Review: Contrast (2013)

The following is a review of Contrast, released in 2013, for the PlayStation 4.


Since Watch Dogs was delayed, I've been thinking about what game would be my first PlayStation 4 experience. Between Contrast, Flower, and Resogun, I ultimately decided upon Contrast, since while I had played flOw first on my PlayStation 3, I had already played (and enjoyed) Flower on the PS3, and wanted something slightly different.

Contrast is free for PlayStation Plus subscribers, of which I am one of. So my review might have a slight bias since I paid nothing for the game, which would otherwise cost $14.99.

I beat the game and unlocked all trophies within 4 hours of play. But despite that, this game was a worthwhile experience.

The game is primarily a platformer that plays in both two and three dimensions. You normally walk around in a three dimensional world, but spend a good portion of the puzzles in light and shadow.

While a few of the puzzles were a little frustrating for a moment or two, they were generally quite simple and obvious. The controls are relatively tight, although I did find that switching into the plane, which is done by the R2 button, seemed a little ... off. Perhaps there was a bit of delay in the command registering, I wasn't close enough to the wall, or I just need to get used to the controller. Either way, the minor frustration this caused didn't take away too much from the experience.

I also found myself stuck in objects, normally while shifting, that required two restarts from the last save. Again, annoying, but nothing horrible, and it only required a minute to get back to where I was in both places (in part due to the ease of the puzzles once you've figured them out).

I haven't mentioned the story yet, but it's one of the things that I found most charming about the game. The medium used to tell the story is ... rather interesting, and the ending, while a bit ambiguous, seems fitting.

Ultimately, while I haven't played Resogun or Flower on the PS4 yet, I'm glad this was my first experience with my PlayStation 4, and that this was free for PlayStation Plus members, so I would experience it right away.

At the game's length, most people may want to wait until it drops to $9.99 to pick it up, and I'll admit I would have fallen under that camp.

I'll knock it a star for the length and easy puzzles, but ultimately the purpose of the game seems to be more to tell a story in a unique way, which it does well. 4 of 5 stars.