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Five Shadowy Facts You Need to Know About Contrast and Its Protagonist Dawn

We cast some light on the dimension-jumping heroine of Contrast, the latest game to appear on NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV.

Published onOctober 15, 2015


Contrast, new on NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, is a strange and atmospheric adventure set in 1920s Paris. Powered by the Unreal Engine, it casts you as Dawn and tasks you with helping young Didi get her family back together, with plenty of twists and magic along the way.

There’s more to Dawn than meets the eye, though; here’s our guide to what’s so special about her in Contrast, which is available now on Google Play for $14.99.

An imaginary friend

Your first hint that Dawn isn’t a normal person comes at the beginning of the game, when Didi’s mother comes into her attic bedroom. You might expect her to be taken aback at this strange woman hanging out in her daughter’s room, but no; she’s completely oblivious to Dawn’s presence, and believes Dawn to be Didi’s imaginary friend. It turns out that Didi is the only person who can see her; what’s going on there, then? Maybe she really is just a figment of Didi’s imagination, or perhaps the truth is a whole lot stranger.


Where is everybody?

Just as strange is the fact that Didi is the only person that Dawn is capable of seeing. She might seem to be moving around in a largely empty world, but as quickly becomes apparent, there are people there; it’s just that Dawn can’t see them. She can, however, hear their voices and see their shadows, and it’s these shadows that make up a key part of the Contrast experience.


Into the shadows

Dawn’s most important ability is that she’s not tethered to this boring old three-dimensional world. Given the right circumstances she can shift into a 2D plane and become her own shadow, which might not seem like a particularly useful power, but it’s an essential skill in Contrast. In her two-dimensional shadow world, shadows act like solid objects; Dawn can climb over them and run along them, enabling her to get to places that she wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. The 2D plane’s also a handy way to get through glass doors and windows; as her shadow self, Dawn can simply walk straight through them.


Build your own platforms

Another feature of Dawn’s 2D abilities is that she can create her own pathways in the 2D world by manipulating shadows to her advantage. There are a few areas in Contrast where you’ll have to move shadows around; either by moving a light source to change the shadows cast by static objects, or by moving objects around in front of a fixed light source, you can create vast shadow walkways that can turn impassable chasms into a straightforward stroll. Dawn can also pick up objects in the 3D world and carry them with her into the 2D plane, either to use as makeshift 2D platforms or to move them to places that she wouldn’t be able to carry them to if she was stuck in 3D.


Cutting a dash

Being able to switch between 2D and 3D isn’t Dawn’s only ability; she also has a special dash move that comes in handy at times. In the 3D world she can use it to get around quickly, and also to extend her jumps, even in different directions. Not only that, she can also use it to smash through breakable barriers and access new areas. She can dash to extend her jumps in 2D, too, but more useful is the ability to dash through thin shadows that would otherwise be impassable.


The SHIELD version of Contrast also retains the full PC experience of the game including high-definition textures, advanced lighting, effects, and filtering. Multi-sampled anti-aliasing also provides impressively detailed high-fidelity imagery.

Contrast is now available to download on NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV.


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