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E3 2013: Contrast

Posted on June 13, 2013 AT 01:30pm

Publisher Focus Home Interactive, Compulsion Games
Developer Compulsion Games
Platform PS4, 360, PS3, PC
Release Date Q4.2013
Not sure what any of this stuff means? Head on over to our E3 hub for all the deets.

The Rundown

Contrast is a puzzle-platformer that casts you as Dawn, the imaginary friend of a young girl named Didi. Given that you’re imaginary—and therefore not bound by the rules of corporeal existence—you’re able to flatten yourself into a shadow by standing against any lit wall and pressing a button. As the game progresses, you’ll need to blend both modes of traversal—three-dimensional and movement on projected shadows—to make your way through the game’s Jazz Era–inspired world and reach the end of Didi’s tale.

The Verdict

I’m a sucker for games that revolve around a single simple yet versatile gameplay concept, and Contrast looks poised to continue in the tradition of indie darlings like Braid, Portal, and The Unfinished Swan. The ability to instantly jump between the real-world and shadows is just the right kind of mind-bending. During my demo, I was constantly forced to use my brain in brand-new ways as I puzzled out pathways between objects, and the shadows they cast on the walls. I’m genuinely curious to see all the ways the mechanic is put to use across the entirety of Contrast.

I was also hugely impressed by the aesthetic, that takes elements of art deco, European architecture, and 1920s culture and blends them into locations that are stylized, beautiful, and utterly convincing. Better still, there’s a completely original cabaret soundtrack scoring your journey, a touch that makes the game ooze with atmosphere and personality.

Something else that piqued my interest? The brief snippets I caught of the story. There seems to be a great deal of depth and maturity at play here that’s belied by the cartoony character designs, and I can’t wait to dive in and discover more.

Josh Harmon, Associate Editor
Josh Harmon picked up a controller when he was 3 years old—and he hasn't looked back since. This has made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from behind. He joined EGM as an intern following a brief-but-storied career on a number of small gaming blogs across the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @jorshy. Meet the rest of the crew.

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