Contrast Review

Wonderful in theory yet terribly flawed in practice, Contrast's waste of potential is as irritating as its many bugs. Set in 30s Paris that's part Bioshock Infinite and part Dishonored's Outsider world, the backdrop has a hazy, dream-like quality that perfectly complements its main mechanic. As Dawn, you'll accompany Didi, a young girl keen to see her parents reunited against the odds of parental bickering, debt-collectors, and issues of paternity. Oh, and Didi spends most of her time talking to you, her imaginary friend, and shadows that represent everyone else in the world.

These shadows are Contrast's hook. Dawn can shift in and out of shadow form, as long as there's a light source directly projecting onto a surface. It leads to some engaging puzzles, with players having to adjust lighting (say, a projector) to cast bigger or smaller shadows on the backdrop. Then, Dawn has to change form and navigate the solution you've created. Highlights include manipulating standees of classic film characters in a cinema to cross a gap, or rotating an oversized orrery to cast a certain path.

When it works, it's superb, feeding into the world and narrative perfectly. The problem is that Contrast rarely works as intended. Movement is woolly, almost digital: Dawn either walks, or runs in an unruly burst of pace that ruins many a best-laid plan. The framerate is appalling, juddering to a near standstill both inside and out. Contrast's art direction is nice, but there's nothing here technically that excuses this level of performance. The camera, too, is abysmal: not exactly locked to the player, it needs to be wrestled with at all times.

More serious are the numerous bugs: players are often forced out of shadow form for no reason, making the platforming and puzzle-solving a chore, and Dawn frequently gets stuck on boxes, in walls, almost anything. Infuriating, and so common as to be inexcusable. As is the fact that there's only really one 'correct' solution to the puzzles, so much so that the game lessens skills or flat out removes collision so you can't outsmart it. A huge shame.

Version Tested: PS4. Played for 4 hours.

4 / 10

  • Engaging world and puzzles.
  • Intriguing narrative will make you want to see it out.
  • Overly-prescribed gameplay.
  • Terrible bugs.

Click above for enlarged Contrast Screenshots


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User Comments

kittykatswell's Avatar

kittykatswell@ DaisyJPaige

I can report you for this type of post. Knock it off.
Posted 04:22 on 12 February 2014
Jesus_Phish's Avatar


I started it and completed it on Friday night after maybe 3 hours. It's alright. I'm glad it was free on PS+ though because I wouldn't have liked to have payed for it
Posted 23:08 on 15 December 2013
anialator136's Avatar


played about half an hour and didnt feel satisfied by it. The idea of it seemed good but the actual game was annoying and off putting
Posted 22:30 on 15 December 2013
DaisyJPaige's Avatar


my neighbor's sister makes $65/hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for 5 months but last month her payment was $16641 just working on the computer for a few hours. check out this site>>>>>> WWW.JOBS83.COM
Posted 20:09 on 07 December 2013
Guybrushinator's Avatar


''8.5/10 better then dead rising 3 ''
Posted 11:52 on 07 December 2013
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


I played it for an hour but found it way too twitchy and a bit unwilling, so I uninstalled it. I think the idea was greater than its execution from the small portion I played.
Posted 13:18 on 06 December 2013
dav2612's Avatar


I completed this last night and Dawn getting stuck is the biggest issue and happens more often as the game progresses. Enjoyed the game at the start but was somewhat glad to see it finish by the end.
Posted 12:11 on 06 December 2013
Firehair12000's Avatar


I'm surprised about the performance being bad on PS4, it was fine on PC.
Posted 12:05 on 06 December 2013

Game Stats

Out of 10
  • Engaging world and puzzles.
  • Intriguing narrative will make you want to see it out.
  • Overly-prescribed gameplay.
  • Terrible bugs.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/11/2013
Platforms: PS4 , Xbox One , Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Compulsion Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Platformer
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 3,232 2106
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