Version Tested: PC (Steam)
Available On: Windows
Developer: Freshly Squeezed
Publishers: SOEDESCO Publishing
Genre: 3d Sonic & Tony Hawk Combination/High-Speed Adventure Game
Official Site: http://www.freshlysqueezed.se/defunct/
Release Date: Jan 29, 2016
Where to Buy: Steam
I was not into Sonic the Hedgehog growing up (not the games at any rate). My first console was a Gameboy Color, where I learned the Joys of the JRPG genre. My first home console came much later, in the form of a PS2 I received for my twelfth birthday (it still works too), so unlike many gamers of my generation, I ended up being completely unaware of the enjoyment to be found in running through any given level at top speed. Defunct fixed that for me, if only in a small way.
Half Sonic the Hedgehog, half Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Defunct is a surprisingly fun little indie game for PC. The game is billed as an adventure game with a focus on flow and speed yet while I feel that those statements are in the wrong order, they are more or less accurate.
In Defunct, you take control of a poor little robot with a broken engine. You live in a giant flying cargo ship and on your travels you are accidentally jettisoned. This is when the game actually kicks off as you struggle to catch up with your ship in a 3-dimensional Sonic-esque fashion. While your engine is broken you have the ability to “Gravitize” which presses you firmly to the ground and allows you to gain massive speed while going downhill and impedes your progress uphill.
This ability both confused and enraged me during the initial tutorial level to the point that I was already beginning to feel that I would not enjoy this game. Thankfully, after being booted off of the ship, I found fun in the mechanics. When applied to the wide open spaces of the world that the game developers had created, to the valleys and hills of the forests and deserts that exist inside this particular digital space, I ended up having a blast.
There are three additional abilities available to help you navigate your robot through the game’s various levels and courses. In a pinch, you can activate your broken engine in order to push you along at what is, in comparison to the rest of the ways you can move through the game, a snails pace. You can magnetize your body and stick to various metal surfaces, allowing you to do things such as navigate a course upside down, which can come in quite handy. The most powerful ability that Defunct‘s robo-protagonist has at his disposal is the capacity to use Enerjuice. When you spray a can of the stuff into your engine you are sent flying and are treated to feeling like Nitrous mixed with a thunder clap.
As soon as you begin the game properly you find yourself tasked with going forwards, often with extreme single-mindedness and speed. While you can take the time to explore every inch and branching path within the game, Defunct’s level design and mechanics don’t really lend themselves to this style of play.
When riding through the giant sloping hills, the bowl like craters, and the concrete half pipes you will find yourself moving very quickly through the games pretty junk strewn post-human world. Honestly, this is the only major complaint I have for this game, and that it is the fact that Defunct is on the fairly short side. I ultimately enjoyed my three and a half hours in Defunct’s world and am likely going to replay it. The games developers seem to be cognizant of this and in order to add a little replayability, they have included multiple paths, which are all unlocked and can be played as you progress through the game. The devs are also very aware of the capacity their game has to entertain speedrunners and have included leaderboards to enhance this aspect of the game.
I only have one other small beef with Defunct and it has to do with the musical score. While what I was able to hear of this games music was quite pleasant and appropriate, I rarely could hear it. I don’t know if it was a problem on my end or some issue with the game (and I did attempt to adjust this) but in comparison to the sound effects the music was almost on mute.
At any rate, this is a small quibble, and I would beg you not hold it against Defunct. It is a simple and fun high-speed sort of escapade that I think many gamers will be surprised to find themselves enjoying.
- Gameplay: A fun blend of movement and speed, like a 3d Sonic variant with a dash of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
- Graphics: A pleasant mix of janky objects and interesting colors.
- Sound: Great, but the music could make it’s presence a little more known.
- Presentation: This game set out to be an ode to speed and fun which it pulls off from start to finish.
- A fun little game built around speed and movement, it is fairly original.
- Will likely please fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchises.
- Practically designed for speed runners.
- Defunct is very short.
- The music could be a little more present.
Trent Katzenberger is a writer, youtuber, gamer, nerd, and just all around a strange sort of guy. He loves trying new stuff and creating odd things.