If iPhone games were people, Cut the Rope and Contre Jour would be like twin sisters. Except one decided to be the fun party girl, while the other decided to go to art school, then slum around France for a year or two, then came back with beatnik glasses and a dark broody attitude.
Contre Jour is as you may have guessed, a physics game that is in almost every way (mechanics wise) identical to Cut the Rope. Instead of a piece of candy, that has to reach Om Nom, your goal is to get an eyeball to a blue portal. Along the way you have to use the environment in the form of stretchy tentacles (with eyes at the ends cause why not), tentacles that are a set length, sling shots, puffing plants, and just about every other element you have in Cut the Rope, except gone through an insane non-euclidian washer.
You’ve got a large number of levels, that will find you sling shotting your pet eyeball, swinging him from ropes, connecting multiple tentacles and then releasing one or more at the same time, etc. Similarly to Cut the Rope, each level of Contre Jour has 3 collectibles that you can grab for a higher total score. Time also plays a factor (what do you know, just like in Cut the Rope). Did we mention that you have to avoid spike traps that look identical to the ones in Cut the Rope? Cause you do, and they do.
We’re not being completely fair here, there is indeed one main difference between the games, and that is the ability to shape (somewhat) the terrain. This is only useful in the first few levels however, after which Contre Jour effectively says “screw this little bit of originality, back to Cut the rope”, thereby throwing this tiny speck of innovative gameplay to the dogs. Not even that was too original though, as it’s been done in other games like Bumpy Road.
The thing that makes the game worthwhile is the atmosphere. The dark, shadowy world of Contre Jour isn’t original, but it is refreshing for a puzzle game, most of which choose to go with the bright and friendly road. Combined with some absolutely epic piano music, this makes the game much more bearable, and makes the atmosphere work well. The graphics and designs look like what you’d expect if HP Lovecraft decided to develop iPhone games.
Over all, Contre Jour isn’t a “bad” game per se, but it’s nothing to write home about either. In essence it sort of feels like Chillingo just straight up decided it’s going to keep milking Cut the Rope one way or another despite Zeptolab’s metaphorical middle finger (Cut the Rope 2) and just decided to go with Contre Jour.