Short and sweet is the best way to describe my experience playing Refunct. While there might not be anything new and innovative about the game, it does what it does really well.
Refunct is a one-person passion project from developer and publisher Dominique Grieshofer. The game looks beautiful, using a minimalist art style and a relaxing, tranquil soundtrack. The sunset casts rays of light over the island, and the many cubes and towers cast long, pretty shadows. I noticed no performance issues, though I wouldn't expect any on a game with such small system requirements.
The game begins with you dropped onto an island of large gray cubes sprouting up from the seemingly endless ocean. There’s no tutorial to guide you, and the only indication of your goal is the beacon of red light shooting into the sky from a big red button. The gameplay consists entirely of traversing the square chunks of land, running and jumping towards the glowing red buttons. Every cube you jump onto changes from gray to green, springing into life. I imposed a goal onto myself to make every cube green, but the real objective is hitting all of the red buttons. Every time one is pressed another will sprout up,along with new pieces of land to move on. The movement is very similar to Mirror’s Edge, with the player running around and over the cubes, scrambling up ledges and wall-jumping like Mario.
There’s no way to die in the game and the only impediment to your progress is when you miss a ledge and have to make your way back up to your jump again, something that doesn’t happen often due to the simple but fun controls. There’s not much to the game. For my first playthrough, I went a bit slow and tried to collect all the little cube collectibles found throughout the island. The second time I tried to finish as quickly as possible. Speedrunning, you can finish the whole thing in 10 minutes. I’ve been through the game twice, and have just under 40 minutes played. The biggest problem of this game is its length.
My favourite thing about this game is the way it doesn’t hold your hand in any way. The game doesn’t explain it’s relatively simple gameplay. It just expects you to learn through experimentation, and it works very well. I had no information about the gameplay going into it, and I was never stuck or confused about anything.
Refunct (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
There’s nothing new or spectacular to make Refunct stand out, but it does free-running platforming very well. I do hope that a much larger sequel is released, or that Refunct is updated with another level or two. There doesn’t need to be any new gameplay elements, as I would happily pay another two or three dollars for more Refunct. Even though it’s short, I would definitely say it’s worth the small price tag if you enjoy relaxing games like Proteus or Journey. It doesn’t have any big emotional payoff or deep message to convey, but it’s still a game I enjoyed playing, and one I can see myself returning to after a long, stressful day.