Contrast is an action game with platforming elements which focuses on light and shadow. It is set in a noir world based on the 1920s and the protagonist is Didi, a girl of nine years. She is the daughter of Jazz singer Kat Knight and has to deal with her parent's separation. The player takes the role of her imaginary friend Dawn who aids Didi on her way.
Her shadow acrobat ability is the central gameplay gimmick: Dawn can zoom in on lit surfaces. Then the game perspective switches from the standard behind-the-character camera to a flat view from the side and all shadows on the surface become platforms. All puzzles evolve around creating these shadows, e.g. moving a cart towards a wall makes the shadow bigger and allows to reach a higher point in the scenery. Because all characters except the two protagonists are only shown as shadows, those also serve as useful platforms.