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:
Recent:
Very Positive (48 reviews) - 93% of the 48 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (3,096 reviews) - 90% of the 3,096 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 15, 2013

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July 21

Price Drop and Standalone DLC!



Hello everyone!

Ahead of the launch for We Happy Few we are excited to announce that we are permanently dropping the price on Contrast from US$14.99 to US$9.99 on all the platforms (Steam, Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3 and Nvidia SHIELD).

We are also (finally) offering the DLC as a standalone upgrade to Contrast for US$5.99 (Steam only), which contains:

Shadow Music
A Soundtrack to Contrast: Enjoy the digital version (MP3) of the 16-track original soundtrack, featuring the lovely Laura Ellis. Every track is featured in the game and highlights our unique world, atmosphere, and style.

Contrast Official Art Book
The Art Book explains the background to the game, including the conception and production the game, official art, unused concept images, and the story behind the music and sound. And pictures of all of us who worked on it. Look out for Sam, he’s really handsome. Also a bit deluded, but what can you do.

Contrast was our first game and we hold it close to our heart. If you didn’t get a chance to play it, it’s a good way to understand what led up to We Happy Few and to take a glimpse into the Compulsion world :)

Team Compulsion

http://store.steampowered.com/app/224462/

8 comments Read more

Reviews

“The interaction is stellar”
IGN

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

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
    • Storage: 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
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Very Positive (48 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (3,096 reviews)
Recently Posted
insanity4000
9.4 hrs
Posted: August 26
I really love this game...Okay it may have some small issues is it sometimes looks a bit unfinished. But if you look through these issues you can really enjoy the beautiful art, the fun of switching between 3D and 2D and the lovely story.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
nightcat
6.6 hrs
Posted: August 25
The keyboard controls will get you out of your mind.
But there are some touching, magical moments in this game; I actually consider it to be a piece of art. If only the controls were less frustrating...
Buy it if you enjoy short, story-driven, artistic (puzzle) games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Daednevar
4.3 hrs
Posted: August 22
short version: fun platformer, really neat concept that needed work, decent story with a little depth

long version: idk what i expected when i picked this up. it looked very different, and it honestly was. the trailers are very misleading in how fast paced the game is. you'll want to take things slow unless ur speedrunning it. i enjoyed myself though, it was sort of challenging but retained something that was just right to keep me going. the whole phasing in and out of the shadows was honestly something i havent seen before and i thought it was very original, but it needed work. it also only really worked when the game wanted it to work. being able to go in and out of the shadows told you there was something to do. normal lights wouldnt actually let you go into walls and such, i thought that would've been a nice extra addition, just being able to phase into walls and not always knowing if i need to get something from there. as for the story, it was nice, i cared about what happened to people, why ____ happened, how important is he, how does the person im playing have powers and stuff. the answers are there, but you just have to look.
but yea, decent game, play at ur leisure
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lee ❤
4.9 hrs
Posted: August 22
If I recommend this?

Yes!

The Graphic is great, the Story is good, the Gameplay is awesome, the switch between 3D and 2D is greatly done and I just love the Game.

Sometimes, I have Moments when I'm like ''AAAAAH why this SH*T didn't work now'' but I'm not sure if the Game is bugged a bit or I'm just impatient in that Moment.

Overall 10/10 - the Gaming World needs more such Games!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jabobomb
3.0 hrs
Posted: August 21
Excellent game, a must have in your collection.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Huenicorn
8.8 hrs
Posted: August 20
Short, but good, just like my coffee.

First of all, I really wished it was longer. I was so attached to the plot I wasn't seeing that ending coming so soon. Although it was a good, suspended ending, it made me think of what future Didi may have, alongside Dawn.
Overall this is a pretty fun 3D platform-puzzle game, with its difficulty being a challenge, but not mind cracking. The voice acting is pretty catchy as well, all that noir feeling made me feel nostalgic.

Really worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
LegoEater94
7.2 hrs
Posted: August 20
Contrast is a very interesting game. I love the concept and art style. The only bad thing is that I got a little motion sickness from all the moving around. Another thing was that I had to look up how to solve a couple puzzles :)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Alpha
4.0 hrs
Posted: August 20
Fun cool game!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
JacquesLeSauve
10.1 hrs
Posted: August 17
Before I begin the review proper, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge what a complete f*cking idiot I am.

When I first played this I went through it entirely using mouse and keyboard, despite the fact I was frequently grumbling about how heart-breaking the controls were and the slight but still awkward disconnect between button press and character. But I still persevered because, well... sure, I do have a control pad, but since the mouse and keyboard were already hooked up and I was already in my pyjamas, I was hardly going to lean over a couple feet to my right to grab and connect a controller now, was I? But before writing this review I decided to give it a shot just to be sure, and damn, am I a complete f*cking idiot. It was a revelation. The difference might be small but the impact is massive, and that tightening of movement and control pretty much eradicated the major complaint I had about the gameplay. So I've learned my lesson, control pad for 3rd-person games from now on. Though, whichever control method you use, you should still find a lot to love about this game.

Contrast is a 3D, semi-open world puzzle game with platforming elements. You play as the mute Dawn, an acrobat and circus performer... and also the imaginary friend of Didi, a precocious little girl living with her single mother in 1920s north America (I can't pin down exactly where it's set, as the world has a very European or maybe even Parisian vibe to it, but everyone has an America accent and dollars are a thing here. So possibly Canada? I dunno). Didi likes to sneak out with Dawn and follow her mother to watch her perform at the cabaret club at night, but this has landed her in trouble as authorities threaten to take her into care away from her "negligent" parent. And so, Didi and Dawn set about trying to make things right again, helping her mother reconnect with her estranged father who is down-and-out and in hot water with the mob, but also means well and is trying to do right by his family. What follows is an equally whimsical and saddening tale of a young girl's adventure through the dark world of grown-ups and her own upbeat imagination.

The main hook of the game is Dawn's ability to shift into the world of shadows. Simply move up to any wall with strong light and shadows against it, and you can change to a 2D silhouette. But what's really clever is allowing the player in some cases to move objects between the wall and light source - or even the light source itself - to adjust the shapes and sizes of shadows for some platforming puzzle shenanigans. Sometimes these can be a bit fiddly as you might find yourself having to repeatedly re-adjust and finesse the exact position of things around in order to progress, but that's probably to be expected given the nature of the mechanics of play and would be all but unavoidable unless the movement of everything in the environment was severely limited.

One look at a single video or screenshot should tell you all you need to know about the beautiful art design. The slightly dark, grim world being completely overshadowed by the colourful and elegantly animated Dawn, with only her and Didi appearing as solid models, while every other character is shown as a silhouette against a backdrop of any given scene. This is partly a happy accident due to the time and budgetary constraints of the developers and wanting to keep animation costs down, but a lot of credit does also have to go to the direction of the game and its intention of portraying a child's feelings of isolation. As too does the voice acting and music and audio in general. It's incredibly easy to have kids be annoying and grating in anything they appear in, but whoever voiced Didi did an amazing job at making her a lovable and sympathetic character that we want to see happy, which is lucky since we're essentially escorting her for the whole duration of play.

With my five hours or so with the game I did occasionally have my issues with it, like some awkwardly executed puzzles (which, in fairness, may have been the mouse and keyboard controls getting in the way more than anything). But overall, I have little but kind words to say about the game, and even though I'm a bit on the fence about the ending, I like how open they left most aspects of the game. There's a lot of room for interpretation as the lines are heavily blurred between fantastical reality and hopeful imagination or the perception of Didi's own view of the world. The game has a lot of creativity, style and heart, and I really think it should be rewarded for that when so few other games seem to get that mix just right. As happy as I'd be to play a sequel in the future, even if this is all we ever see of the world of Contrast, I still had an amazing and mostly joyous experience that I wish other games would take note of and be adventurous or confident enough to try themselves.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
12 of 12 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 7
Teal Deer
  • Developers: Compulsion Games
  • Publishers: Focus Home Interactive
  • Initial release: Nov 2013
  • Genre: Platformer, Puzzle, Adventure
  • #Worth/NotWorth: #Worth
Exposition, Concurrence and Summation

Contrast is a 3D puzzle platformer with an interesting noir-ish art style that stems beyond a purely visual effect.

In Contrast, you control Dawn. An imaginary person for most intents and purposes; The imaginary friend of Didi Melakaya. A troublesome gal whose parents have had some hard times. Totally understandable and relatable hard times.

From Dawns perspective the world seems rather empty, as Didi is the only person she can actually see manifested in non-shadow form. Dawn is rather unique in that she herself can turn into a shadow. As a shadow she can walk and interact with other shadows and this is the main aspect of puzzle solving in the game.

Moving light sources and traversal of the 3D platforms as well as the traveling between the two dimensional shadows allows for some interesting puzzle solving. This can be slightly mind bending at first while some puzzles suffer from mildly clunky controls but it's not that big of a deal in all fairness. Dawn seems to be a fairly lanky character and moves rather quickly for the size of the environment. This is a very minor thing but it's just something I noticed that threw me off a little.

I mentioned that Dawn can become a shadow and that Didi is the only person she can see. All other people in the world are only shown as shadows. Though their voices can still be heard. Gives it a very noir feeling aside from the art style itself. I have always seen Dawn as more than an imaginary friend of Didi's creation and much more of a “how she sees herself as an adult”. Her inner desires manifest for the sake of gameplay and story telling device.

The voice acting is very good indeed. Didi's father being the most noticeable without having to do much research. Quickly recognizing him as the same actor that played Aden Jensen from Deus Ex.

I actually finished this game a while back but decided to revisit it briefly in the wake of “We Happy Few” from the same developers.

THE GIST
Well made character adventure puzzle/platformer with unique art style.


Follow my curation for more
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
Before I begin the review proper, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge what a complete f*cking idiot I am.

When I first played this I went through it entirely using mouse and keyboard, despite the fact I was frequently grumbling about how heart-breaking the controls were and the slight but still awkward disconnect between button press and character. But I still persevered because, well... sure, I do have a control pad, but since the mouse and keyboard were already hooked up and I was already in my pyjamas, I was hardly going to lean over a couple feet to my right to grab and connect a controller now, was I? But before writing this review I decided to give it a shot just to be sure, and damn, am I a complete f*cking idiot. It was a revelation. The difference might be small but the impact is massive, and that tightening of movement and control pretty much eradicated the major complaint I had about the gameplay. So I've learned my lesson, control pad for 3rd-person games from now on. Though, whichever control method you use, you should still find a lot to love about this game.

Contrast is a 3D, semi-open world puzzle game with platforming elements. You play as the mute Dawn, an acrobat and circus performer... and also the imaginary friend of Didi, a precocious little girl living with her single mother in 1920s north America (I can't pin down exactly where it's set, as the world has a very European or maybe even Parisian vibe to it, but everyone has an America accent and dollars are a thing here. So possibly Canada? I dunno). Didi likes to sneak out with Dawn and follow her mother to watch her perform at the cabaret club at night, but this has landed her in trouble as authorities threaten to take her into care away from her "negligent" parent. And so, Didi and Dawn set about trying to make things right again, helping her mother reconnect with her estranged father who is down-and-out and in hot water with the mob, but also means well and is trying to do right by his family. What follows is an equally whimsical and saddening tale of a young girl's adventure through the dark world of grown-ups and her own upbeat imagination.

The main hook of the game is Dawn's ability to shift into the world of shadows. Simply move up to any wall with strong light and shadows against it, and you can change to a 2D silhouette. But what's really clever is allowing the player in some cases to move objects between the wall and light source - or even the light source itself - to adjust the shapes and sizes of shadows for some platforming puzzle shenanigans. Sometimes these can be a bit fiddly as you might find yourself having to repeatedly re-adjust and finesse the exact position of things around in order to progress, but that's probably to be expected given the nature of the mechanics of play and would be all but unavoidable unless the movement of everything in the environment was severely limited.

One look at a single video or screenshot should tell you all you need to know about the beautiful art design. The slightly dark, grim world being completely overshadowed by the colourful and elegantly animated Dawn, with only her and Didi appearing as solid models, while every other character is shown as a silhouette against a backdrop of any given scene. This is partly a happy accident due to the time and budgetary constraints of the developers and wanting to keep animation costs down, but a lot of credit does also have to go to the direction of the game and its intention of portraying a child's feelings of isolation. As too does the voice acting and music and audio in general. It's incredibly easy to have kids be annoying and grating in anything they appear in, but whoever voiced Didi did an amazing job at making her a lovable and sympathetic character that we want to see happy, which is lucky since we're essentially escorting her for the whole duration of play.

With my five hours or so with the game I did occasionally have my issues with it, like some awkwardly executed puzzles (which, in fairness, may have been the mouse and keyboard controls getting in the way more than anything). But overall, I have little but kind words to say about the game, and even though I'm a bit on the fence about the ending, I like how open they left most aspects of the game. There's a lot of room for interpretation as the lines are heavily blurred between fantastical reality and hopeful imagination or the perception of Didi's own view of the world. The game has a lot of creativity, style and heart, and I really think it should be rewarded for that when so few other games seem to get that mix just right. As happy as I'd be to play a sequel in the future, even if this is all we ever see of the world of Contrast, I still had an amazing and mostly joyous experience that I wish other games would take note of and be adventurous or confident enough to try themselves.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
Although the game is short,it's still one of the best game I've ever played. Love the concept, the art, the environment, the puzzle, basically everything in it. But I got to say there are still some bugs need to be fixed.

(I've finished the game 3 times lol)
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 12
This game has a great story, fantastic graphics and a captivating concept. I love the idea of merging traditional platformer with 3D story-rich. There is however, one MAJOR flaw that has nearly put me off even trying to finish this game. There is no way to actually *save* your game. Instead you are at the mercy of the game's ridiculously spaced out illogical autosave points, which are not even properly indicated when they activate. Apparently the developers think that everyone who plays their games are all day games who never ever have to close their game in between sessions, so be prepared to lose ages worth of work in one go because heaven forbid you have to shut the game down! I read in one of the earlier discussions that the idea of a tradional manual save point was "discussed and dismissed" by the developers, dumb move! If your'e going to force auto-save only then have a LOT of autosave points, I'm losing interest in the story and the concept because I have to keep redoing the same frustrating tasks over and over again every time I launch (and please dont' say I should just leave the game running, that's bad for your machine and I shouldn't have to...manual saves in story/task-risk games are expected features for a reason!)
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
I love it when small indie studios know exactly what they're capable of and don't bite off more than they can chew, while still bringing innovative and fun ideas to the table. Compulsion Games's Contrast is a prime example of this, a game entirely based on one novel gameplay mechanic and an efficient story, short enough to never force the gameplay to become repetitive or the player's attention to slip. The real star, however, is the environment. The game has such a strong art design, that the game oozes atmosphere and the world seems to be full of life despite the fact that there are only 2 physical people walking around in it. The soundtrack is equally phenomenal.

Now I personally don't care about game length vs game price, however I did finish the game in under 3 hours, with all but one collectible found, and I spent quite some time having to tackle platforming sections over and over again due to somewhat clunky controls. Still, Contrast offers such a pleasant overall experience that I think it's totally worth buying.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 7
Honestly this game had so much more potential than it lived up to. I was really intrigued by the shift between the 2D/3D world, and the surrealist/psychological undertones, but those ended up being all for show. The game felt like a tease to a really engaging story and felt so underdeveloped and rushed. It was hard to really like it because the plot felt rushed in the beginning with hardly any build up and ended really abruptly. It was really a let down and I wouldn't play it at all.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
BEAUTIFUL!
FUN!!
SWEET!!!
i feel sad it was so short...

no need to say more,
it is a game you shoulen't miss

10+/10
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 28
Great story.
Unique and fun gameplay.
Amazing soundtrack.

10/10 for me.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
314 of 324 people (97%) found this review helpful
Recommended
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
Just finished playing the game; about 4 hours to complete. All achievements and collectables unlocked.

This game was an absolute pleasure to play. It's a short indie game telling a mature story of a young girl and her broken family trying to come back together as they make painful choices, solve difficult situations, and all the while unraveling a mysterious tale of science & intrigue closer to the heart than expected.

I understand this may not be for everyone... but the deciding factor I believe we should all consider is this is a very affordable, small-team, indie game worth experiencing. That said, the amount of storytelling I experienced was amazing.

If it is worth anything, I have a background in animation as a storyboard artist... I am especially keen to stories that feel "thought through" from start to finish, and not merely trying to get to certain moments or even the climactic finale just for the sake of it. This story has scenes from the whole way through that truly made my wife & I get pretty darn sad. Stay for the end...

The difficulty is quite easy, and that may throw some people off... in my opinion however I enjoy story over challenge, so making all the collectibles glaringly obvious throughout only made me focus on their content and how it intertwined with the story rather than the pursuit. This is very subjective, so those looking for a hard time may be turned off. I've read here & there some having troubles with the shadow puzzles; this again is a tough one, as I got through all of them pretty easy... the most I spent was maybe 20-25 minutes on the last act's few big ones... still, the visuals and little rewards you are given with wonderful voice acting or visual design was well worth it.

Speaking of voices, the acting was tremendous. We especially enjoyed the voice of Didi, as child voice overs can sometimes be a hit or miss.

Visually the game is an absolute joy to experience. Didi and Dawn are interesting, and I even grew to love the wonderful silhouettes of the characters around them. The soundtrack is very well thought out and you can clearly see the sound & visuals were designed hand in hand to compliment each other.

I know reviews can be a subjective mess for some, but I hope this helps in whatever way it can! I'm a pretty level-headed, patient man who really appreciates good art & story. If this isn't your cup of tea, I again remind you it was a fifteen dollar purchase that definitely wouldn't make you regret the experience.

I'm not a hardcore "anti-big publisher / developer" gamer, but I do want to say, humbly, that games like this make me so hopeful and excited about indie games. They provide an intimacy and patience in story I don't see often enough in the AAA titles.

Very best regards,
DDCP
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89 of 92 people (97%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 26, 2014
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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