Poly Bridge is a bridge construction puzzle game that heavily relies on physics in order to succeed. For each level, the player must design and construct a bridge to the specific challenge and make sure the vehicles are able to safely cross the river while staying under budget. My initial reaction was that this game is the true definition of Buchnell’s Law (easy to learn, but hard to master), which I found really enjoyable and it’s the perfect ingredient for students to get interested in it. When you launch the game for the first time, it goes right into the tutorial on how to play, which I found to be very user-friendly by breaking everything down step-by-step. Once you finish the tutorial, you are free to play the levels in whatever order you like or you could even explore the sandbox mode where you can create your own challenges.
This is the type of video game where you’re accidentally learning (which is a good thing). From figuring out that triangle shapes are the best way to support a bridge to trying to stay under budget, this is a video game that covers multiple content standards across different school subjects and uses higher-level order of thinking. The beauty of Poly Bridge is that it gives you the necessary tools to succeed at each level, but also be creative as well. This video game isn’t a simulator, so the bridge designs will get pretty crazy and fun to watch the replays afterwards. After you succeed in a level, the game gives the player some statistics on how they completed it. It shows how much money they used, the max joint stress, and also the material footprint. Even though you succeed in the level, there’s always a better way to spend less and use less materials, which makes the player want to instinctively go back and replay the level. If a class is playing this game, it could easily spark a friendly competition to where they will try to create the best design by applying what they’ve learned in both their science and math class.
The potential for Poly Bridge are endless as the developer continues to update the game on a regular basis to add new features. The game is currently distributed only through Steam for $11.99, so you will need a Steam account and the client (both are free). The good news is that in the near future Dry Cactus will be able to license the game in bulk for educational institutions in a way that doesn't require Steam to be installed on the computer. I’ve only sunk about an hour of playtime into Poly Bridge, but it’s a video game that I will continue to play until I mastered it haha. I definitely recommend checking out Poly Bridge to see if it can fit into your curriculum. You can purchase the game by clicking here.