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Contrast

She reminds me of Coraline.

Contrast is one of the free games being offered for Playstation 4 buyers and Playstation Network members. Between this and Resogun, the only games I’ve played on my PS4 so far are indie games. Contrast was a very short and not complicated game, so I’m going to go with the short and sweet approach.

The setting, character designs, and music are perfect for the atmosphere. The developers certainly hit the mark there.  Unfortunately everything else misses.

Contrast is a puzzle/platformer game. You control Dawn, the main character’s “imaginary friend.” Didi, as pictured above, is the true main character. The playable character does not speak and is pretty much an instrument for Didi. You’ll be transitioning in and out of the shadows to move barriers for Didi or try fixing her dad’s crappy plans which always seem to backfire. The  goal over the course of the game is to get Didi’s parents back together.

There isn’t much to the game besides figuring out puzzles and watching scenes. Like many story-oriented games, there isn’t much to speak of in terms of item collecting. And there is no battle system, as you never fight or kill anything. Basically you have a small amount of wandering available to you in the streets and on rooftops. You’ll stumble upon some luminieres,  collectable items in the game. At certain points you  must collect some to further progress the story.  There are also pictures and notes spread around which offer some insight as to what is going on behind the scenes.

Everything else Dawn does involves shifting between shadows, or “dimensions” to solve puzzles. And I gotta say, the puzzles weren’t all that complicated because even I could solve them without frustration or using the internet to cheat (nothing like my experience with Legend of Zelda games!) The game won’t take you very long to beat. In fact, the only reason the final act took me more than 15 minutes was because the game glitched out on me. THREE TIMES. Three times I had to restart, and there were no auto-save points so I had to do the entire chapter over again. Glitchy crap seems to be a curse we are stuck with as gamers for the next forever.

There are hints to an over-arching concept behind Didi’s imagination, but the suggestive ending doesn’t quite give a hard enough punch. My one-word feedback for this game is: rushed. The game feels rushed. Meaning it doesn’t live up to its potential. If you’re like me and enjoy playing games with rich settings, music and are story-driven (and free!) download it.

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