Contrast Xbox 360 Review
Welcome to Contrast, a game where light and shadows serve as your means to fix issues with a dysfunctional family. This puzzle platformer acts a traditional puzzle game but with a few twists using light and shadow as a means to solve the games puzzles while telling a simple narrative at the same time. Does Contrast accomplish its goals and meet its expectations? Let’s find out.
I think contrast accomplished its concept of making a hybrid puzzle platformer while telling a story from the perspective of an observer that only exists in light and shade. It’s a different concept that hasn’t been tackled too much in games. In this case its passable and certainly not executed flawlessly. It’s still refreshing to play a puzzle platformer with a narrative to it.
The gameplay of Contrast feels simple because of its controls. It plays like a puzzle platformer where players have to utilize the ability to swap between running in the shadows and the physical world. It’s an interesting game mechanic solving puzzles this way. You get new abilities as you progress throughout the game. They’re simple upgrades like being able to dash while in the shadows and break little barriers. Overall I wasn’t really impressed by the abilities. During the game there are some points where you have to collect white orbs called luminaries to power up certain objects to progress forward in the game. What I was impressed with was the puzzles which weren’t too difficult but still were fun to solve and required some thought. Also its worth mentioning that the game has its fair share of bugs and glitches such as getting stuck in surfaces after exiting the shadows, getting stuck while dropping an object, and some very rare frame drops. The game is short, clocking in at about an hour and a half. Contrast is a quick game to play during a free afternoon.
The visuals have a unique style that works well with the games vaudevillian atmosphere. It makes the story feel a little more quirky as it is told through silhouettes. Not much can be said about the graphics considering the game ran perfectly fine except with some graphical issues such as texture pop ins and frame drops here and there but nothing really too significant. After all I was playing on an aging system so those “issues” were no surprise. The graphics are unique and make the game feel like its own entity.
Contrast is a story about Didi, a girl growing up in 1920s America and Dawn, a person that only Didi can see. Didi shows a lot of compassion for her older companion as she relies on her to fix the broken pieces of her family. Dawn is a person that only exists in light and shadow which players can swap between at will. Dawn doesn’t speak at all and acts merely as an observer while she’s working with Didi to fix her family’s problems. The plot is peculiar in some instances where classic cabaret music is played to immerse the player in the environment even when you see empty chairs and silhouettes. I can’t say too much about the story because it’s a story that players should enjoy for themselves. I personally think Contrast delivered a decent story as it makes its point and doesn’t try to stray away from what it actually is. It’s a story that doesn’t overstay its welcome; like a classic children’s story.
Overall give Contrast a try; it’s a fun game with a simple narrative that’s easy to follow with some very nice puzzling gameplay to boast with it. Even though its short and some glitches may cause some slight annoyances; it’s still worth it in my opinion. It may have some issues but Compulsion Games had a great idea. In the end it just wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. It looks like extra time could have improved the platforming controls and fixed the bugs and camera issues Contrast suffers from. For a game using light and dark with two female leads this is one to check out and explore if you’re looking for a new game to play.