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.