Contrast is a 3D platformer currently available on multiple consoles, although the Xbox One version will be the version reviewed here. I personally have enjoyed this game to a very large extent, but it does have a few shortcomings that could’ve easily been avoided.
Contrast takes place during the times of burlesque and follows the story of a young girl named Didi and her imaginary friend, Dawn. As a fan of noir-styled games, the atmosphere of Contrast immediately got my attention. The environments, the cabaret club, the cinema, and countless other locations definitely appealed to my tastes. I wasn’t expecting much from the story, and although the game is quite short at 3-4 hours, I was shocked at how deep the narrative is. Themes such as child services and divorce don’t come up often in video games, so it’s a sigh of relief to know that developers are willing to delve deep into a narrative for the purpose of creating a cohesive and well-thought out storyline. Without spoiling too much, Didi’s parents have a tumultuous relationship that has led to some dark occurrences in Didi’s life.
The graphics in the game are excellently done. It’s certainly not Titanfall or anything of the sort, but the graphics definitely suit the game’s theme. I played Contrast on the Xbox 360, and I have to say that the graphics are truly the only difference between the versions. Then again, in a cross-platform release, cosmetics are really the only thing that should change. The music in this game is spectacular and is honestly some of the best stuff I have heard in a while. Kat’s sultry voice truly carries the emotion of the lyrics across, and the voice acting is smooth as silk.
Unfortunately, Contrast isn’t perfect, and the gameplay does have some flaws. The game is rather buggy, and I would find myself getting stuck in walls every now and then. The gameplay itself is quite sensitive for a platformer, but it works well considering that the puzzles are fast-paced. The cool twist about this game is that Dawn, the player character, is able to transform into the shadows and platform across gaps in both dimensions. The way the game determines what is in the shadow world and how the puzzles react to the shadow world is quite ingenious. However, the bugginess of the game leads some puzzles to become unnecessarily difficult. For example, one of the puzzles near the end of the game required me to transport a box to a platform using a spotlight. The lightning speed of the spotlight caused me to lose the box a few times, as well as lose my temper a few times. laugh The main problem with Contrast, though, is the fact that it’s too short. I usually never complain about length in games, but Contrast is never able to truly identify itself in its gameplay. Limbo was able to do that in less than 2 hours, but for most games, it can take up to 6. I do feel that this world could’ve been expanded upon.
In summary, Contrast is definitely an amazing game and experience that should be played by all. Unfortunately, the game is $15, which is simply too much for the length of this game. If it goes on sale, I feel that this is a must-buy. Its atmosphere is amazing, and it’s an easy 1,000 Gamerscore for all of you Achievement Hunters out there.