Over the past few weeks, their has been many games that have ended up delaying there games until next year, one in particular is Driveclub, the PS4s challenge to the Xbox Ones Forza 5. Now due to this delay, Sony has had to make changes to the first list of Instant games coming to the PS4, this change was to a game that honestly was quite unknown to many , that game is called Contrast. A game that takes the adventure/ puzzle genre into what seems like a new dimension. Now Contrast is not just coming out on the Playstation 4, it is also out on Xbox 360 and Steam today, and will be out on PS3 on November the 20th. So this review will be based on the Steam version of Contrast, yet honestly I don’t expect the game to be different between the 4 platforms. So is this game worthy of being part of what has attracted many to use Playstation plus this past year, or should it fade into the shadows?
The story begins in the early 1920s in a little girls bedroom. The little girl is Didi, an independent, spirited little girl who loves adventure. She lives with her mother, Kat. Who has been working hard for months to earn her spot as the headline act at the most popular venue in town: the Ghost Note Cabaret. Her father, Johnny, a gentleman that has big ideas that seem to always fail, is back in town, trying to promote another one of his big ideas – a circus that is as entertaining as it is ambitious. But to do this, Johnny needs the help of the Great Vincenzo, the famous magician, to headline the show and draw some big crowds. Without Vincenzo’s help, Johnny could find himself in big trouble with some unsavory people.
You play as Didi’s imaginary friend, Dawn, who helps Didi in her adventures around the town at night, using her ability to move between the 3rd dimension and the shadow realm, to reach certain areas using the shadows cast by objects in the area around her. The game gives us puzzles that have us moving objects or light sources to create new paths, or even to take objects with us into the shadow realm to move it to a certain areas to help us proceed further into the game.
Most of these puzzles seem quite straight forward and many seem to ask you to do the same thing just in a different environment, but then when you have a game that is based on one mechanic, it would be quite difficult to create a unique challenges every time. The game does though use the ability to walk in the shadow realm quite well, with one of my favorite parts of the game having us playing the part of a princess in a shadow performance.
Also another feature that has made this game beautiful, is the way it has told its story, apart from the environment, that takes us to what seems like the slums of a 1920s American city, and Dawn and Didi, all we see of everyone else is their shadow. This is very creative and does keep me in particularly fascinated in the story throughout the entire game. Either this was a way to keep the work to a minimum, to let them focus on what is important in the game, or just a way to try to separate themselves from other indie titles that are out there. It is nice to see a developer take a different approach to how to tell a story of the game.
Unfortunately there is one point in the game that does let it down, that is how short the game is, it only took 4 hours for me to 100% the achievements and finish the story. It would have been better to either make certain objects in the game more challenging to find or even have a reason to collect all the Luminaries that are in the game, Luminaries are balls of light that can be found throughout the game, these are used in the story to activate light sources that let you progress further into the game, but only 3 or 4 is really needed. Now a game shouldn’t rely heavily on achievements, but when you do have something like the Luminaries in a game, it would be a good idea to place something there to award the player to encourage them to collect them all.
The game is beautiful, the mechanics are unique, the story does capture the player’s imagination, but like I said it would be better if there was more. If you are getting a Playstation 4, and, more than likely, getting Playstation plus, then I would say do download this game, Sony chose wisely with putting this game in place of Driveclub. The game is over £10 on steam and though it is short, is worth playing. So if you do have the money spare, buy it. Though I am hoping it will be part of a certain popular winter sale. If the game was longer it would be around 8 to 9 out of 10 but because it is so short…