Cargo Bridge [$.99 / Lite] is a physics-based puzzle game developed by Limex Games, an outfit that specializes in web distributed titles. This is one of dozens of its original flash creations, none of which possess quite the same pull of Cargo Builder.
Its engine is fickle and it suffers from a lack of refinement artistically and mechanically, but the user-side ingenuity it demands and the devilish situations it puts you in are made of the kind of stuff that keeps you hungry and playing.
In each level, you’ll be tasked with building bridges from one point to another using a mix of base-level boards and support girders. The goal is to build good bridges that can support a mix of jolly workers loaded with cargo ranging in size.
The building process takes place inside a virtual blueprint that you can interact with directly via touch. Making things simpler, you’re given a few anchor points to plug struts into and an infinite amount retries if your unstable bridge turns causes the death of a worker… or three.
You’ll never find actual building resources in short supply, but money is finite. In my experience, it’s required to lower your ambitions from the get go. I had a habit of staring at each new level with its various pits and structures with wild-eyed glee, but never could I construct something worthy of modern marvel status. Simple is better.
And while nothing you build will be destined to cover the front of a tourist’s postcard, there’s finesse in constructing the most basic of bridges. It’s because Cargo Bridge’s physics is an odd bird. The world has a level of float higher than ours, so your bridges, even the ones made out of wrought iron, tend to bounce about. As a result, you’ll be pressed into making overly elaborate supports, making each task a tad more difficult than you’ll initially imagine.
The physics are the super game-y part of Cargo Bridge, and I can sympathize with the crowd who might come out thinking they’re a little too touchy and bouncy. As I watch what I assume to be perfection tumble into the ether, I have to agree. Then again, it’s hard to imagine the game working it its systems were tuned into our physics. Sure, I’d like something a little tighter at the end of the day, but the game, overall, works.
Visually and artistically, Cargo Bridge depresses. The world is vibrant and the avatars have an air of personality, but as a whole the world comes across as flat. I have to admit, though, I love the screams of dying workers. Few things excite me so.
If you’ve got an iPad and have an architect’s itch to scratch, this isn’t a bad joint to drop your precious coin into. Sure, the physics kind of blow and you’d ideally like to see more out of its constituent components, but there’s a simple pleasure to making bridges that jive in the game’s world. Give it a spin.