Contrast (video game)

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Contrast game logo.jpg
Official game logo
Developer(s) Compulsion Games
Publisher(s) Focus Home Interactive
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s)
  • NA November 15, 2013
  • EU November 29, 2013
Genre(s) Puzzle, Platform

Contrast is a puzzle-based platform style video game developed by Compulsion Games for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.[1] On October 31, 2013, the game was confirmed to launch as one of two free titles offered to PlayStation Plus members, along with Resogun.[2]


The game is set in a noir atmosphere. The player must solve puzzles that require movement between the physical world and shadows. The player must sometimes manipulate different light sources in the 3D world (spotlights, film projectors, etc.) to create proper shadow paths to reach into new areas. So-called "collectibles" that offer insight into the game's characters and the world in which they live in are also available throughout game-play.

Dawn and Didi are the only two characters who appear as full 3D figures. The player controls Dawn, an imaginary friend who is able to manifest as a three-dimensional shadow. Dawn is able to jump between two shadows, no matter how far apart. All other characters appear only as shadows against walls, but they still interact with the world as though they are as "real."


The game begins in the bedroom of Didi, a young girl who has Dawn as an imaginary friend. Didi's mother, Kat, enters the room and tells Didi not to sneak out of the house again. Didi asks if her father will return to them. Kat answers that she doesn't know and leaves.

Once Kat leaves, Didi, with Dawn's assistance, sneaks out of the house to a cabaret, the Ghost Note, where her mother is working. After Kat's musical number, Didi eavesdrops on a conversation between her mother and father, Johnny. In this conversation, Didi figures out that her father was kicked out by her mother. Johnny asks Kat to visit him at the Excelsior, the hotel where he is staying, telling her that he has some big plans to improve their lives.

Didi tails her father to a bar, where he is meeting with Vincenzo, a famous illusionist. Vincenzo is to be the main attraction in a circus that Johnny is organizing. Johnny wants a recording of Vincenzo's act to show to his investors. However, Vincenzo refuses, as he doesn't believe that Johnny has the means to pay him. Dawn, at the urging of Didi, sneaks into the apartment of Vincenzo's agent and steals the tape.

Didi delivers the tape to her father at the cinema, where she discovers that her father's investors are greedy, evil, and willing to do whatever it takes to make money. They don't believe Vincenzo is on board with the circus, and they beat Johnny until Dawn plays the tape from the theater's projector. Afterwards, Didi follows her father to the Excelsior, where he and Kat fall into another argument. During the argument, Kat reveals that Vincenzo is Didi's real father. Didi's interferes in the argument, and Johnny and Kat make up and Johnny goes home with them.

Some time passes, after which Johnny's circus has arrived in town. Didi wants to meet Vincenzo, so she and Dawn sneak out of their room again. They go to the circus, where they learn most of the attractions are in disrepair. Dawn and Didi repair the attractions and then travel to Vincenzo's workshop. In the workshop, Vincenzo tells Didi that he doesn't want her.

Didi returns to the circus as the show starts. The lights on the stage break, and Dawn and Didi point the lights from a nearby lighthouse at the stage to keep the show going. However, as Dawn makes her way through the lighthouse, the player learns that Dawn was Vincenzo's assistant in the past and, due to a botched disappearing act, was transported into another universe; one sparsely connected to our world where people there can manipulate our surroundings with our shadows, as Dawn does. During Vincenzo's portion of the show, he speaks of alternate universes, then appears to pull objects out of said universes. After the show, Didi tells her father about fixing all of the broken parts, and Johnny returns to his family permanently. As Vincenzo says goodbye to Didi, he phases into Dawn's world. He no longer appears as shadow but as a 3D figure and thanks Dawn for looking after Didi.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 62.86%
Metacritic 62/100 (PC)[3]
59/100 (PS4)[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 5/10
IGN 7.5/10

Contrast received mixed reviews upon its release. On Metacritic, the Xbox version of the game has a score of 65/100,[5] the PC computer version a 62/100,[6] and the PlayStation 4 version a 59/100.[7] On GameRankings, the game has a rating of 62.86%. Dan Stapleton of IGN gave the game a 7.5, praising the gameplay and the puzzles. He said, "Contrast is a game full of heart, beauty, and at least a few excellent puzzles."[8] Carolyn Petit of GameSpot gave the game a score of 5.0, complimenting the atmosphere of the game but criticizing the gameplay and the puzzles.[9] VentureBeat's McKinley Noble gave Contrast a 55 out of 100 score, stating that while he liked the overall concept, it suffered from overly "glitchy" gameplay and "lifeless" environments.[10]


  1. ^ O'Connor, Alice (May 24, 2013). "Contrast casts shadows on vaudevillian Paris". Shack News. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ Steimer, Kristine (October 31, 2013). "PlayStation Plus: November Preview". Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Contrast for PC Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Contrast for PS4 Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Contrast for Xbox 360 Reviews". 
  6. ^ "Contrast for PC Reviews". 
  7. ^ "Contrast for Playstation 4 Reviews". 
  8. ^ Stapleton, Dan. "Contrast Review". IGN Middle East. 
  9. ^ Petit, Carolyn. "Contrast Review". 
  10. ^ Noble, McKinley. "Contrast Review". 

External links[edit]