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Game Info:

Defunct
Developed By: Freshly Squeezed
Published By: SOEDESCO Publishing
Released: Jan 29, 2016
Available On: PlayStation 4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure, Racing
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone: Users Interact
Number of Players: Single-player
Price: $9.99 (PC); $14.99 (Console)
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Freshly Squeezed for sending us a review code!

“What would happen to the world if we humans were long gone?” some may ask. Over the course of humanity, we’ve accomplished so many significant feats in that span. If humanity ever reaches its demise, will all of our progress be lost in the wind? Sometimes, when movies or games like Defunct come into my life, I tend to think about weird situations like this.

Defunct stars an unnamed uni-wheel robot who, shortly after activating for an unknown cause, falls out of the ship it is stored in. The robot must now traverse a land without humans to get back to the ship. In an interesting sense, the title can both describe the state of the humans, as well as the playable character, as it is a one-of-a-kind machine. It is a rather simple premise, but how you get there is up to your skill level. As the robot is rather old looking, not all of its functions work correctly, and it must utilize gravity and other external sources to gain momentum and speed. The robot has access to a Gravitize engine, which allows it to affect the gravity around itself. Going down a hill will have a greater effect as opposed to going up a hill, as well as accelerating your descent when airborne.

Defunct
Highlights:

Strong Points: Accommodating to players of all skill levels; great sense of speed; simple premise with a surprising amount of depth
Weak Points: Camera can get pretty screwy at times; very short
Moral Warnings: One achievement is called “Aah, H*ll No!”; post-human world, possibly post-apocalyptic

A and D keys will steer left and right respectively. W can be used in a pinch to give yourself a slow, steady, consistent speed to make it uphill. Space bar is to jump and double jump. Left mouse button is to activate your Gravitize engine, and right mouse button to allow you to stick to metal objects. S can be used to brake, as well as reverse in case you come into contact with a dreaded wall or obstacle. Left shift activates your boost, if you have any available, that is. Tricks can also be done with the press of the E key. The controls are rather simplistic, but due to how interacting with the world works, they do take some time to get used to. They are not bad controls, however.

The world of Defunct is a world where humans have long since passed. Even though the graphics are rather standard, and truthfully look like something to come out of the sixth generation of gaming (Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube), the aesthetics and scenery pick up the slack due to the vast areas and active environment. As the robot ventures through the world, it will come across canyons, forests, valleys, other unique biomes, and even other more advanced looking robots. Unlike most large-scaled areas, Defunct isn’t actually filled with empty space for the most part. Freshly Squeezed were very kind to their audience as there are always multiple ways to complete objectives, and alternate pathways to take. They are very accommodating to players of all skill levels. If a player simply wants to take a more casual route with only some moments of speed and absorb the world around them, they can do that. If a player wants to show off their “wicked sick” skills and pretend they are a certain hedgehog without a care in the world, they can go right on ahead.

There will be a point where everything finally starts making sense, and at that exact moment is when you really start to appreciate Defunct. Very few games actively make me want to get good at them; thankfully, Defunct is one of those games. The first time you see that little robot go fast, it’s like a shot of pure endorphins right into your brain, and it feels good—real good. There were sections that I replayed multiple times to find ways to go real fast. Sometimes the strange camera work would get in the way from accomplishing that, like when I would collide with an obstacle or when a fellow robot was way too close. They weren’t too common to come across to ruin my enjoyment. Taking the pathways I previously didn’t and mixing them around does make any repeated situation feel new.

Defunct
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 83%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 7.5/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Ambient music is what will mostly complement the journey back home. A sense of mystery and calm fit the tone that the world is trying to set. There is a rather soft and isolated feel to many of the tracks in my opinion. Most of the music will stay in the background as opposed to the sounds our little robot makes using its various functions to scurry on. When the races or speedy sections occur, the music changes to a more dynamic style, to match the fast-paced movements and actions. The way it all fits is like that one puzzle piece to match that missing space.

Defunct isn’t a violent game as there are no enemies to fight, nor is there an antagonist to best in battle, unless you want to count being slow as an antagonist. I did come across a few things. One of the achievements, specifically the one where you obtain all platinum medals, is called “Aah, H*ll No!” This is only apparent in the PC version as the achievement for the console versions is appropriately named “Aah, Heck No!” The whole post-human world is also something worth pointing out, as it can potentially be post-apocalyptic, but as there is literally no narrative to be spoken of in Defunct, that assumption is simply pure speculation on my part.

I enjoyed my time with Defunct, even though my initial playthrough with it was about one hour. Because of how the game encourages you to improve your skill, I eagerly came back to play more. After the campaign, time trials are unlocked and you can earn from bronze to platinum medals for the levels. There are even collectibles scattered throughout and I now have the option to gather the missing ones. These aren’t just for bragging rights, they also unlock various features such as skins, tricks, and other secrets. A very short game for $10 may not be seen as a worthwhile investment for many, but Defunct commonly goes on sale for as low as $1. If you 100% it, you can easily get 4-5+ hours out of it, and the alternate pathways and arcade-like experience encourage multiple playthroughs. If you like going fast, Defunct may just give you, your kids, or your friends that sense of speed and thrills other games lack.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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