Contrast First Look

Compulsion Studios' new effort presents quite the game of shadows.

With the PlayStation 4 set to drop November 15, fans are looking forward to some of the higher-advertised efforts for the system, like Killzone: Shadow Fall, Knack and Need For Speed: Rivals. You should also keep an eye out for some of the indie titles as well. One of these games is Compulsion Studios’ Contrast, a noir-based platforming puzzle game that has its own unique style, something we haven’t seen since Bioshock Infinite’s spellbinding world earlier this year.

The game takes place in the 1920s, and puts players in the role of Didi. She’s a nine-year old girl somewhat neglected by her mother, a cabaret singer who spends her nights lulling men. As such, she’s forced to turn to the one person that does understand her, an imaginary young woman by the name of Dawn. Players will alternate between the two, using their special abilities to move further through the game world, where danger lurks around every corner and shadows, surprisingly enough, are your true solace.

Let’s start with Dawn. She’s an agile, thin woman who’s able to switch between the real world and a shadow realm on command. Doing so allows her to interact with objects that would otherwise pass right through her. For instance, if a lamp appears to leave a platform-like trail along a wall, Dawn can shift into the shadow world and jump onto it, making her way to another nearby ledge and moving onward.

Sometimes you’ll have to rapidly switch between the two. For instance, when crossing over billboards, Dawn shifts in order to get onto the first shadow platform. She’ll then temporarily return to the real world as she leaps between billboards, only to go back to shadow form once she gets to the other side. 

As for the second character, it’s none other than Didi herself. While not as physically capable as Dawn, she can attach herself to walls in shadow form, and also manipulate light sources. By doing this, she’s able to collect these items called “luminaries,” which allow her to power certain things throughout the city, including lamps that activate new platforms for Dawn and other objects.

You’ll sometimes need to use both characters to solve a puzzle and move forward in a stage. For instance, one in particular involves a hot-air balloon sitting in the distance, which the pair must reach. In order to do so, higher platforms must be created.

With the help of the luminaries, Didi is able to generate energy to a nearby carousel. These create fast-moving horses that Dawn can jump across in order to reach a higher part of the real-world stage. She’ll have to move quickly, while accurately performing her jumps across the moving horses. It’s a bit of ways to travel – the horses go in the opposite direction, making the trek longer – but the payoff once you reach the balloon is very sweet.

If Dawn is not able to step atop any shadow platforms, she can shift back to the real world at any time, though she barely interacts with anything. Since she’s a figment of Didi’s imagination – for the most part – this makes sense. Didi, meanwhile, is more vulnerable, but capable of lighting the way with her luminaries and hide from enemies when the situation calls for it.

Although Contrast may not look as attractive as Sony’s other big-budget efforts for PlayStation 4, it’s definitely worth a look, particularly if you’re a fan of obscure, entertaining indie games. Check it out when the game arrives next week for PlayStation 4. 

About the Author

Prima Games Staff

The staff at Prima Games.