Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Defunct Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Although short, Defunct is a charming new platformer with a likable hero and intriguing mechanics. The world is both fun to traverse and visually stimulating. Best of all, it's actually fun. That's more than I can say about Sonic the Hedgehog's recent outings. Rating: 71%
Defunct Defunct Defunct Defunct
  • Review Score:

  • B
For many, Sonic the Hedgehog has always been about little more than running as fast as possible. Even before they were posting speedruns to YouTube, gamers were seeing how quickly they could race through the stages and beat the evil Dr. Robotnik. But those who pumped on the brakes and explored each area were rewarded with expertly-crafted level designs filled with diverging paths and secret areas. It was only by slowing down that you truly discovered what made Sonic great.

The same can be said for Defunct, the speedy new action game from a small team out of Sweden called Freshly Squeezed. This is a game that seemingly pushes the player to rush through the experience as quickly as possible, when they should be slowing down to explore the rich world that has been constructed. It's a large, open world filled with hidden paths and secret areas.

You play a worker robot who zips around using his powerful wheel. One day, our hero accidentally gets dropped down the garbage duct and falls to the planet below. It's his job to race through this foreign landscape and make his way back to the ship, all while solving a few puzzles and navigating tricky platforms. It's a brief, but action-packed journey that feels like a 3D Sonic game done right.

While he's largely defenseless, our robot hero does know a thing or two about picking up speed. He's able to zip down the hilly fields using his gravitation engines, giving him a chance to catch major air and discover hard-to-reach areas. He can also use his abilities to cling to the walls and ceiling, which makes traversing this post-human Earth a little easier.

At first glance, Defunct plays out like a one-person racing game set in the middle of nowhere. The game is constantly pushing us forward, thanks to the sloped environments and speed orbs scattered throughout the path. There aren't enemies to contend with and the platforming sections are light, so you can't help but barrel forward hoping to eventually meet up with your ship.

Defunct (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It's only after I completed the game that I realized how much I missed along the way. Not just the different paths I could have taken, but also all the collectables I didn't see. While a few are out in the open, many will require players to use their mastery of the controls to snag each item. As exhilarating as the fast-paced racing is, I had more fun poking around this post-apocalyptic world looking for hidden areas.

When not trying to find every last object, the developers hope you'll be into the mechanics enough to take on the various time trials. This gives us a chance to test our racing skills against the rest of the leaderboard, both on the main track and in secluded areas built for competition. This is a cool idea, but I wish they would have done more with it. These time trials only scratch the surface of the cool race types that could be thrown in to Defunct, especially given our hero's gravitation engine.

As has been demonstrated countless times by recent Sonic the Hedgehog games, it's difficult to marry that kind of speed with traditional 3D platforming. Defunct runs that tightrope better than most, giving the player complete control no matter how fast things get. Out little robot can even perform tricks along the way. Sega could learn a thing or two from Freshly Squeezed.

Defunct (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

But as delightful as this game is, I can't help but wish there was more to it. It's not just the lack in race variety, but also the types of puzzles. I wish the developers did more with the branching paths and platforming sections. I was surprised when the game abruptly wrapped up, a little disappointed by the lack of things to do. And even after searching for all the hidden items, I still wished the game would have been a little more ambitious.

But even if the adventure is slight, I couldn't help but enjoy the speedy gameplay and endearing character. This future vision of Earth is both exciting to traverse and visually stimulating. It's also fun, which is more than I can say about other recent stabs at fast-paced platformers. It's far from perfect, but I definitely want to see more Defunct.
comments powered by Disqus