Contributed by Lisa
Contrast is an indie puzzle game created by Compulsion Games that is heavily inspired by film noir and set during the 1920′s.
In Contrast you play as silent protagonist, Dawn. Dawn is Didi’s imaginary friend and is there to guide Didi through the challenges she faces with her family and to lead her through the dark world. The character design for Dawn is very impressive and fits the theme of the game very well.
Despite playing as Dawn, we know next to nothing about her, although as the game progresses we get to know more and more about Didi. The game is full of mystery. The in-game world is split into two parts, the shadows and the ‘real world’ that is based on the 1920s era, both of which Dawn can interact with at will, by switching between her shadow form and her normal self. Dawn can use her shadow form to interact with objects and climb on the shadows to get to different areas.
I spent a lot of the game wondering which world is real, as characters other than Didi and Dawn are depicted only as shadows without anything casting them. Even the world itself seems very normal at first.
I found the concept of using shadows very refreshing. It’s great idea and I felt perhaps it could have been expanded on more. At the start of the game most shadow sequences are used as ways to get around, but once you progress further you begin to find a mixture of puzzles and platforming. Some of these puzzles will have you scratching your head for a little while. You really have to get in the mindset for using the shadows to your advantage to complete puzzles.
Contrast does a good job of easing you into the platforming aspects but it could perhaps do more to introduce the puzzles, even though they don’t appear regularly until the middle of the game.
A map would also have been helpful as I found myself getting lost, even though it does show you where the buildings were in the distance.
Since playing Contrast on both PC and PS4, I do feel that having a controller to play the game feels more intuitive than using a keyboard.
+ Good concept
+ Interesting characters/world
+ Good mixture of puzzles and platforming
- Needs a mini map or map
- Needs more of an introduction to puzzle elements
Overall, I really enjoyed Contrast and although it was a very short game. I thought basing the game around the shadows was a great idea for a puzzle/platformer and Compulsion worked them both in together very well. If you are struggling for something to play on your PS4, I would recommend downloading Contrast, even if you don’t like puzzle games. It’s incredibly fun to play once you get used to get used to ‘thinking with shadows’.