra puzzles to put our brain power to the test. Ultimately, the goal remains the same: use a combination of scaffolding planks and ridiculously strong cables to build a route capable of guiding the Bendies in their vehicles to the exit as safely as possible. There will be mistakes and casualties, especially with trial and error a major part of figuring out solutions, however you’re aren’t penalised for multiple attempts – so feel free to just embrace your inner GLaDOS and enjoy the little stick people’s misery as they succumb to acid and other hazards.
What’s new to proceedings is the inclusion of portals to the arsenal of tools at your disposal; pairs of which can be placed upon any solid white wall. Such a solitary addition shouldn’t really make much of a difference, but there’s a fair bit more enjoyment when you have to strategically position portals to send vehicles flying through the air or divert cubes to knock over those pesky turrets. It’s definitely a matter of fine margins to succeed and even the slightest offset portal can lead Bendies to their doom, but the joy of accomplishing the task at hand feels mightily rewarding.
To be fair, the DLC levels ease you in initially with only a set of portals required and the odd bit of structure needing to be built. There’s a somewhat steep difficulty curve though and it’s not long before propulsion gel (and its bouncy counterpart), launch pads, turrets and cubes must be factored into the plans. Seeing numerous portals all over the joint and bodged constructions is soon a regular occurrence, which shouldn’t faze the most experienced players. Rookies need not apply, at least until they’ve gotten to grips with the standard levels.
As always, managing to direct a vehicle to the exit is only half the task, with the most proficient architects encouraged to then put their designs through rigorous testing by unleashing a convoy. It’s crazy how hectic it becomes when you’ve got vehicles zooming past each other, colliding and tearing down structures due to the sheer weight. This is the ultimate test and forces you to think outside the box even more as you find the perfect set-up to achieve glory. And sometimes you just have to fluke it. Either way, that ensures plenty of replayability on top of the fair few hours you’ll be scratching your head to provide safe passage for one vehicle.
The level layouts are great and they truly make you think, with the ability to place portals really adding to the many varying factors already trying to cause puzzling problems. There’s not an awful lot that could be considered a negative except for a single glaring omission… GLaDOS. No longer does the voice of Ellen McLain deliver brilliantly-timed, slightly sinister, wit and that takes a bit of the shine off. Having GLaDOS play a role in the DLC would’ve ensured the authentic Portal feel is untouchable, but alas, don’t expect her devilish delights to be present.
If you haven’t fired up Bridge Constructor Portal in a while then the Portal Proficiency DLC on Xbox One is an ideal excuse to do so again. For a relatively low cost and the sheer amount of new challenges included, it’s well worth taking the plunge to dabble with portals. The difficulty may put those players off who never managed to conquer the toughest puzzles found in the base game, and the lack of GLaDOS is a tad disappointing, but otherwise it’s a fairly straightforward recommendation here to grab it immediately.