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 (52 reviews) - 96% of the 52 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (2,971 reviews) - 90% of the 2,971 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 15, 2013

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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

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 (52 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (2,971 reviews)
Recently Posted
Jake
( 3.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Just finished Contrast and overall the game is really great, but there is always the 'but' word, but it has some bugs and that's really annoying, it's like Bioshock: Infinite and Limbo had a kid and his friend was Mr. Bug. I really enjoyed the puzzles and the gameplay but the atmosphere... it was kind of empty with all the shadow stuff. The game is really short that's a pitty. The idea of the game is awesome, mix the 3D and the 2D world+puzzles and that you can instantly go to the shadow world that was amazing, that's why I give this game 8/10
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anotherwhitebird
( 5.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
This game is truly unique, and absolutely stunning, both visually and story-wise, but WAY too short for full price. I wandered quite a lot, have an incredible knack for getting lost, suck at platformers*, and got most of the collectibles all in 5 hours. I was completely thrown by the ending, not because of how it ended, but because it ended so abruptly.

I feel like it was only about half finished when they realized they had a deadline so instead of compromising on ANY aspect of gameplay, they decided to leave the ending as a Sopranos-esque sharp cutoff. I can respect that a hell of a lot more than rushing through and releasing a clunky mess of a game full of bugs.


*During the play, a shameful number of times - ".... unfortunately, she impaled herself on the bamboo. Wait, no, that's not what happened!"

8/10 ADORED the game, but wish there was more of it. Immediate purchase when on sale, though!
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MeniaBee
( 5.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 28
I honestly love this game! I have replayed it several times and the only fault is that I want more to play!!! The puzzles are challenging and I love the music for this game. I would definitely recommend this game for anyone who needs to unwind and needs a quick game.
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iKill_
( 7.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
Its a really nice game, with an awesome history and soundtrack.
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Captain Smeggy
( 4.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 27
The puzzles are easy to complete and the story is nice with a little twist nearing the end. The setting is the best but I love everything 1900-1959 and the atmosphere is perfect. Everything just fits nicely together! Also, it's very easy to get 100% of achievements so there's no reason not to buy this game, really!! Overall , a brilliant game. The only problem is that it's just too short! But, quality over quantity, amirite? This game is definitely of good quality.

10/10
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DV8686
( 3.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
There is a lot to like about this game. It has an interesting story, and the 'noir' atmospheric setting works well with the game and it's main mechanic - being able to enter and move using shadows and light.

The puzzles are fun and strike a good balance of difficulty, while the collectibles / achievements are not too obnoxious to find and add a little replay-ability - I was able to find most collectibles during my first play through without hunting around too much.

The story is also interesting and keeps everything moving along nicely.

However, there are a couple of criticisms. Firstly, what some might see as a fault is the short length of the game. It only takes around 3 hours to fully complete (including achievements) although some might play faster than others.

Also, although I didn't experience any glitches, the puzzles where you have to carry objects while sometimes interesting do slow the pace of the game down a bit.

My biggest criticism is the abrupt ending. Without spoiling it, I will say that the game ends quite suddenly and while I knew the end was coming I was expecting there to be some explanation for how / why events were playing out.

Overall I would recommend this game, despite the criticisms it is fun, but I would only really buy this game during a sale as I don't think it is worth the price without any discounts.
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MomGamer420
( 3.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 26
Very innovative idea and puzzles, platforming can be a bit awkward however, enjoyable story, voice acting isn't the best but its still great to have.
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Baekhyun
( 5.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Dawn's legs are a blessing.
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ETERNAL
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
fun and beautiful indie game ...
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Todoroki
( 4.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Contrast is a 4 hours game (maybe 5 or more, if you like to wander around like me) and despite being too short for my like, it's very enjoyable. The story is simple and you won't spend more than 15 - 20 minutes in a puzzle, plus beautiful aesthetics that make up for the only negative aspect I found: sometimes you shift out of the shadows even if you didn't want to, so you will die a lot of times or just start again.
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 9
This game throws you a curve ball, and it is awesome! The game itself is shocking short but for its small size it throws a sucker punch ending. In truth it only took my a couple hours to get through this game and get a majority of it's collectibles but in my opinion, this game is worth the money you spend on it.
It has a unique and artistic style on how they approach the characters and maps, not including the extremely unique way of game play.
I have seen and played regular games that focus on realism and games such as Limo that focus on shadows, but I have never played a game that focuses on both!
I give this game a 9 out of 10 and recommend others play it.
On a side note, if you play it you should attempt to find a majority of the collectibles because it helps with the backstory of the plot but it is not needed.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
Flawed, but interesting. The animations are dated, the levels pretty lifeless and the primary mechanic isn't used to its full potential, but there was a sequence or two I thought was interesting and I think games like this are important and should be experienced.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
8.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
I did kind of like it but it's a very short game. The story bit is OK enough but the ending gets spoiled later in the game. Also I felt there was not enought gameplay with all the cut scenes interrupting it constantly. I also often had weird glitches with the character just randomly poping out of shadows. I felt it all rather ruined the quite promising platforming experience.

All in all I guess I could reccommend it but do get it on a sale.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Contrast is a 4 hours game (maybe 5 or more, if you like to wander around like me) and despite being too short for my like, it's very enjoyable. The story is simple and you won't spend more than 15 - 20 minutes in a puzzle, plus beautiful aesthetics that make up for the only negative aspect I found: sometimes you shift out of the shadows even if you didn't want to, so you will die a lot of times or just start again.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
There is a lot to like about this game. It has an interesting story, and the 'noir' atmospheric setting works well with the game and it's main mechanic - being able to enter and move using shadows and light.

The puzzles are fun and strike a good balance of difficulty, while the collectibles / achievements are not too obnoxious to find and add a little replay-ability - I was able to find most collectibles during my first play through without hunting around too much.

The story is also interesting and keeps everything moving along nicely.

However, there are a couple of criticisms. Firstly, what some might see as a fault is the short length of the game. It only takes around 3 hours to fully complete (including achievements) although some might play faster than others.

Also, although I didn't experience any glitches, the puzzles where you have to carry objects while sometimes interesting do slow the pace of the game down a bit.

My biggest criticism is the abrupt ending. Without spoiling it, I will say that the game ends quite suddenly and while I knew the end was coming I was expecting there to be some explanation for how / why events were playing out.

Overall I would recommend this game, despite the criticisms it is fun, but I would only really buy this game during a sale as I don't think it is worth the price without any discounts.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
312 of 322 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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88 of 91 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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91 of 96 people (95%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 29, 2015
Contrast is a curious combination of pros and cons...

The game has an amazing soundtrack that you can feel at the title screen, even before you do anything. It will be the first thing you will notice.

The second one is it great visual and art from the 1920s. Every character and level are beautiful and the light and shadows effects are pretty nice.

Them you get to know the story and, what a good plot it has, you will enjoy it even more when you get the collectibles and find the hidden pieces of information in the levels.

The problems start when you actually have to make that jump, mixing the 3D and 2D gameplay the game brings. The controls doesn't respond very well and, I must warning you, you will fall to your death many times...

There is only one thing that annoyed me more than fall a dozen times in a row, and her name is Didi. You have to do everything she says all the time, I mean, you must take care of her but Dawn could think a little for her own, it won't hurt.

There are only one or two moments that Didi actually helps you and, after that she is your boss and you must just do what she says. That was the negative point for me.

Contrast is a pretty short game, in about 4 hours you will achieve 100% on it. After all that I still recommend it for the experience, story and the great visual and sound it has, but not at full price, buy it on a special sale.
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108 of 121 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 19, 2013
Contrast is a mixture of dark noir atmosphere and puzzle-platforming adventure. One of the real treats of the game is the music - perfect jazz and sexy voice of Kat Malenkaya (what a nice character name). The main theme reminds me of a song "I wish you love" from "Eye of the Beholder" and Jessica Rabbit's "Why don't you do right". It is so romantic, sensual and emotional. Dawn is a very interesting main character (now I want those striped leggings), but I want to know more about her, her mysterious story was not fully told. Contrast is a game full of beauty, the dialogs make you sympathize with characters, 1920's Paris, the lights, burlesque and the circus are absolutely gorgeous. There are couple dissapointments - the movements (jumps) are glitchy and the game is too short. Thats it. For me - it's definitely worth playing.
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267 of 349 people (77%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
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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