We’ve said it before at Gaming Respawn, and we’ll say it again: The Nintendo Switch is becoming the home for indie titles. By no means should that be considered a bad thing. It allows the Nintendo audience to experience games that may have been on PC for a while, or maybe a game that’s been sorely overlooked. Take Defunct, for example. Defunct released over 2 years ago and has received its fair share of praise. Now, it’s making its way to Nintendo Switch. It’s a unique game that gives you serious WALL-E vibes but unfortunately comes up short from being a must own title.
In Defunct you play as a nameless robot who accidentally falls out of a cargo ship onto a human-less planet Earth. You need to find a way back to the cargo ship you fell from using the Gravitize engine, which allows you to gain speed when going down hills; however, it will cost you speed when going up hills.
One of the things I appreciate about Defunct is its emphasis on speed. The worlds you find yourself rolling around in are large, and the game makes it clear from the start that faster is better. However, it isn’t simply just about going fast but also learning timing and jumping. If you go too fast or mistime a jump, you’ll die. Or worse, you’ll have to try again and find a way to regain speed. It does take a little bit of time to learn these simple things. However, once you do learn them, you can go pretty crazy fast through levels. This can be both a good and bad thing. Zipping through levels feels awesome; however, you miss out on a lot of hidden items or hidden paths. It’s sort of like playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog game on Sega Genesis. Going fast is great, but you miss out on many things in each level. It’s also nice that there isn’t any sort of time limit in levels in Defunct. This makes it a lot of fun to race through a level but also leaves it open for you to go back and explore. Playing through each level unlocks a Time Trail, which is exactly as it sounds. Time yourself and see how fast you can get through the level.
That said, my 2 biggest problems with Defunct are that it’s short and it lacks any reason to replay it. Once I got to playing the game and really sank my teeth into it, I was able to finish up the game in just under 2 hours. Now, I did a mix of going fast through levels and taking my time to explore the world. The problem is the game just ends really quickly. As I previously mentioned, after each level you unlock a Time Trail mode; however, that doesn’t really help add much length to the game. This ties into my second biggest problem with the game. When the game is done, I don’t feel like I need to play it again. There isn’t really much to do once the game is over. Sure, you could go explore every nook and cranny of the world and find all the tokens, yet, you don’t feel compelled to. Tie this all together with its $15 price tag, and that’s a problem. I enjoy playing fast games, and I enjoy playing games of shorter length. However, at $15, I’m expecting a bit more from the game. I want a reason to go back and play the game or take more time in the game to explore. However, the game never makes me feel like doing so, and because the game is so short, I simply moved on to the next title on my list to play.
It should also be noted that this game has some technical issues. For one, sound effects aren’t really in the game. There are many moments when something is happening on-screen or the world around you, and you hear…nothing. Sure, there are a few environmental noises, and yes, you can hear you character’s squeaky wheels and engine. However, most of the game lacks sound effects, which makes the game feel kind of broken. The frame-rate is also an issue, regardless of being in docked or undocked mode on Nintendo Switch. I’m not one to comment too often about frame-rate, but it noticeably chugs in many sections of the game. The game does offer 3 graphic options in the menu (Quality, Performance, Battery Life), although neither one looks any better than the other. Performance mode does try to keep the game at 30 fps (compared to Quality’s 60 fps), but the game struggles to maintain 30 fps. The game is by no means a graphically demanding game nor an ugly game, which makes it more confusing why the performance isn’t great.
Developer: Freshly Squeezed
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 29th January 2016 (PC), 19th December 2017 (PS4, Xbox One), 13th September 2018 (Nintendo Switch)