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 (1,469 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] 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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“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
22 of 24 people (92%) 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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5 of 5 people (100%) 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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5 of 6 people (83%) 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.

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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 27
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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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
Contrast is a decent game, its has a fantastic atmosphere and decent writing, but the platforming can be quite janky and frustrating. Not entirely memorable or a must play, but its worth it, especially when its on sale.
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2 of 2 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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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
Very enjoyable game, a bit short with a couple of bugs, but it has a unique feeling, so its worth checking out.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
great game !
but too short ;__;
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
Contrast is a 3D puzzle\platformer that takes place in a world full of magic, cabaret singers, and burlesque shows. It utilizes a 1920's 'French Noir Film' art style that is unlike any other game I've played. The character design is beautiful, the voice acting is amazing, and the jazzy soundtrack fits the world perfectly. I can't stress enough how much I love the look and feel of this game. Yet, I can't recommend it, which is particularly disappointing considering how much there is to like here.

You play as Dawn, a woman trapped between the worlds of light and darkness, and who cannot be seen by anyone except for a little girl named Didi. Didi's parents have broken up, and with the father out of the picture, her mother works at a nightclub to pay the bills. This, of course, means nobody is watching the little demon-spawn and it's up to Dawn to keep her out of trouble. Easier said than done, since she insists on roaming around the city at all hours of the night, refusing to listen to reason, and all you can do is enable her.

The entire game revolves around a shift mechanic that allows you to become a shadow, an ability you will need to solve puzzles and progress through the game. Adjusting light sources to cast shadows to interact with is this game's bread and butter, and you'll be doing a lot of it.

The problems with Contrast start almost immediately. While the puzzle mechanics are unique and interesting, they are a bit buggy, and simple platforming can be difficult with controls that don't feel tight or responsive. Dawn has a tendency to get stuck in the environment and other shadows as well. There are even a couple of places where dropping an object in the wrong spot could result in the player not being able to progress further, forcing them to load the last checkpoint.

Once the game defines the parameters on the first couple of puzzles, it doesn't change them up much and they can become repetitive fast, which really shouldn't happen in a game this short. Which brings me to the biggest issue Contrast faces. The entire game can be completed in under 3 hours, and the ending is exceedingly abrupt. All of these issues combined leaves me with a feeling that the game is unfinished. Almost as if Compulsion Games ran out of money for the title half-way through development. Obviously, I do not have firsthand knowledge that this is the case, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm playing an Early Access game, and not a full release.

Altogether, Contrast is a game that should have been a one-of-a-kind, beautiful experience. When a bad idea becomes a bad game, it's expected, but when something that starts off this amazing falls flat, it's all the more frustrating. I expected better, as did most gamers, and in the future I hope Compulsion learns from their mistakes, and releases games that shows us all what they're really capable of.
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1 of 1 people (100%) 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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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 3
Original, beautiful, seamless, fun. Contrast is everything you could want from an indie game. It breaks the mold of puzzle games and RPGs alike and blends them into a cohesive, immersive, fantastical world. There is never a dull moment in Contrast. This might be my favorite indie game of all time.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
I started tracking this game back when it was on Greenlight, and it looked amazing back then. It took me some time to start playing it after it was released, but I'm glad to say that it is actually pretty neat, with very interesting and novel mechanics, with a cool story behind. It can be beaten pretty fast and I would actually recommend doing it. The bad parts about the game are: excessive guidance on what you need to do, every cinematic shows you exactly where you need to head, let me explore a bit! Almost all achievements are all very easy as well, with no need to go back to previous chapters once you finish the game to get them.
I recommend it, but would really like to see the same mechanics developed better in a more polished and longer game, with challenge rating up a bit.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 2
Bravo! Encore Encore!

Spectacular in every way. Great story, terrific platforming and puzzle solving elements. No penalty for death. Wonderful characters. Great art. I generally don't like puzzle platforming due my short frustration fuse. But Contrast was just perfect.

It only took four hours to complete, so my only complain is that it is too short. Probably not worth it at the list price of $15, but on sale, it was worth every penny.

I LOVED this game!

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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 3
Contrast (video game) is a noir atmospheric puzzler set it in the 1920's. You play as Dawn, the imaginary friend to Didi, a 9 year old girl who's step father is trying to put together a circus. Throughout the game, you must help Didi help her father put on a good show.

You morph in and out of the 3D world and 2D world of shadows, helping Didi by solving various puzzles. The gameplay was okay, there is a little bit of weirdness with the camera, but it wasn't too bad. It's a lot of parkour but the puzzles were pretty simple. The majority of what makes this game so good are the music, art and it's story. If anything, it's what makes the game worthwhile. Should be a quick and easy finish and will make for a good afternoon session.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
TL;DR: Check it out.

• Gameplay: Contrast is a truly unique concept; I can't think of anything that does something similar: shifting from a 3D environment to a 2D one using the shadows on the wall. Shadows can sometimes be manipulated by moving light sources. It's neat!
• Story: The story isn't masterfully told, but it is an interesting one, and I'm glad I stuck around to see it through to the end.
• Art: Contrast is beautiful to admire and its music is always a pleasant companion.
• It's Indie!: Support your local indie game developer! Especially when they're doing awesome work like this!

• Game Feel: As cool as traversing the shadows as a platformer is, Contrast has a tendency to be real finicky. On some puzzles, I would get so frustrated falling out of the shadows, I would question if I was performing the task correctly; in every case, I was. It becomes easy to slip out from the 2D world and fall to your death, and not even be sure why it happened. I managed to finish every puzzle, but I would have had a lot more fun if the mechanics had been fine-tuned a bit more.
• Acting: The voice acting could've been a little more convincing, but-- Ehh! What'r'ya gonna do?
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
The Idea is sound and unique. A 2d and 3d world to play in is nice, the controlls and shadows break the game however to the point of near unplayability. the controlls are chunky, and random in the amount of movement produced by a control being pressed. the shadows are unpredicable and do not always hold the avatar correctly. The player is often forced out of a shift by an unknown force often enough to stop being focused on the story and more on the task of overcoming the glitchy puzzles to move forward.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 12
The idea of using shadows as platforms is an interesting one; shifting your character back and forth between shadow and light adds new variety. The 3 hours of gameplay doesn't allow enough time for this idea to evolve. Most "puzzles" end up being nothing more than jump - shift - jump - shift. To make matters worse, platforming is a bit clunky. I felt like my character was alittle too big for the world. Missing an easy jump and falling to your death is infuriating, but the game is really forgiving, almost always reloading near the last jump. The main plot, although nothing more than a mellowdrama, hid behind it the more interesting subplot of the player's identity. This, sadly, is only hinted at in clues in the environment and pointless 'collectables'. Then the game ends, not really concluding anything, even the main plot. I really wanted to like Contrast, but there isn't enough of a game here to recommend to anyone.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
I was very disappointed with this game. I wouldn't say it's bad, but pretty much everything felt underwhelming or out of place. You would think that in a puzzle platformer the platforming would be really fleshed out and feel good, but in reality it's super clunky. Even the 2d bits once you enter the shadows feel bad and bugy. The dashing ability makes no sense. Why would the players character be able to do that. Maybe if it was just for platforming and mobility, but you are braking fences with that ability. It's just silly. Same goes for the players ability to carry big boxes like they are made of cardboard. As game mechanics they are fine, but they don't feel right in the games world.
Considering the length of the game I think it could have benefited form just flushing out the basic platforming and shadow stuff and leaving out all the other tiny mechanics. In my mind having a solid platformer with a shadow gimmick would be much better, than a clunky platformer with a bunch of flimsy mechanics that are used only handful of moments in the game. Moving objects to manipulate shadows was very interesting, but again, it was used only two times in the game and wasn't all that sophisticated. It would be so cool if the game had a bigger emphasis on this aspect.
The story is nothing special either. It's very simplistic. I really didn't care about it. It was frustrating that the mystery of why only the players character and Didi have physical bodies is addressed only at the very end of the game.
The only positive aspect of the game is its aesthetic. The Art Deco/cabaret stile is relay cool. And some of the level design visually is very interesting. Though I was a bit disappointed that in a game about shadows the shadows them selves ware a bit ugly at places.

In conclusion - get it on sale if the screenshots look really tempting to you, but stay away if you want super tight gameplay.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
You owe thousand times thanks to the maker of the trailor, developer!!! Coz if it is not the great demonstration in the trailor, no one would probably spend a cent on it. The idea is cool. The scene which imitates Alice: Madness return is fine. And the story is ok attributed to the touching voice of the little girl. But almost all the details, like the control of movement,
action animation, and so many things really drive me nuts.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 4
This is the second worst kind of indie game.
The worst kind being cheap ripoffs of whatever's popular right now (see: zombies, survival, crafting).
This however is an overly artsy fartsy platformer with one single original idea - which cannot carry a game by itself.
In the first hour or act you gain no understanding of your agency or place in the world and you begin to realize that you never will. The game just is way too much in love with its imaginary-friend-perspective of storytelling.
And what do you do? Follow a linear corridor of boring puzzles. Yes the shadow walking gimmik makes them orignal, but the shallow world, fixed camera (starting in act2!), and dodgy controls really remove all joy that might have been had here.
Oh and the "Soundtrack" are 15 tracks that amount to 20 minutes of samey music - and it's not even in FLAC format.
Not even worth 5 bucks.
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