|Publisher||Focus Home Interactive, Compulsion Games|
|Platform||PS4, 360, PS3, PC|
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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.
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.