I didn’t have high hopes for CONTRAST going into the game. I didn’t particularly think it looked like a fantastic adventure that must be bought. CONTRAST ended up being a good deal more fun and far more interesting than I thought it was going to be. This is a game that is full of surprises and knows that very well.
CONTRAST is the story of a young girl, Didi, in a messed up family. Her deadbeat father is looking for his next big idea to get him in good with his estranged wife who is a cabaret singer. All the while Didi is stuck at home all alone. All alone aside from you, Dawn, that is. You cannot be seen by anyone other than Didi, and with your help, she gets out of the house to try helping her father on his next job.
The big hook in CONTRAST is that Dawn can come through the environment in either a regular fashion or by becoming a shadow on walls. Through this you can get to hard to reach areas as a shadow before reverting to normal and moving on. It leads to some fairly clever puzzles but they never really reach their potential. There were a few standout examples in the game but more often than not I did not feel particularly clever for completing them. On top of that, frequent glitches make what should be a fun experience boring and even frustrating at times.
Becoming a shadow is a fun mechanic that is made all the better by the interesting visual style. Harsh blacks and vivid reds really pop in the environment and seeing scenes play out in shadows while you jump across the scene is great. The character models are nice but there are very few of them. The only characters you will actually see in the game is Dawn, Didi, and a magician. The others are all shadows. It is interesting but a bit disappointing when you get to parts where there should be a crowd and there is no one aside from you and Didi.
The soundtrack in CONTRAST is fine. There aren’t many tracks that particularly stand out after the game is over but the music does fit the 50’s theme well. A song from Didi’s mom early in the game was a highlight for sure. That was a track I definitely wouldn’t mind having on my iPod in the future but it is also the only one in the game like it.
Overall CONTRAST is a fairly good launch download for the PS4 but just doesn’t live up to many of the major downloads being released on the PS3. I understand Sony needed some downloadable games to showcase for the PS4 launch, but CONTRAST simply wasn’t ready. The glitches that happen fairly frequently clash with the good concept enough to bring the experience down but the story, overall strong visuals,and soundtrack keep it afloat enough to be worthwhile. CONTRAST is definitely worth your time but only if you’re going to be getting it through Playstation Plus as a free download.
Final Score: 7 out of 10