Recently, my game time has been at a bit of a premium – what with starting a new job and attempting various home improvements, and what time I have had to play I’ve been tending to a dwarf army in The Hobbit or stabbing the shit out of a plethora of Pirates in Far Cry 3 (as reviewed by our own SK1LL4XED). Of course, to write about the same two games week on week I realise must be less than riveting for you beautiful people, so I thought I would sniff out a tasty truffle to sprinkle over your desired mobile device and this is the plat du jour I am serving up.
Contre Jour HD is a lovely little morsel, which finds you taking on the role of a monocular creature known as Petit. The game itself is ultimately a standard puzzler, requiring you to overcome various obstacles to move this little tinker from A to B, all the while trying to collect all the floaty orbs on the level to get the best score possible. I know it sounds like another run of the mill game within its genre but what sets it aside and makes it shine amongst the others, is the care put into the way it looks, sounds and feels.
Polished like fine tableware this game naturally looks great on a high definition display and I would say if you have a high spec’ phone or tablet, then I would strongly recommend you give this a peek. Don’t worry if you phone’s resolution doesn’t cut the HD mustard because Contre Jour is tasty enough to add some syrup to any device. Making my food analogies utterly irrelevant the title of this game translated from French means ‘against daylight’ - it refers to a photographic technique where the camera points directly toward the light source creating a silhouette of the subject. This is very much the style adopted throughout the various game worlds and for me is really effective at making this game stand out amongst its peers.
The music of Contre Jour is as french as its name (which lets face it is really quite french) and is joyful and childlike to the ear, sounding very much like something you might hear in an off beat romantic french film (not the kind with boobs in). As you roll through each stage the music evolves along with the environments you and Petit explore, the nuances of the soundtrack adjusting to each new world but maintaining the same melodic undercurrent. I love it when games ask you to wear headphones as it usually means you are in for a treat and Contre Jour certainly serves up an auditory feast.
When I talk about the feel of the game I usually mean the game mechanics which are admittedly spot on, but then again for any game to be considered good that’s a requisite rather than a plus It ultimately takes the time honoured approach of introducing new game mechanics in an unobtrusive manner as games have done since the days of Mario. But that’s not what I am talking about here, I am talking about how the game actually -physically- feels, the way you have to manipulate the landscape to move Petit genuinely feels, at least to my brain, that I am squashing warm malleable play-doh around in my fingers and thumbs and in my mind the tentacles used to grab our spherical hero stretch like a weird hybrid of a rubber band and Haribo jelly snakes. The Venus fly trap-like obstacle on one level on the first world, when triggered, looks kind of slimy with its tendrils and actually conjures a sticky feeling in my mind (that sounds pretty gross now I read it back).
So whilst I wait for the bill, I will just say that whilst you are moving along the line at the all-you-can-eat buffet of mobile puzzle games, please stop and take a massive dollop of this five star haute-cuisine, it will leave your belly full. Oh and tip the waiter.
-The Quim Ninja