DEV: Compulsion Games
Game Time (100% Achievements): 4 hours
Steam Cards: Yes
Steam Achievements: Yes
Contrast is a wonderfully stylized puzzle platformer that takes place in 1920's Paris. You take the role of a young girl name Didi and her mysterious friend Dawn. Dawn has the strange ability to go from the shadow world to the physical world on a moments notice. You wander through the beautiful city of lights completing puzzles to help the adults in your life and to make a few discoveries along the way. Contrast has a very 1920's jazzy, noir feel and the game transports you into a world you can't help but appreciate. Contrast is a portal into another world, and while it is a brief journey it is one worth playing through.
There are games that challenge you, there are games where you compete, there are games that engage you with the story, and then there are games that take you through a world. Contrast is one of those games. In Contrast you never fight anyone, and you never are threatened. Contrast is a very casual and engaging experience. Instead throughout the game you complete a series of puzzles to progress the story.
Didi is an extremely resourceful nine year old being raised by her mother. Her guardian, Kat, is a single mother whose talent and beauty has landed her a starring position in her clubs cabaret. The story begins as Kat leaves Didi home alone while shes getting ready for her big moment. Didi is supposed to be getting ready for bed but she decides to instead take a stroll with her friend Dawn. Dawn is Didi's mysterious friend that cannot be seen by anyone but Didi. Dawn has the strange ability to become a shadow. When Dawn becomes a shadow the game shifts from a 3d platformer to a 2d platformer. Didi helps Dawn get to the next area or solve a puzzle by manipulating the light sources around her.
The story reminds me of a playable Pixar movie. It is incredibly child friendly and the game as a whole feels very innocent. You see the world through a young child and explore through rooftops, carnivals, and Parisian vaudeville clubs.
As much as I enjoyed this game I do have to say that I wish there were more high quality puzzles and levels in the game. There were definitely some very high points however the puzzles were not consistently amazing. Don't get me wrong they weren't bad by any means, but the game was inconsistent in puzzle quality. If every puzzle was as good as the carousel level featured halfway through the game this would be a perfect title. If a game is as short as Contrast is every puzzle should be as high quality as that. I found the platforming elements to be smooth, others seemed to have problems with camera angles but I did not have that issue.
Contrast also features collectables in every level. The Steam achievements are all centered around these collectables and due to the shortness of the game this is a very easy game to 100%. The addition of collectables gives incentive to replay the levels for what you missed. They all also give much needed background information about some of the characters. Contrast however does not have high replay value. Once you play Contrast once you will remember how to solve all the puzzles and there isn't really much reason to do them again.
I adore this era of music. The soft yet powerful voices and the elegant accompaniments can make any music lover smile. The music brings justice to the era. If Jazz and swing are loves of yours then the soundtrack is reason enough to play Contrast. Even if you don't play the game the soundtrack is worth a listen
THE SOUNDTRACK IS AMAZING.
The games Contrast and Transistor have fantastic soundtracks.
SHOULD I PLAY THIS GAME
Like I've said so many times before, what makes this game great is the atmosphere. You truly feel as if you are in the jazzy, burlesque 1920's city of Paris.The soundtrack, the level design and the whole vibe of the game is perfect. This is a playable children's book and it is fantastic. Unless you hated movies as a kid you would love this game. It even has the length of a movie. My own 4 hour playtime is longer than the average. I replayed through nearly the entire game for the collectables and the real game time is probably around 2.5 hours.
Depending on how fast you are with puzzles this is a very small time investment for the experience. However many will feel that the game is way too short. I can definitely agree with that and I do wish there was more content. And if a game is going to be this short every puzzle should be exceptional. Instead the quality ranged from average to exceptional.
Contrast is among my very favorite Indie games. The childlike innocence, the crisp smooth jazz, and seeing the world of Didi are reasons why I think everyone should give this a try.