It’s fitting that Compulsion Games – the studio responsible for Contrast’s dulcet tones – is housed in an old gramophone factory on Rue le Noir in Montreal. The game, about a young girl trying to make sense of the adult world in which she is thrust into, is as much a jazz album as it is a game, simultaneously in the spotlight of the cabaret and among the shadows in the wings.
You become Dawn, imaginary companion to the precocious Didi. Dawn can shift into the shadows, which allows her to traverse the environment on shadows. As a puzzle platformer, Contrast was clearly inspired by Portal, and as you progress through the game you’ll find yourself having to create and navigate increasingly complex paths using light and shadow.
The story, about a single mother raising a young girl and the absent father who suddenly reappears, has echoes of the film Pan’s Labyrinth. There’s an air of melancholy, even of danger, as Dawn and Didi make their way through the streets of the red light district, moving through the gloom.
Despite its reliance on shadow, Contrast scintillates. If you’re looking for something to play on your flash new PlayStation 4, download this.
Devloper: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Windows, Xbox 360