About the game
Our story begins in the 1920s, in the bedroom of a little girl. Didi lives with her mother, Kat, and is an independent, adventurous kid with an absentee father. She spends a lot of her time daydreaming and adventuring with her one friend in the world, a young woman named Dawn. Dawn visits Didi from time to time, but usually, only when Didi is alone.
In Contrast, you play as Dawn. You have the ability to shift between the 3D world and your shadow in 2D, any time there's a lit wall. It's an adventure/puzzle game, where you have to use your abilities to help Didi progress through her story, and help fix her troubled family.
Contrast is cradled in a smooth, film noir aesthetic, complete with a dark jazz bar, a cabaret, an illusionist and a circus. It's a mashup of the 1920s and 1940s, with just a little bit of magic…
“Venturebeat: It's as if Limbo and Bioshock Infinite had a baby while watching Pan's Labyrinth”
Cast and crew
Contrast was originally conceived by Guillaume, our studio head. He built the Compulsion Games team up to create Contrast, starting in 2009. We were just 7 people when Contrast shipped, although along the way we worked with some great partners at PixelNauts (who created the environment art for the game) and WaveGeneration (sound effects and our fantastic score).
Contrast was published by FOCUS Home Interactive on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. We self-published Contrast on PS4 and Xbox One. We also had some incredible performances from actors and singers in the game, including:
- Teale Bishopric, the voice of Didi
- Laura Ellis, the singing voice of Kat
- Vanessa Matsui, the voice of Kat
- Elias Toufexis, the voice of Johnny
- Bruce Dinsmore, the voices of Vincenzo, Salvio and Carmine
“Life isn't about what you can't do; it's about possibilities”
As you delve into the world of Contrast, you will experience the events surrounding Didi's family through her eyes. The City in which Didi lives, dark as it is, becomes a playground where numerous puzzles, performances and platforming sequences take place.
Dawn, like all imaginary friends, has her own special powers. She can become her shadow, at any lit surface (ie, whenever you have a shadow), giving her the power to shift between the 3D and 2D worlds. When she's in 2D, she walks on shadows; when in 3D, she walks on 3D objects. When you're in 2D or 3D is entirely up to you!
As you roam the different backdrops in Contrast, you must use all your inventiveness to solve puzzles and access locations that may initially appear impossible to reach. The City and its surrounding areas have a number of lights that can be exploited to create your own shadow paths, and you can use objects and elements in the décor to create your own shadow scenes. For example, the shadow of a moving bicycle wheel is cast onto the wall, which becomes a shadow staircase to reach a higher platform. Distort these shadows in any way you like to create a path that can only be accessed in the shadow world!
What is the genre for Contrast?
Contrast is a singleplayer adventure/puzzle game, set in a 1920s/1940s dreamscape, a mash-up of cabaret and noir.
What makes Contrast different?
Contrast uses a mechanic that hasn’t been used before – at any time, you can walk up to a lit wall in 3D, and turn into your shadow. This shifts you into a 2D space, and you can then move over other shadows to reach inaccessible areas. You can also move objects around to change their shadows, which changes your platforming environment.
How exactly does the 2D/3D shadow mechanism work in Contrast?
Basically, if you approach wall surfaces that are lit, you can become your shadow and walk on the shadows of other objects as if their shadows were solid. You can do this to navigate through space in a completely different way.
In Contrast can I go into 2D shadow mode at any place?
You can enter shadows anywhere the world is lit as long as your shadow 'fits' in the lit space, and you can exit back as your 'real' self at any time.
What platforms is Contrast on?
PC (Steam), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. All available digitally.
What is the purchase price for Contrast?
When was Contrast released?
15 November 2013.
Is there any additional content?
Yes – the digital Collector’s Edition is available for $19.99. It contains the game, a digital art book and sound track. The sound track and digital art book are also available separately on iTunes, and the soundtrack alone on other music stores.
How long is Contrast?
3-4 hours, depending on your familiarity with puzzle games.
What is the storyline in Contrast?
You play as Dawn, the imaginary friend of a little girl, Didi. Didi is the child of a single mother, whose father has abandoned the family. You must use your shadow powers to help Didi uncover the mysteries behind her family, and help her get them back together. This all takes place in a 1920s, vaudevillian world full of burlesque and illusion, with the adult characters all being involved in the performing arts in some way or another.
Who is the artist for Contrast’s theme song?
Laura Ellis – a jazz singer based in Los Angeles. We used one of her songs in our trailer, and our fans loved it so much that we asked her to sing a couple of completely new songs created specifically for Contrast.
How many people developed Contrast?
8 people in the studio, but we had with 2 great long term partners (WaveGeneration Audio and PixelNauts for the environment).
How long was Contrast in development?
We started penning designs for it in 2009. The first couple of years, G fleshed out the design, and we were in active development for 2.5 years.
Soundtrack (1 of 2)
The world of Contrast is viewed through the eyes of Dawn, Didi's best friend. Dawn is a young woman of indeterminate age, at once the most visible yet the most unknown character in Contrast. Living in the shadows, she can pass for one of them, moving between the shaded and lit worlds of Contrast. But, which world is reality?
“You should be in the circus! Too bad nobody can see you.”
Breaking on to the scene as the chief protagonist, Didi is an independent and crafty 9 year old. In a world of magic, intrigue and deception, Didi's view on the complex adult world is all about keeping it simple – the adults may not be able to get things done because they're too busy thinking about things, but she knows that life isn't about what you can't do; it's about possibilities.
“I told you I was good at fixing things.”
A solo mother in a world that doesn't do you any favours, Kat is the star of Contrast's cabaret. A complex and beautiful woman, Kat is used to doing things on her own, including taking care of Didi. However, there are always people around that want to take advantage, and sometimes that gets Kat into some bad situations.
“I'm not one of those secretaries that punch out at 5. I'm a rising star!”
A fly by night confidence man, Johnny is a loveable rogue. Moving from town to town, he's always on the lookout for the next big thing, the next score, and the next opportunity. But, there are parts of his past that he can't run away from, and some he's not even sure he wants to. Each time he tries, he gets drawn back into his old ways, sometimes getting himself and the people around him hurt.
“You don't trust me? Look at this suit!”
Vicenzo is a man whose name echoes around the room moments before he enters, a man whose reputation is known by everyone who has a business knowing anything. Some say he cavorts with devils. Others laugh and say it's just tricks of light and shadow. But no matter which view they subscribe to, the audiences always flock to see The Amazing Vicenzo!... and boy, does he know it.
“I'm damned if I'll lend you the time of day.”
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“It’s as if Limbo and Bioshock Infinite had a baby while watching Pan’s Labyrinth.”