One of the things that I enjoyed the most about Defunct is its sense of speed. There, that feels good to just get it out there. I love a good racing game, and a good adventure game and Defunct is a pretty solid combination of the two, if only for a short while. As you control your little robot character through the various worlds, you really get cruising and it can be quite a rush as you whip down hills, and fire off ramps. I just wish that the overall experience was a little bit longer.
In Defunct, you play a nameless little robot character who is dumped out of his spaceship and you end up on a future Earth. This Earth has also been populated with robots, similar to his design, feeling a little like Wall-E with a giant single wheel versus some treads. The goal of the game more or less is to get back to your ship, and you race, roll and launch your way through a variety of areas. There’s a bit of a story to the game, but not much. It would have been nice to have a little bit more detail given to the world, or what happened to have it full of robots but the gameplay is basically the core of what you get.
The game controls fairly well actually and has some interesting design ideas. For one, you use gravity to rush yourself down hills and ramps very quickly, but if you continue to use the gravity when going uphill it slows you right down. So you are constantly pressing the gravity button, rolling down a hill, then letting it go, then depressing it as you go down the next hill, and so forth. You need to really get into a groove to get your robot going his fastest, and it becomes somewhat hypnotic as you roll through the areas. Sometimes it feels like a Sonic game as you race around, and sometimes it feels almost like a skiing game. Regardless, the game handles speed well, and traversing the hilly areas is very satisfying. You can also use a magnet-type move to lock onto certain types of materials, so while you are racing you can race up walls and the like. It’s cool when there are spots where you utilize the magnet, but honestly, I wish there were more areas where you could race up and across walls and ceilings. The game did have some framerate issues from time to time, but only on occasion and it didn’t interfere with the experience too much.
I do have to say though, that while I often complain about rumble in games, and games that use too much of it, this is a game where I really noticed the lack of rumble. In an opening scene where your robot is on earth and the giant spaceship is flying overhead, I was waiting for that rumble to come, and then, well nothing. There was also barely any sound to the scene, so an important scene setting up the game was lacking anything to really immerse you in the game and make it seem special. You just see this giant ship go from one side of the screen to the other, silently, and with no rumble. As you’re playing the game as well, I think that different types of rumble would have helped with a bit of the immersion, depending on if you were racing on grass or dirt, and so forth. But once again, you get none of that. It seems like a silly thing to be critical of, and maybe it’s a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone”, but I really think the developers at Freshly Squeezed should have worked at adding it in there.
The game is relatively short as well. You can beat Defunct if you’re cruising through it in about an hour, maybe a little more. There are little collectibles to find and uncover, so stretch that time out if you’re going for those. They mostly unlock little things like stunts your robot does, but it’s not necessary unless you’re a completionist. The game does have time trials though, which do add some replayability to the game. There are a few different types, but they’re basically race from point A to point B, collect some batteries as you race, or go through gates. There’s leaderboards so it’s fun to see how you stack up, and try and figure out how some people get such insane top times. That’s about it though, and if you end up loving the game you can definitely get some extra gaming out of it trying to beat other peoples times.
Overall the game looks just alright. For as much fun as it is, I wish the worlds were a little bit more varied than just rolling hills, a forest, a desert, etc. It just seemed like more could have been explored due to the futuristic setting and Freshly Squeezed just kind of plays it safe. The levels themselves look ok, with decent color palettes and a bit of detail, but it’s got kind of a simple cartoony vibe, but it works given that it’s a game focused on an adorable uni-wheeled robot. The music in the game is also decent, but there was never anything that really stuck out or got stuck in my head.
In the end, Defunct is a short, but sweet, adventure-racing game. If you like games that go fast, and really wish you could have a decent Sonic adventure type game, then check out Defunct. While the game isn’t very long, you do have collectibles and time trials to stretch it out even further. I actually hope there’s a sequel, so the developers can flesh out the world a bit more and give us some different environments. Until then, give Defunct a spin.
A review code for Defunct was provided courtesy of SOEDESCO for the purposes of this review.