Contrast has a great atmosphere and unique puzzles, but falls short through the whole game

User Rating: 6 | Contrast (2013) PC

The Good: Inventive shadow puzzles, gorgeous art direction, interesting story

The Bad: Extremely short, puzzles are too easy, lack of overall content, disappointing ending, many bugs and glitches

The idea of using shadows as puzzles is fascinating and Contrast has one of the most unique puzzle elements I have seen since Portal. Arranging objects in a room to make the shadows lay out just right to get to where you need can be very satisfying. Bringing objects into the shadow world and pulling them out is also very fun. The story as well is kind of touching. You play as Dawn who has a mysterious child friend, Didi, whose parents are going through hard times and she wants to bring them back together. Her father is always getting into debt trouble and decides to open a circus using a magician. Everything goes wrong for her father so it's up to her and Dawn to fix it all.

The story itself is pretty interesting but the ending sucks. It honestly just ends and you never find out what this mysterious shadow world is. Her and Dawn are the only people who are in the real world. Her parents talk to her on the walls as shadows. It makes me wonder if Didi has mental issues and is imagining all this? Is Dawn a figment of her imagination? No one else can see her but it's never explained. These mysteries can be frustrating at the end when they never make sense.

The game actually is poorly paced. There's a lot of little cut scenes that break everything up and it gets really annoying. You will walk ten feet, cut scene, walk ten more feet, scene, pull a switch, scene, solve an easy puzzle, scene, and it continues like this. The puzzles are extremely easy and a few were head scratchers for a few minutes towards the end but nothing I couldn't solve after a little thinking. The game is very linear and you only explore a few areas, but explore is the wrong word to use here. The only thing you can do that's extra is find collectibles and find luminaries to be able to start certain puzzles. That is literally all there is to this game.

The game itself can be beaten in about 4 hours. The graphics are really nice, however they are a little dated and there's numerous bugs and glitches. The game would crash, Dawn would get stuck in a T pose during certain jumps, crates would get stuck due to weird physics issues and they all required restarts. That's unacceptable and hopefully will be patched. I honestly can't recommend this game for the asking price, but maybe for a sale it would be worth it. The game isn't bad, it just seriously lacks content and depth and has a disappointing ending. The shadow puzzles are very inventive and fun to do, but there just needs to be more.