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 (1,980 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."
Read the full review here.


“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
255 of 327 people (78%) found this review helpful
2 people 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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20 of 22 people (91%) 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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24 of 30 people (80%) 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 21 people (81%) 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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13 of 17 people (76%) 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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8 of 10 people (80%) 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
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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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 6
Great premise, potential to be amazing but ultimately falls short.

Puzzles are to simple, It setups for a great story but doesn't do much with it.

The shadow mechanic has potential for very complex puzzles with moving light sources, but boils down to pulling a lever
to rotate machines on a fixed path until a path opens.

Also very short, I completed the story, found all the collectables and got 100% on my first playthrough in only 4 hours
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 9
The game fills like a project abandoned half-way.
There are interesting concepts and ideas in Contrast, but, there is quite a few important buts.
• For a puzzle game it is way too easy.
• The controls and camera are poorly calibrated
• The game is short, only 3 hours of gameplay
Everything about this game feels as if the developers had plans, but did not finish them.

Overall score 5/10

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5 of 6 people (83%) 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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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
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
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 12, 2014
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 or building on concepts. 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 after each dash on the slope is often longer than just walking down.).

The puzzles are often very easy, almost as if this game was designed for children. With the final level being an exception. In that chapter, instead of being too easy the puzzles are then made to be super vague and it seems like this portion was rushed as it lacks in polish 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 around 80% completion in about an hour and a half. It 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, or even Banjo Kazooie or Mario 64-esque hub world with stages, 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 and I was hoping there would be more secrets like this 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 about half of the lumes in a given 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 is going to keep people playing is the story of the game. Once you know the story there's no reason to come back to it.
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, 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.

Edit: If you disagree with me, please feel free to comment on the review and discuss it. I'm more than open to take debate on why people think this game is good. I wanted to love the game, but it just wasn't there for me.
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13 of 23 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
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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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 9
I have mixed feelings about this game. While the concept is quite intriguing and I've never played another game like it, the shadow mechanics are rather sloppy and it's very short, taking place over 3 hour-long acts give or take depending on how fast you solve the puzzles.

The game's main mechanic allows your character to become a shadow on any wall where bright light is projected. In this form, other shadows become your platforms and obstacles and you have to manipulate and navigate them in order to solve puzzles. It's a very cool concept for unfortunately not implemented all that well. I found myself frequently popping out of shadow mode because I'd touched a small feature on the wall even though that didn't interrupt the shadows I was walking on and occasionally without any noticable cause. Traversing moving shadows can be a bit problematic as well.

The game looks pretty good and runs well, utilizing the popular Unreal engine. The writing and voice acting are surprisingly high quality and tell the story well, accompanied by collectible items which you really need to take a look at to get the whole story. Luckily most of them are in plain sight.

The real disappointment of the game is its length. I finished the game in one sitting and I want more, hopefully with fewer glitches in shadow mode. I want it to be a full length game like Portal 2 with more difficult puzzles and more game mechanics. Here's hoping for Contrast 2.

While the game has its problems, I quite enjoyed it and am recommending it to others. Just don't go into it expecting a difficult or lengthy game.
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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
15.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
A hidden gem. 8.5/10

You can tell a lot of love went into making this game. It's original, intelligent, about the right length (approx 5-6 hours), relaxing gaming fun with a very different game mechanic (once you get used to switching between 2D/3D), puzzles just about the right difficulty. Graphics are beautiful. Story is engaging and told in a very interesting manner.

My only minor complaint is the character controls felt a little stiff and sometimes dropping in and out of shadows (2D mode) was not quite as seamless as it needed to be.

Summary: Great game to play when you're inbetween games and want a pleasant distraction.

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