Ride the Wall-E!
Defunct is a simple game with a lot on its plate despite first glances. You’re a cute wheelie robot that falls out of its cargo ship. Find your way home! That’s about it. When talking about Defunct with a fellow PoorPlayer, he joked about it sounded like the plot to a Pixar movie, and that’s fairly accurate. Self described as an indie adventure game with focus on flow and speed, it delivers on every aspect.
I’ll get the rough stuff out of the way first. Defunct is really short. It probably took me more time procrastinating writing this review than to play through the game. That’s honestly the only real “flaw” I saw in the game. This wasn’t that much of a let down, though, because Defunct is the type of game you want to get through once and then go back for seconds. Cough cough pun.
Just like any other game with a focus on speed and time, Defunct is broken down into several different areas you can look at as pseudo tracks to memorize and go back to master. Visually, Defunct is gorgeous. My PC isn’t much of a beast but right from the boot Defunct ran smoothly and looked great. There are a lot of different landscapes to zip through over lush green forests, speedy sand deserts, and a bunch of other areas to explore.
Defunct’s main mechanic is something I’ve only used in an iOS game I obsessed over a long time ago called Tiny Wings. In order to get from point A to point B you need to “Gravitize” to get moving. The gravity drive is basically as simple as hold the trigger while aiming downhill. If you’re traveling up a hill it tanks your speed. There are a few other things to get you moving. You can jump/double jump, move slowly with your broken wheel, and magnetize to enable you to stick to walls. Each individual mechanism is revealed to you slowly and it conjured up intimidating thoughts of what would come later. The game never got too challenging, though, and this leads me to the next area of why Defunct is worth your time.
Defunct has the courage to allow the player to play the damn game. I can’t tell you how many games like this bog down the player with hidden walls, linear paths, etc. There aren’t any arrows to follow or signs to force you into anything. It’s refreshing and I never felt like I was held back by much. Ironically, there are sections in the game where you have to either find a key to move forward or hit a couple switches. These stop the game in its tracks but allow you to explore and goof off a bit. If they were a larger portion of the game it would have really pulled me out of the experience. The flow of the game is the most important part and zipping around the levels and floating over hills gave me the same feeling extreme sports games give you.
There were a few moments I got stuck in scenery or fell through landscapes. There are bounce pads in the game that will make you hit the ceiling of the design. The nice thing about any issues this may cause is the handy respawn button. No matter what issues I was having I could just hit Back on my gamepad and be trying again in no time. I was nervous about potential game-breaking moments but that resolved almost any problem I may have had.
Defunct’s length and price may hold some gamers back from giving it a try. That’s valid criticism but the design of what’s here is so much more important than those two specs. The biggest compliment I can give Defunct is that it’s nothing if it isn’t unique. It’s not really a racing game, it’s not really a platformer, it’s not really an adventure game, it’s just a speedy flowing experience that’s worth checking out.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (reviewed) ; Publisher: SOEDESCO Publishing ; Developer: Freshly Squeezed ; Players: 1; Released: January 29, 2016; Genre: Indie, Racing, Adventure ; MSRP: $14.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Defunct provided by the publisher.