CONTRAST is a puzzle/platform game where you can move between a fantastic 3D world and a mysterious shadowy universe in 2D in the blink of an eye. Delve into a dreamlike and surreal 1920s world, inspired by the performance art world of vaudeville and film noir, and cradled by a smooth and sultry jazz ambiance.
User reviews: Very Positive (1,944 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 15, 2013

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"Showed at PAX Prime 2013 - Become your own shadow in this 1920s vaudeville adventure."
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October 30, 2014


[HALLOWEEN SALES] Join Didi and Dawn in Contrast, currently 75% off on Steam, and shift between light and shadow in a blink of an eye.

3 comments Read more


“The interaction is stellar”

“It’s as if Limbo and Bioshock Infinite had a baby while watching Pan’s Labyrinth”

Collector's Edition

Files will be downloaded in you Steam folder - check the access path in the system requirements.

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About This Game

CONTRAST is a puzzle/platform game where you can move between a fantastic 3D world and a mysterious shadowy universe in 2D in the blink of an eye. Delve into a dreamlike and surreal 1920s world, inspired by the performance art world of vaudeville and film noir, and cradled by a smooth and sultry jazz ambiance.

In this universe, where the boundaries between showmanship, magic, intrigue and deception are blurred, you play Dawn, the imaginary friend of a young girl named Didi. You have the power to slip from the 3D dreamscape into the parallel 2D shadow world bound to it. Cast light on a shadowy story by manipulating light sources in the 3D world to distort, enlarge or stretch the 2D shadow world. Manipulating and shifting between light and shadow will be the key elements that you will need to use to solve our world of shadow-based puzzles and help progress Didi's story!

Key Features
  • Shift between the physical 3D world and the 2D shadow world, at any lit wall surface
  • Create unique shadow landscapes by manipulating light sources and real world objects, and use this ability to solve mind-bending puzzles
  • Experience a new story and world, exploring adult themes through a child’s eyes
  • Immerse yourself in a lush vaudevillian world of cabaret singers, circus performers, and magic

System Requirements

    • Processor: AMD/INTEL DUAL-CORE 2.3 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DIRECTX 9 COMPATIBLE
    • Additional Notes: The Original Soundtrack and the Programme (Artwork, Dev. Diary) will be placed in your CONTRAST folder in the Steam Directory: ...\Steam\SteamApps\common\Contrast\CONTRAST_Programme-OST
Helpful customer reviews
240 of 305 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2014
There are so many cool ideas floating around Contrast without a vessel to carry them.

A puzzle platformer focused around shadows in a wondrous 1920's Paris, it showcases so much potential but fails to utilize it into something compelling. There's a sense developer Compulsion Games wanted to do a lot more with the concepts they introduce, but whether for time or budget reasons were forced to dial back and condense the experience, the results of which are often middling at best.

Contrast opens itself from the start with a desire to tell a dark, complicated story of a family split apart, with a husband in debt to some bad people, a mother who just wants the best for her child, and said child blissfully unaware of the trouble surrounding her as she just wants both her parents back. It's promising beginnings however are quickly cast aside for poorly written reunions, characters that seem to recognize the own stupidity of their actions yet follow them anyway, and a juxtaposition of science fiction elements that are all rushed and strung together as if the writer lost sight of the narrative halfway through and began grasping at straws to tie it all together.

Everything interesting about Contrast's plot, from its world of shadow people, impossible environmental deformation, and female led cast are underutilized and painfully unexplored. I wanted to know more about what was happening but all I ever got were a handful of documents left lying around which sketch out a scenario so haphazard and contrived that the story is worse off for including them. Compulsion went through the trouble of making a great environment for your character to explore, but stretched it too thin while simultaneously having nothing to discover if you want to deviate from the set path. It's a lifeless, sterile city that seems so mysterious from afar but ultimately has nothing to show you as you make your way through its barren streets as quickly as possible.

Contrast's main mechanical hook of being able to jump into shadows is on paper really neat and creates an immense about of possibilities for puzzle designs and world navigation, but like everything in Contrast it's underdeveloped and poorly implemented. The places you're able to shadow jump (for lack of a better term) are fairly minimal, and you spend more of your time walking around in the real world lifting boxes and trying to control your finicky character. When Contrast works it's tedious and does a lousy job explaining its mechanics, opting for style over engaging gameplay which gets lost under the mountain of technical issues.

Your character moves awkwardly as if it's a puppet trying to break free of its strings. I was constantly clipping on edges while attempting to platform onto places I needed to, and even simply entering shadow mode failed more often than not, sending me careening to my death as an obnoxious restart sound bite played for the umpteenth time. Audio, graphical, and performance issues round out the family of technical incompetency that more than anything sell home the fact that Contrast needed more time in the oven.

With how great the foundation of Contrast is, to see it come together in such a halfbaked manner is truly unfortunate. There's a very clear vision amid the mediocrity that the developer had much bigger plans than the neutered length allowed them to execute, which makes it so disappointing they weren't able to hold the game back from release until they could be better implemented. I hope this isn't the last I see of Compulsion, but I pray they're given a better time frame for future projects that allows them to capitalize on the potential they almost completely missed this time around.

You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
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46 of 49 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
1 word: LOVELY.

This game truly is a piece of art, the most charming game I’ve ever played. The artwork is gorgeous and simulates a surreal, detailed world in an atmosphere similar to France in the 1920's. The soundtrack is also amazing and fits the game and environment perfectly. Contrast is overall quite original, from the shadow-shifting between two different worlds to the special artistic style.

It takes about 5 to 6 hours to complete. You could think this is rather short, but the delightful artwork really makes up for it. This game really is a story-driven experience, so if you're not into this, maybe this isn't really the kind of game for you.
I really like the story and the characters. They did a great job on the voice acting. The story is touching, lovely and well thought out, kind of mysterious due to the two different worlds. In the end, I still don’t really know which one’s “real” and which one isn’t.
The puzzles are special because of the shadow-shifting mechanism. Each puzzle is different, fun and challenging, not repetitive in my opinion.
Sometimes the game's a bit buggy, like the shadow-shifting mechanism between 3D and 2D at certain moments. The camera can also be a bit buggy and clumsy sometimes, but it doesn’t ruin the game.

Something you need to know: you can't change the controls. The game works with a QWERTY-setting, so keep this in mind. You can also play this with a controller, which I think suits the overall controls better. I still have to try this, though.

If it’s in sale, buy this immediately. Totally worth it.
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18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 6
This game is a piece of art, An art doesn't have to be lengthy, exciting and action packed. An art is what makes you feels something...

This game is short, The story is simple, but something in it makes me feel so attached to Didi and Dawn, Two girl in the shadowland with big romantic blue moon above noir street. This game makes me feel lonely and abit sad because the world you are in, nobody can see you, and you can only see their silhouette. Only person who can see you is Didi, a little girl who lives in both world.

Environment design and music is superb! the only thing that fraustrate me is that sometime you got shifted out of the shadow with no reason at all.

9/10 <3
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23 of 28 people (82%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
This game got a lot of love in it's production. Sweet graphics. Smooth controls. High production value music. A nice story to boot.

If you enjoy platformers on any level. Noir, France, Burlesque, imaginary friends.. any of those asthetics. Or even just a really well made game. You have to buy this.
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17 of 19 people (89%) found this review helpful
14.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 9, 2014
Contrast is unique puzzle game with 2D and 3D elements, beautiful art, nice soundtrack, adorable characters, and quite an interesting little story. However the game has its flaws. Aside from it being so short (about 5 hours at most) with very little replay value, it's pretty buggy (e.g. when moving objects they sometimes get stuck in the air, player character getting stuck inside walls, controls are a bit off making some puzzles very frustrating, and not to mention the occasional crash). If you can overlook the bugs I would say it's worth playing just for the interesting experience Contrast brings to the table.

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16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 28
Gone Home, take some lessons here. This is how you intersperse a 'deep' storyline (I'm using this here both sarcastically and seriously) with some engaging and creative gameplay. Not just walking around and picking up ♥♥♥♥.

Contrast brings a rather unique, at least for its time, concept of manipulating shadows as a platforming mechanic. The character cast and tropes they embody, and how that plays with each other is something I've yet to see in a game.

This game is not without cons though. I felt the shadow mechanic could've been explored alot further, which ties in to my next point. It can be finished in 2-3 hours, more if you do all the extra collecting/slight exploration. The game is way too short to justify its full $15 price point. Get it on sale at $5 or less for maximum value. But do get it.
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 29, 2014
Contrast is a good game for people who are just starting out in the puzzle genre, but the more experienced puzzlers will not face any big challenges when playing this game.

The shadow mechanic is interesting and the puzzles are interesting, but there aren't very many and they aren't hard either. I was expecting something more and a lot harder. The larger puzzles still only take a few minutes to solve. If you're looking for a real puzzle game, you will be dissapointed.
However, the atmosphere of the game is great: the puzzles tie in nicely with the story, the collectibles (documents and photos) are actually worth collecting, as they add some background to the story and the story is quite funny at times.

If you're looking for a challenge, this game probably isn't for you. If you're looking for a nice story with a bit of player interaction, you'll most likely enjoy this. However, I'd suggest you wait 'til the game is on sale, as you'll easily play through it in under 4 hours.

In short: you like storie? Get this when it's on sale, it's very enjoyable but too short! You like puzzles? Better look for a more dedicated puzzle game.
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12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
The game has nice visuals, good story, perfect (as for me) music, and... hollow gameplay.
Still i would recommend this game to mark visual, sound, and story designers.

Гра дуже добре виглядає, має гарне опвідання, чудову як на мене музику, але взагалі порожній геймплей...
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 25
This is a whimsical game taking place in a 1940's noir dream world. The art is gorgeous and the story is about a little girl's quest to find her family. The game consists mostly of platform puzzles that use a mix of the real world and shadows.

My only complaints are that some of the puzzles were a little too difficult and some of the shadow puzzles were just buggy. Other than that, its a super fun and and I highly recommend it! :D
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 5, 2014
Very short game -- 3 hours. It's well-guided, and by that I mean intentionally directed, so it's not like you can get lost or take much longer.

That said, it was fluid, gorgeous, and a fantastic concept -- in exactly the same way that the original Portal game was. An example of an innovative and creative game mechanic.

I'm wishing for much more. Whether or not it's worth the full price, it's definitely worth the discounted price. And the jazz music is perfectly my style.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
Cool story and nice idea of gameplay, switching from 2d to 3d, from real world to the world of shadows.,
The camera angles are screwed up and it gets frustrating when solving puzzles because of this. However is a nice experience, just pick it on a sale.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 12, 2014
Contrast was really a beautiful experience. Glad to have discover this great game with the Focus Creative week sale.
The graphics are extremely pleasant and will bring you back to the 20's nostalgy, with a beautiful mix of influences, from the Vaudeville to the parisian streets abundant with Art Nouveau and Art Deco building, passing to the Film Noir.

The Gameplay is addictive and original; (I suggest to use a controller for a better experience) permitting you to pass from the physical, 3D world to the shadowy's in 2D.
The OST is astonishing and will please for sure to every Blues/Swing/Dixieland/Jazz Manouche fans and emphasize your immersion in this unique world.

The game, sadly, is super short... It would have deserved a longer story! But in the end, you'll definitely love it!
Contrast fut vraiment une belle expérience. Ravie d'avoir pu découvrir ce superbe jeu durant la semaine Focus Creative.
Les graphismes sont extrêmement plaisants et vous ramèneront dans la nostalgie des années 20, le tout avec un merveileux mélange d'influences, du Vaudeville aux rues parisiennes foisonnantes de bâtiments style Art Nouveau et Art Déco, en passant par les classiques du Film Noir.

Le Gameplay est addictif et original (je conseille d'utiliser une manette pour plus de plaisir) vous permettant le passage entre le monde physique en 3D et le monde des ombres en 2D.
L'OST est étonnante et plaira à tous les fans de Blues/Swing/Dixieland/Jazz Manouche qui se respèctent, tout en amplifiant votre immersion dans cet univers unique.

Le jeu, malheureusement, souffre d'une durée de vie trop courte... L'histoire aurait mérité quelques heures de plus! En fin de compte, c'est un jeu que vous apprécierez à coup sûr!
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 24, 2014
I bought this game a long time ago, but I haven't played it then. Few days ago I finally decided to check it out and the game charmed me. It has really amazing cabaret/noir style atmoshpere and awesome matching music. Gameplay itself is pretty innovative too. You need to switch between 3D and 2D mode platformer. It is very interesting that in the 2D mode, you can move only on the "shadows" on the walls and flat objects. Shadows can be created by yourself through interaction with various objects in 3D mode. You need to use appropriate arrangement of their relation to one another and to light sources, so in the result you can move on them in the 2D mode.

The biggest downside is the length of the game - finishing it in almost 100% takes only 3-4h. Also, the "puzzles" are fairly simple. It's a pity that the authors failed to further develop the aforementioned theme, because the game had great potential. Nevertheless, I sincerely recommend Contrast, especially in some more accessible price.

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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2014
I really, really enjoyed this game. The concept is very unique and the story is pretty strong throughout the game. Reminded me of PS2 era games. Puzzles are well thought out if a little too tricky at times. I think this is a highly underated game and definetly worth playing if you enjoy puzzle games, or looking for a unique indie game experience.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
Time for another Timeraider Reviews :P (SMALL SPOILERS INSIDE, NONE STORY-RELATED THOUGH) (30-11-2014)

So.. Contrast. Lets first get some things and negative points out of the way:

The game is very short. About 3-4 hours, 4-5 if you want to get all the collectibles.

I bought it during a 75% off sale, thus i cant judge well if it would be worth the full price. I would advice to wait for a sale .. like 50%-75% off :D Do keep in mind.. this is only based my normal 1 euro = 1 hour of gametime, nothing else.

Though it plays fine with a keyboard and mouse and has not a single problem while using those devices, as always i would advice playing a platformer with a controller. (Game has amazing controller support btw, even switching from keyboard to controller in the middle of a tutorial text, the line will change the keys the text redirects you to)

Now the good things:

The music is amazing. The jazzy style with some sweet vocals now and then made me finish this game quicker then expected due to being able to play longer without getting bored.

The atmosphere in the game is the other big part. It feels as if you got trown back into the past.. back to the time of the blues, gangsters and burlesque. Alot of the game being darker colored with not that much massively bright colored objects make it an amazing experience.

Now the platforming. When i started playing i felt trown back into another one of my favorite games in the past years.. Alice: Madness Returns. A 3D world from third-personview with platform elements while getting you further into the story in between. Even though Contrast doesnt hold any combat, the platforming parts are quite active... it doesnt just stop with moving platforms..nooooo.. because Contrast has something else.. shadows.
You are able to go into the light reflecting on walls etc. and go inside of your own shadow, allowing you to go alot further then just walking on physical objects. Combine this with being able to dash and be able to become a shadow even when mid-air makes for some exciting puzzles. Its not THAT hard but i can see some people taking their time at some puzzles for sure.

The story is great. Because your own personage stays on the background, you get fully emerged in the story of the child you are taking care of. Lets just say it has some nice twists and emotions (Not as emotional as Brothers: A tale of two sons (of which im not afraid to admit is the only game in history that literally made me shed a tear for a sec) with a good plot (though it might be slightly confusing for some ;D). I wont spoil anything of the story so enough about that!

Now the conclusion. Great game, nice controls, gameplay and atmosphere feel amazing and suck you in. Not supermemorable game that will change your life entirely but still a very very well-made game.
I would rate this game 7.5-8/10.
Not sure if i would pay full price since im a cheapass :P but at least worth looking into and certainly worth buying with any discount.

Its on 75% discount till 2 December (2014) btw.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2014
This is an amazing and short game!
I absolutley love the story and the Characters!
Controlls are easy to use and Graphics are amazing, its a very nice game and I can recommend it for anybody! But you should get it when it is on Sale. I completed the Story in 3.5 hours and therefor its a bit overpriced!

I hope there will be more games like this or even a second part as its ending leaves some questions open.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 27, 2014
While I really enjoyed this game, it was short. 3-4 hours short. If you can pick it up on sale, it's definitely worth it.
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12 of 21 people (57%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 14, 2014
Horrible playing, amazing concept and story


I really really wanted to like this game. But it just... is not that good. The concept, the art style, jumping between to worlds seems amazing and in fact really is but on the other hand playing is totally frustrating sometimes.

Thing is you start this extremely weird looking game and be like "oh god this looks awesome" and after some time you discover that you can switch between 2 worlds and you go "that is AMAZING". But after that you really play it and it is just HORRIBLE. Every 5 minutes you get into the moment when you know what to do, how to get there but the game is somehow broken and you just cant do it. Massive bugs and awful checkpoint system make it a bad game.

When you 10 times fall from the ledge and the girl tells you for 11th time to "hahah i know what to do..." and repeat that same monolog she already did 10 times.. you just wanna throw a brick in her face.

Contrast has looked sooo amazing at the store page so I've bought it in sale for like 5 € and I would really regret buying this game if it was at the full price. I have had to convince myself to give the game another shot to finish the story but it was for the purpose of finishing the game and not enjoying. There is a little chance for you to enjoy the game but for me it was just a horrible experience which is a shame because i mostly love these arty, weirdo games.

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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2014
One of the best adventure games I've played in a long time. Combine a Tim Burton-esque setting with neat mechanic and an interesting story and you get Contrast.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2014
Contrast is a nice puzzle game with an amazing atmohphere, a good storyline and great music.
I need to say the gameplay/the control (technical side) was kinda frustrating. But i loved playing it.
A fantastic point is that you can switch between the "world of shadows" 2D and the "world of lights" 3D.
Its a new game genre, like a combination of Limbo, Alice: madness returns and BioShock.
It took me 4-5h to complete, which is too short but still:

A Game worth playing... don´t miss this one. :D
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