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Defunct (Xbox)

Developed by Freshly Squeezed, Defunct was initially released on PC Steam back in 2016 (Currently it is on sale and available for just 69p otherwise its usual price is £6.99) and is now available on Xbox One for £12.49.

Defunct is a sweet little adventure game where you are a broken robot who has somehow managed to fall out of a cargo ship and now you need to make your way back! Now, I really do have a soft spot for games with cute little robots (I’m not sure why) so I was really excited to start playing Defunct.

Utilise the world around you to pick up high speeds, find the collectibles and complete the puzzles which unlock the next area and eventually, find your way back to your ship. You are equipped with a “Gravitize” engine which, when used downhill (with RT) will increase your speed but be careful with it as it will significantly reduce your speed if used going uphill! You can perform tricks whilst mid-air and discover secret areas if you’re not in too much of a hurry.

The different areas are designed thoughtfully with more care and attention seemingly put towards how the robot will be able to traverse rather than aesthetics. Environments and layouts differ between climates and biomes but whilst travelling through each one individually, they can feel very samey and I struggled at times to navigate adequately as there were no telling landmarks to notify me when I was going round in circles which was quite frustrating but if I followed the trail of energy orbs then I seemed to manage just fine. The puzzles are fairly straightforward and the only thing that will hinder progress will be when you’re trying to gain enough speed to make a tricky jump. There was one occasion where I somehow managed to get completely stuck inside the map which was only rectified by totally restarting the level which was incredibly annoying.

I found the controls are simple to learn and you are given helpful hints which you can look at whenever you need to. I noticed that whilst the LT and RT controls seem to be completely fine, the other controls did seem to suffer from inconsistency and would lead me to repeatedly mashing the buttons to get it to do what I needed. As you progress through, you will unlock other abilities such as the ability to magnetize to surfaces as well a boost so that you can achieve even greater speeds (which is SO much fun!). 

Once you have completed the 11 levels of the story you’ll be able to replay as many times as you like from any point in the world that you wish to from the menu options. You are also given 5 additional levels in the “Time Trial” mode which is downright brutal if you ask me! Platinum medals are what you’ll be aiming for and in order to achieve that you’ll have to memorise a route through so there is a fair amount of replay value hidden within this mode as I sincerely doubt anyone would be able to “wing it” although I am happy to be proven wrong on this! I quite like that there are leaderboards and you’re able to see some other people’s timings (there’s nothing quite like knowing just how slow you are).

Unfortunately, I did encounter a few too many problems with the gameplay for my liking, particularly with very noticeable juddering during high speeds or whenever the game was autosaving which was not only incredibly off-putting but also, really detracted from the flow of the game. It may be worth mentioning here that I encountered these issues whilst playing on an Xbox One X which should be able to handle an indie game like this beautifully.

Overall, amidst my frustrations, I did like playing Defunct. I enjoyed wandering around and finding secret places and collectibles but as already mentioned, there are significant issues. If I had to give it a score it would be 7/10, my kids loved watching me play it and I wanted to play so much more of it but the issues were far too offputting. I really hope that there are patches incoming to fix the problems because as it stands, I’d honestly wait for a sale before picking up this one.

Defunct has 27 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. A varied and quite frankly, tricky achievement list which will certainly keep you busy if you intend to complete it. There are achievements for completing the story, finding secret areas, carrying out special requirements as well as some which will most likely remain locked for me as I just don’t think I have the necessary patience and skill for the task! I’m referring to getting platinum for ALL time trials as well as the equally brutal; completing the entire story without restarting or dying! If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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