Once upon a time, improving game technology was all about the pursuit of photorealism. And yet as our computers and consoles get closer and closer to being able to realize that elusive ideal, it seems more and more developers are keen to branch out into more distinctive, stylized looks rather than continue pursuing the look of the real world. Games are fantasy, after all.
One such title that you may have missed in the E3 rush -- I certainly did! -- is Contrast, a platform puzzle game developed by new Canadian studio Compulsion Games.
Contrast's aesthetic is strongly inspired by vaudeville, film noir and 1920s cabaret. In the game, players take on the role of Dawn, an imaginary friend to Didi, a nine year old girl who hopes to reunite her estranged parents. Dawn is a mysterious figure who has the power to manipulate light and shadow, with this power primarily manifesting itself through her ability to become her own shadow any time it appears on a wall. You can expect numerous head-scratching traversal puzzles as you make use of Dawn's peculiar ability to negotiate the game world and help Didi uncover some of the truths of the adult world.
The game features some rather pretty visuals along with a very pleasant jazz-themed soundtrack, featuring the sultry, sexy voice of Laura Ellis. Ellis is an excellent choice for the game's soundtrack, as her voice is strongly evocative of the era Contrast is trying to capture through its whole aesthetic -- plus it's always nice to hear a bit of quality jazz on a game soundtrack.
According to the developer, Contrast is almost completely finished, and had an understated but well-received appearance at E3. The game will be published by Focus Home Interactive at a currently-indefinite point in the near future, and the team at Compulsion is happy that its partnership with the publisher will help the game -- hopefully, anyway -- reach a wider audience.
Contrast will be available for PC (via Steam), PlayStation 3 (via PSN), PlayStation 4 (when it's out) and Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade). Keep an eye on the latest news about this promising-looking game via the official site.