GSE 2013: “Contrast” Hands-On
At Gamescom last week, Sony unveiled a long list of games to show their support for independent developers and games, showing that they definitely cannot be ignored. One of the surprisingly bright spots at Sony’s PlayStation 4 booth at the GameStop Expo was Contrast, and while it isn’t a PS4-exclusive, it’s looking like quite the game.
Categorizing Contrast is a doozy. It looks like a world that Tim Burton may have drew up in the 1950’s, and the developers at Compulsion Games have worked wonders at creating this dark yet interesting world. At first glance it looks like another third-person platforming adventure game. But with the game’s gimmick of merging with the shadows, it shifts to a 2D perspective. On top of that, all this platforming is done to solve quite a few clever puzzles.
The demo introduces the player to little DiDi and a more mature-looking girl named Dawn. We don’t know whether there’s any sort of family connection, but Dawn looks a lot like DiDi and DiDi really looks up to her, so we’re assuming they’re sisters. Anyway, Dawn is the character blessed with the ability to merge with shadows, and it’s this ability that really makes the game stand out.
As Dawn, we had to do some platforming to escape into the city suburbs collecting shining trinkets called Luminaries, which we later find out are used to activate light in specific areas. An example happens immediately after picking a couple of these luminaries when Dawn and DiDi enter what looks like an improv theater. After fixing the lights in the building and aiming the spotlights at the band (which isn’t even visible) on stage, it caused shadows of their silhouettes to appear on the walls, which Dawn later uses as platforms to get to the top of the building and exit. In the middle of that section, there was an argument going on between the band’s voluptuous vocalist. None of us at SmashPad know what’s it about and none of the people at the Sony booth really knew either, but it’s worth mentioning and it’s bound to be important in the real game anyway.
The last puzzle involved Dawn fixing up a carousel so that the shadow images of the horses and unicorns can circle the nearby walls, allowing Dawn to nimbly scale these and get to the next area–where the demo abruptly ended.
While the game’s artistic style is definitely worth commending, nothing about the PS4 version of the game was all that impressive visually. We don’t mean that to put the developers or the game down, but it really doesn’t come off as surprising considering the game is also being released digitally on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Whether it’s exclusive or not, it’s really refreshing to be playing a next-gen game that doesn’t involving harming characters.
Contrast is due out later this fall, and you can bet we’ll have a review ready when that happens. For more about this game and others from the GameStop Expo, stay tuned to SmashPad.
|Release Date:||Q4 2013|