Contrast review

The concept of the game seems simple – your character, Dawn, shifts in and out of shadows to enable her to cross gaps and reach ledges that would otherwise be out of reach. Initially the puzzles are simple, but by the end of the game you will be shifting in and out of shadows with objects, warping through seemingly-solid shadows and shifting in and out of shadows with precise timing. While the puzzles are never too difficult (if anything they can be a bit too simple), a lack of precision is often rewarded with your character getting stuck in mid-air with her arms outstretched, a bit like those ballerinas that used to spin in musical jewellery boxes. While a dash can often free Dawn, it’s still frustrating. There are also a fair few invisible walls, the most irritating barriers that curtail exploration.

Although puzzles play an important part in the game, the story is what keeps the player interested. The game will only last for four to five hours and may feel too short for its current price tag. However, the story is long enough to be told well, but not too long so that it starts to drag. The only downfall is that a lot of the finer details are told within the collectibles that are dotted throughout the three Acts. Without those collectibles, players may not quite connect all of the dots at the end of the game and this is a shame, because there is a deeper plot that is begging to be understood.

There is another type of collectible too: luminaries. While the ‘collectibles’ add to the storyline, the luminaries seem to do very little. Occasionally there will be a machine that needs to be powered with luminaries but, more often than not, you will end up with far more luminaries than you’ll ever need. You’re left wondering if the developer intended for them to be used more in puzzles that may have been removed later into the game’s development cycle. Otherwise, there’s absolutely no need for them to be there.

In a 1920’s vaudeville film-noir dreamscape where magic is king, a little girl Didi is in trouble. Her dad has disappeared and her mum is struggling to make ends meet, but she has an imaginary friend to help her through: Dawn. Dawn is a woman with a special ability – she can become one with the shadows. By shifting in and out of a shadow state, Dawn can help Didi get into places where she shouldn’t be. By helping Didi to progress through the town and solve other people’s problems, will Dawn be able to help Didi save her family?

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I'm an avid gamer across many platforms, and I love to write about them. I'll try most games once, but I draw the line at fighters and racing sims.

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