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Contrast: Act One Walkthrough

Quick Links

  • How To Reach The Ghost Note Cabaret
  • Inside The Ghost Note
  • Le Pont Jazz Bar
  • Cinema Sign
  • Inside The Cinema
  • Excelsior Hotel

The first Act of Contrast is called Invisible Friend. It introduces the game's unique mechanics and establishes the central characters. Like the rest of the game, it's full of bright lights and dark shadows — metaphorical and otherwise.

Contrast can be a tough game to wrap your head around at times, so if you're having trouble starting out, that's understandable. With this spoiler-free guide, you'll have step-by-step solutions to every puzzle so that you can follow the story of Didi and her family without getting stuck in the shadows.

How To Reach The Ghost Note Cabaret

The game begins in Didi's room. If it's your first time playing, walk around the room to get a feeling of the controls. You can interact with objects highlighted by swirling lights. Try it by picking up the Collectible in front of you. Once you have it, turn around and inspect the drawings taped to the wall. This will trigger a cutscene introducing your companion Didi and her mother Kat.

After the conversation, Didi will invite you to follow her out the window. Jump over the window and meet her on the roof outside. When Didi opens the gate to your right, stand next to the wall and press the indicated button. This will cause your character Dawn to shift, becoming a shadow on the wall.

While shifted, you can move along shadows as in a side-scroller. Run to the left, using the shadow cast by the clothesline as your platform. When you can't go any further, press the shadow shift button again to return to three-dimensional space.

Go down the fire escape and interact with the ash cart to begin pushing it. Move the cart fully against the wall in front of you to catch Didi when she jumps down. Follow Didi to the other end of the alley, where she will create a shadow for you to climb.

Shift into the wall and walk up the slope created by the new shadow. About halfway up, the shadow is interrupted by a gap in the wall — Dawn will automatically shift back out of the shadows if she enters an area where no shadows are cast. To cross the gap, jump across it and shift back into the shadows once you're on the other side. If you miss, you'll just land back in the alleyway to try again.

Once you're safely on the balcony across from Didi's room, go inside to find a glowing white object called a Luminary. You'll need a few of these on your journey — touch it to pick it up and continue down the stairs to go outside to the streets. Walk down the streets to reach the Ghost Note, where Kat is scheduled to perform. You can't miss it — not only is there a giant pink sign above the entrance, but a cutscene will trigger as you approach the building.

If you're ever having trouble figuring out if you can make a jump, remember that Dawn's jump height is about as tall as she is. If a platform is above Dawn's head, you'll probably need to adjust its positioning or your own.

Inside The Ghost Note

After meeting up with Didi, interact with the Ghost Note's front door to enter the club. Take a right and activate the fuse box you find there. This will turn on the spotlights for Kat's show.

The first spotlight is immediate to your left. Interact with it and focus its beam as far to the right as it will go to project the shadow of the saxophone player on the wall. Then, go to the other side of the room and interact with the other spotlight. Focus it all the way to the left to project the drummer's shadow. The center spotlight is still not working — climb up the shadow of either the sax player or the drummer to reach the second floor.

The saxophone player is easier to climb, as you don't need to time your jumps at all. The drummer is more challenging since you need to ride his drumstick to reach the top of his head, but he places you closer to a Collectible on the second floor. You can still reach the Collectible by climbing the sax player's shadow, you'll just have to walk further to get it.

On the second floor, directly opposite the stage, you'll find the broken spotlight. It's powered by Luminaries — insert the one you got after leaving the alleyway to turn on the spotlight. Once the spotlight is on, interact with it and focus it upwards until the pianist's shadow is fully visible. This will trigger a cutscene in which Kat performs.

After the song, go through the illuminated door in front of you. Another cutscene will trigger, after which you can go down the stairs and leave with Didi through the back door.

Le Pont Jazz Bar

Meet up with Didi at the end of the alleyway, then cross the street with her after she opens the gate. She'll teach you a new technique, allowing you to dash forward and break wooden structures. Breakable objects are indicated by a caution sign.

Try out your new trick on the fence in front of you. Didi will make her way down the alley, but don't follow her yet — you need to collect some Luminaries that you'll need later.

Go to the right and walk to the end of the street — be careful, as the road falls away into nothingness if you go too far. When you see a glowing phonograph, look to your left for another breakable fence. Smash it and collect the Luminary behind it.

Now, touch the phonograph to project a replay of Didi and Kat's bedtime conversation on the wall. Shift onto the wall and climb onto Didi's knees. When Didi leans her head forward, jump onto it. Wait for Kat to leave, then just before the conversation ends leap across to a balcony where a second Luminary sits.

Return to the alleyway and follow Didi to meet her at the back door of Le Pont Jazz Bar. After she's done talking to you, go inside to trigger a cutscene between Johnny and Vincenzo. Once the pair finish their conversation, interact with the spotlight and move it close to the stage and to the right. This will cause the shadows of the piano and the speaker to create stairs for you to reach the second floor.

There isn't much headroom between the piano's shadow and the windowsill above it — you may need to slightly adjust the positioning of the spotlight to give yourself room to maneuver.

When you're upstairs, go out the door onto the fire escape. Follow the scaffolding until you reach a dead-end, then shift onto the wall using the shadows projected by the bar's window. Cross the gap then shift back out, collecting the Luminary on the far side.

Use the door in front of you to re-enter Le Pont from the other side. Get inside the manager's office and pick up the film reel on the desk. There is also a Collectible and a Luminary within easy reach inside the office. This Luminary is a good alternative if you had trouble getting the one from the bedtime replay above.

Go back outside and jump down from the fire escape to meet up with Didi. Smash the fence nearby if you haven't already and follow Didi up the stairs.

Cinema Sign

Didi will lead you to the right, where a gap into the Void blocks your progress. Talk to her near the large Cinema sign, and she will point out a spotlight that needs Luminaries for power. If you don't have three Luminaries, go back and get the ones listed above.

Insert the Luminaries into the power box one at a time. Once the spotlight turns on, Didi will operate it allowing you to cross the sign via shadows. During this sequence, Didi will follow your movement to keep you illuminated, but it is possible to outrun her and fall.

Halfway across the sign, you will need to jump across a gap, shifting back into the shadows midair so you don't fall. If you make the jump in one try, you'll receive the achievement "Now That's Thinking With Shadows." If you miss the jump, you'll have to try again from the beginning of the challenge, but you'll get the achievement "My God, It's Full of Stars" as consolation.

When you reach the other side, Didi will ask you to find a way for her to cross. You'll find yourself facing wooden supports behind the sign that can be broken by dashing at them. There are three supports to break; be especially careful when smashing the second one, as it is possible to overshoot your dash and fall through a gap on the other side. Once the sign falls, follow Didi to the cinema.

Inside The Cinema

Approach Didi at the doors to the cinema and she'll let you in. Once inside, you'll see staircases leading down on either side of your — these don't go anywhere, so just ignore them and walk straight ahead. After Didi ducks into the screening room, you'll need to move the character cutouts in the lobby so that you can climb their shadows to the second floor.

Move the Dancing Man to the right and close to the wall so that you'll be able to reach his arm from ground level after you shadow shift. Next, keep the Nosferatu in the center, but push him slightly closer so you can jump from the top hat to his claw. Finally, move the Standing Woman to the left so that you can use the top of her head as a final stepping-stone to reach the floor above.

You can technically reach the second floor by jumping from the Nosferatu's shoulder, but moving the Standing Woman into position gives you a safety net.

Once you're on the second floor, enter the screening room — you can't walk through the doors, but you can shift onto the walls next to them, then pass through. Go down to the ground level and a cutscene will trigger between Didi and Johnny.

After Carmine and Salvio arrive, enter the projection booth the same way you passed through the screening room doors. The door is on the opposite side of the booth from where you and Didi are standing. Shift into the wall to enter the booth, then place the film reel in the projector.

If you let the gangsters beat up on Johnny for a little while, you'll unlock the "Punching Bag" achievement.

After Johnny and the gangsters leave, follow Didi out the side door and proceed to the Excelsior Hotel.

Excelsior Hotel

After leaving the cinema, you'll be in front of Triomphe Bistro. Smash the fence at the top of the stairs to get back to the main street, then go back across the cinema sign and take a right. You'll see the Excelsior Hotel ahead of you — go inside to trigger a cutscene.

Afterward, walk across the lobby and interact with the luggage cart. Push the luggage cart into the open elevator on the left to weigh it down. You'll gain the ability to grab onto ledges, which you can use to climb on top of the elevator booth and reach the second floor.

Once you're on the second floor, look to your right for an elevator call button. Press it, then go to the other side of the building where you'll find two cranks. Use the right crank to move the elevator's shadow so that it just covers Dawn. This is low enough for you to jump onto in the shadows but high enough to make the required jump to the left. Then, use the left crank to move the other elevator so it's about midway between the third floor and the other shadow.

Finally, shift onto the wall, then use the elevators' shadows to climb to the third floor. Adjust the positioning of the elevators as needed.

On the third floor, go back to the elevators on the far side of the building. Press the call button to bring them to the third floor, then pull the fire alarm nearby. When the alarm starts ringing, run back the way you came and shift onto the wall. Ride the shadows of the elevators to the top floor as they automatically reset as a response to the fire alarm.

If you fall, don't worry, you can reset the elevators on the second or third floor by pressing the call button. The position of the cranks will even remain the same.

At the top of the elevators, carefully shift out on top of the lamp — you'll automatically collect the Luminary there. Climb onto the ledge to reach the top floor, and go outside by smashing the wooden barricades ahead of you.

Here, walk along the scaffolding until a conversation between Kat and Johnny is projected on the wall. Shift into the shadows and stand on Kat's foot. When Kat lifts her foot, ride it up to the table and stand on her cigarette holder in the ashtray. Wait for Kat to take a drag, then run across her head onto Johnny's arm.

Wait on top of Johnny's hat until he takes it off and puts it down to the left. Move as far as you can to the left and shift out of the shadows.

If you just shift as soon as Johnny puts the hat down, you might miss the balcony and have to restart the sequence.

Lastly, go back inside the building and open the door at the end of the hall to let Didi in and finish Act 1.

Listening to Johnny and Kat's entire conversation before you let Didi in will force you to start the conversation over as it ends badly without your interference. You won't miss important information by letting Didi in as soon as you're able.

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