The Soaring ’20s: Contrast Platforms On The Shadows

By Nathan Grayson on May 24th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Shadows are total freeloaders. Don’t get me wrong: they look nice and all, but they don’t really do much of anything. Mine just tags along behind me, growing and shrinking at will, taunting me with its substantial insubstantial superpowers. But what if your shadow could be your superpower? That’s the premise of Contrast, a platforming adventure set in a “surreal 1920s dreamscape”. Your character, a little girl named Didi’s imaginary friend, can shift between the tangible foreground and a wispy world of shadows. The short version? She can jump off stuff she totally shouldn’t be able to jump off. It all looks nicely stylish, because shadows are also effortlessly cooler-looking than us. The jerks.

I worry that the shadow thing might just turn out to be another gimmick in a genre of one-trick ponies prancing to one-note songs, but Contrast’s premise sounds supremely interesting. Here’s the gist:

“In a world full of performance, magic, intrigue and deception, the player takes on the role of Dawn, the imaginary friend of a little girl, Didi. Every kid’s imaginary friend is special, and Dawn is no exception. She has the power to shift from the reality of the vibrant game stage into the shadowy parallel world. Gamers will be challenged to unravel the drama by leveraging light sources and manipulating real-world objects to affect the shadows placement, depth, height and overall weighting to solve mind-bending puzzles.”

The plot, meanwhile, will apparently focus on myriad mysteries and secrets, with Didi – not Dawn – serving as your lens for all the twists and turns. A child being tossed into the deep end of shady 1920s adult dealings? That could turn out to be an extremely interesting yarn if spun by the right hands. I’m certainly hopeful.

Contrast has already been greenlit on Steam, and it’ll be out late this year. There’s heaps of potential here, so I’m feeling cautiously optimistic despite a creeping onset of platformer fatigue. Now if only I could just befriend my shadow, maybe I could finally reach the peanut butter on the high shelf. Oh, and fend off 1920s gangsters – which are, of course, RPS’ greatest natural rival, as you well know.

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22 Comments »

  1. Ultra Superior says:

    Running on high heels. Classical. This game is going to get much applause.

  2. Dervish says:

    Animation is not great.

  3. CrispinFister says:

    It would be interesting to see what they manage to actually do with the premise that is actually original instead of just being another platformer because they’re easier to make than other games.

    I say it would be because I don’t really care anyway. It takes more than a “retro” theme to interest me, my nostalgia glasses were melted down to make a Robocop hat a long time ago and I swapped that for a can of baked beans.

  4. Koozer says:

    A good one-note song: the Terminator theme. That is all.

  5. Gap Gen says:

    And shadows just have thieves hiding in them, anyway, ready to steal all your gold coins and candlesticks when their gem goes dark.

    • strangeloup says:

      Mostly unrelated anecdote: When playing TF2 on a server where everyone else is pissing about anyway, switching to Spy, equipping the Cloak and Dagger, and sneaking around pretending to be Garret is a big sack of fun. Your objective is to explore as much of the map as possible, and never to be seen.

  6. Darkwings says:

    The title suggested the use of contrast when it’s really using perspective and projection.
    Also, if she can completely turn into her shadow and ignore any physics it’s just another platformer with a fancy atmosphere…

    Some parts look like Perspective ( http://www.seewithperspective.com ) only way less interesting in the use of that particular gimmick.

  7. nimzy says:

    Reminds me of the stories I’ve heard from people about their childhoods. They would look out the window of their moving vehicle during long car trips and imagine an imaginary person running along the landscape.

  8. webwielder says:

    Reminds me of a fun game for the Wii that approximately no one played: Lost in Shadow (I think it may have been called A Shadow’s Tale in the UK).

    http://youtu.be/-ypXcFpa2zE

  9. Rinu says:

    This looks like it has a potential. Thanks for telling; I’ll keep an eye on it.

  10. Coriform says:

    Always good to see another take on the Lost in Shadow design.

  11. Astrosaur says:

    This isn’t a new concept. Shadow Physics and Perspective have already covered this. The dev’s of Shadow Physics gave up because there wasn’t enough there to make a game out of.

  12. cloudnein says:

    They need to fire all their artists. I want to un-see.

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