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 (1,675 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 15, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

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

[HALLOWEEN SALES] 75% OFF CONTRAST

[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.

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Reviews

“The interaction is stellar”
IGN

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

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

    Minimum:
    • OS: WINDOWS XP SP2/WINDOWS VISTA SP1/WINDOWS 7/WINDOWS 8
    • Processor: AMD/INTEL DUAL-CORE 2.3 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512MB VRAM, COMPATIBLE DIRECTX 9.0C AND SHADER MODEL 3.0, AMD RADEON X2600 XT/NVIDIA GEFORCE 7900 GTX
    • 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
163 of 195 people (84%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 14
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.
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68 of 71 people (96%) found this review helpful
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
Contrast is a puzzle-based platformer in Art Deco style with an enjoyable unique mechanism.
Playing the role of the invisible friend of a little girl, you explore climbing and jumping the 3D (in real) and 2D (in shadows) world of the 1920s. The story is mature but nothing too special, and reminds me partially of the game Papo & Yo.

The jump- and puzzleparts could be challenging, especially towards the end of the game, but they are never unfair. Graphics and voice-acting are nice an suitable - the soundtrack is really fabulous (especially the maintheme).
There are some minor bugs and glitches, but they are not distracting, but controls and camera are sometimes a bit clumsy.

Overall Contrast is a solid and good title - and especially on sale, you should grap it.
- I think it is not a must-have title but a nice-to-have-played game.

Personal Rating 80/100

+ The great soundtrack
+ Flair of the 1920's

- A bit too short (5-6h for 100%)
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29 of 31 people (94%) found this review helpful
8.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
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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19 of 20 people (95%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
Contrast.. is a rather intresting little gem, it takes less than 6 hours to complete fully - but the ride is so enjoyable and the mood is hit perfectly that I really have no regrets. I will however touch on a few issues; the controls - the whole shifting into shadows and out again sometimes bugs out, tossing you out of shadows for no actual good reason. In addition, some puzzles require you to stand in a specific place before it'll show you the progress, having spent about 30 minutes trying to make an impossible jump I face palmed fiercely when I found out by accident that I simply needed to walk onto the shadow of a cigarette.

However, those two issues aside? The game is worth the money, I wouldn't say you're getting spoiled rotten with content, but you will get an appealing little tale, with decent graphics, amazing music score, and a fresh take on the platforming genre.
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17 of 21 people (81%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 29
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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44 of 71 people (62%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
Contrast starts on a very clever gaming mechanism but ends up falling short. The story is dull, the characters are botched, the game-play is repetitive and the controls are clunky. The whole game can be 100% completed in one seating of 4 hours.
That is a pity because the premise of this game, the atmosphere, the era and the soundtrack are top notch. All the ingredients were there to make this game mythical. However, the poor execution ends up ruining the show and the whole thing feels sour in the end.
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13 of 15 people (87%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 9
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.

7/10
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 29
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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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
10.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 3
It's an alluring game artistically and the story is both entertaining. The platforming is not too difficult and the puzzles worth the effort. I found myself more apt to wander a bit to explore the world, but the game doesn't give you sandbox freedom. Voice acting is good, and the little girl steals the show. My only complaint really is that platformng would occasionally get stuck on geometry. The controls are okay - would be nice to be able to bounce off walls. There were a few situations in Act 3 where a light cart would get stuck or a ball would end up in the wrong place and I was unable to move it back. An addition of nice save spots in Act 3 would have been a good. What could have better?...a bit more interaction with the little girl..with Dawn voiced. That would help. She is mute the whole game. Or maybe just some scenes where Dawn shows some emotion. I think that dymanic was missing. Overall a good puzzle-story-platformer. Not too hard, not too long, plenty engrossing.
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18 of 27 people (67%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
This colourful and atmospheric game will put you as beautiful shadow inside 1920s film noir dreamscape to help a little girl solve problems with her family.
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10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 13
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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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 14
Horrible playing, amazing concept and story
5/10

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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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11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
Contrast is an exceptionally good game, if you enjoy what it does.

The sterotypical 12-year-old Call Of Duty player, or the stereotypical Madden-fanatic dudebro, are not going to like this game, nor are they going to understand what makes it so cool, or so fun to play.

But if you're the kind of gamer who can appreciate beautiful visuals, innovative gameplay, and a story-driven experience, Contrast is definitely worth a look.

First off, the artwork in this game is gorgeous. It's a stylized, animated style which summons up a surreal Jazz Age Paris (?). It's affecting and evocative and surprisingly detailed.

The game's shadow-shifting mechanic is novel, and the puzzles I've encountered thus far are unusual, but not frustratingly so. The story's the thing here, in the end, and the traversal puzzles and the jumping are just what you do while moving through -- and moviing forward -- the plot.

Ultimately, this is a game which tells a story. It's told mostly through cutscenes, but the voice acting is generally superior, and the writing is solid, which keeps it all interesting. As has been said, there's a vaguely Bioshock feeling to the storytelling -- there's a mystery unfolding, and a faint air of tragedy or melancholy surrounding events, as if something sad is about to occur, unless it can be outrun or outthought.

You play as the shadow-shifting "imaginary friend" of a little girl named DiDi, whose parents are on the edge of serious trouble. The game doesn't fully explain itself at the start. and certain events make you wonder if the often surreal landscape you move through is simply reality colored by a young girl's imagination or something ... else ... yet to be discovered.

The game isn't perfect, of course. The shadow-shifting mechanic doesn't always activate as intended, forcing retries of a jump puzzle sequence. Also, for Steam PC users, the controls for this game were clearly designed for consoles, so if you have a USB game controller hooked to your PC, you'll almost certainly have a better time using that.

And again, the puzzles and the narrative style of Contrast will not appeal to every gamer, but if you're intrigued, I'd say take a look.

Contrast may well be a flawed gem, in some ways, but it's still a gem. Gamers often say they want "something different" in their gaming. Here it is. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 12
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!
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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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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 12
For a 3D platformer the games controls are, to say the least, lackluster. There's a jump, a dash, and the ability to merge onto walls that have light on them. Aside, from these there's the ability to dash in the air and that's really it, unlike most other 3D platformers you don't really have a progression with more abilities added on. Luckily it doesn't have the same issue as many other 3D platformers in that the camera doesn't fight against you a lot, though there are still moments of it.
If you like to go fast, the dash is slightly faster than the walking speed so you'll probably end up just spamming the button to move around (With the exception of going down slopes as the time it takes to fall in often longer than walking down.).

The puzzles are often very easy, almost as if this game was designed for children. With the final level/chapter being an exception. Instead of being easy the puzzles are then super vague and it seems like this portion was probably rushed as it lacks compared to the rest of the game.
As a bit of a side note, I managed to bruteforce my way through most jumping puzzles by abusing the dash in the game (You can dash as you unmerge from a wall and this lead to dashing while merged on a wall then unmerging and dashing.)

By contrast, the story is very mature with a lot of talk about divorce, murder, and the like (Spoiler: There's even a scene where the little girl's mother attempts to kill her husband.). So that assures me that this game isn't meant for children.

Like it's been said, this game can be 100% in a very short time. I beat the game with like 80% completion in about an hour and a half. Then took about another half hour to tie up the other achievements I missed. So you will not be getting a whole lot of time out of this game.

I'd say there's one thing that makes this game fall short and that's it's lack of freedom and lack of replayability.
Now let me explain what I mean by lack of freedom, the game feels like it might be an open world at first, but you soon realize it's a linear story with chapters and many many invisible walls. In the first area if you explore you can find the secret room with the donator names, or whatever, and I was hoping there would be more as the game went on, but no that's the only really optional area in the game. Aside from that there are the lumes(?) spread around in the world and a completionist would want to go an collect those, but you only need like half in an area to proceed. This brings forth the question, why are there so many when you need so few?
Onto the lack of replayability, the whole reason to play this game is for the story. The gameplay is decent, but what keeps people playing is the story of the game. Once you know the story there's no reason to come back to it.
Even I was going to go back and try a speedrun of the game, but the amount of cutscenes and unskippable dialouge killed it for me. I'm certain there's plenty of ways to break the game and skip event triggers and the like, but I don't want to put that much work into a game that, frankly, I don't like that much.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 24
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.

8+/10
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 5
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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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
A great game well worth the price the detail that it has is amazing!

The only bad thing is the length of it, took 5 hours to 100% but worth it!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 21
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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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
I really enjoyed this game! The puzzles were fun and challenging, the graphics were awesome and the soundtrack amazing. I only wish that is was longer.
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