Monday, 27 January 2014

Contrast PS4 Review

Contrast is a hybrid 2D/3D platformer currently available for free on PS Plus. You play as a child's imanginary friend during 1920s Paris and, with the ability to live in the shadows, you have to help her Dad, who is involved with some mobsters, and her showgirl mum, patch their marriage together. 

The hook of the game is that you can merge with the shadows and play a 2D platforming game among them. You have to combine 2D and 3D platforming to solve light and shadow based puzzles to accomplish your goals. This is why the 1920s setting of Paris is perfect as the whole city is bathed in lights. The whole game, graphically speaking, is striking. The mix of light and dark, the normal world and the shadows, is something truly spectacular and the variety of scenery, from hotel rooms to puppet shows, is spectacular. The city feels real and Didi is incredibly relatable as the child. The adult characters are a bit more cliche but somehow this only makes the world seem more believable. 

Presentation wise, this game is jaw dropping.

Gameplay wise?

Meh.

There are some truly inspired moments of shadow platforming, like running along the shadows of Didi's parents, or playing the part of a Princess in a puppet show. But about an hour or two into the game the puzzles start to rely too heavily on cliches like placing boxes on buttons. 

The creative moments are fantastic and really bring a smile to your face but the cliche moments are just frustrating and really break up the experience. You can't help but think the game would have been better off being shorter and having the fat trimmed. 

Really I'm unsure on whether to recommend this game or not. Certainly if you have PS Plus it's worth seeing the creative parts but I wouldn't actually spend money on it. Also some reviews mention glitches, I personally haven't experienced any but it's worth considering as they are said to be quite bad. 

It's a shame, Contrast could have been an incredibly inventive platformer but instead it's a genetic platformer with a handful of amazing moments that is really hard to justify spending money on. 

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