Games set in the first person perspective are known for mainly shooting games & open world titles. But the perspective is used for platformers and one might see it as odd. That being due to the field of view only being in front of you rather than seeing the whole 3D world, it creates unneeded frustration if you aren’t skilled with first person perspective controls.
But Refunct by Dominique Grieshofer is a game that takes the concept of the first person platformer and just presents a simple title. You have a lot of moves to play with and the game has a number of challenges, but its also a very short experience. Does its brief run-time and perspective hinder the title, or make it have more impact on the player?
Gameplay & Design
Refunct is a platformer using various mechanics many of us are familiar with; running, jumping, wall jumping, swimming and sliding. But the main element, is how its used in the first person perspective and how new challenges are presented to you. The controls are important to a game like this and they work great with a mouse/keyboard set up. I had no issue adjusting to WASD movement and everything felt responsive.
How the game works is that you are in one large level that keeps expanding as you complete it, which has you pressing red buttons to open up the next section & touching every platform to light it up. You keep doing this until the entire map is filled up and the game is over. Your last goal is collecting glowing red cubes.
While that sounds simple, it really isn’t. That is because of the level design being really smart, as it starts out simple, with the game only asking you to run and jump but as you play it asks you to use new skills like the wall jump, swimming underwater and sliding.
I had a lot of fun playing the game thanks to this great level design; it teaches you what you have to do but it never says a single word. It is the Mega Man X of First Person Platformers in some ways regarding how it introduces its mechanics to you in such a natural way.
My only issue with the gameplay is that despite it teaching everything to you quite well, sometimes the objective isn’t very clear. For example, a piece of the level opens up in a far distance and you fall off a high platform, making you backtrack to a spring platform and trying things all over again.
But that is a minor issue in a game where the gameplay is very solid.
Refunct has a simple art style and that works in the games favor, as the blocky platforms and great lighting help the game world stand out despite it not doing much. What makes the presentation stand out so much to me is the music, which gets more energetic and grandiose as you play through the levels. It gets to a point when you are close to completing the level map where the music feels really grand. But when you start playing, its very quite, as if no music is playing.
The runs well on modest PC set ups, as once you play around with the settings enough, the game can run at 60 FPS even on the lowest PC specifications. I had no issue getting the game to run on my laptop and the game is well optimized.
It sets up the mood and communicates to the player ‘You have much to do here’. Very smart audio design and something I respect the game a lot for. You can find the soundtrack here.
Gameplay & Design: 4.5 out of 5 / Presentation: 4 out of 5
If you noticed, I removed the Story and Replay Value & Lasting Appeal portions out of this review, as the game is very short. Not even over an hour long, Refunct is a tight platformer that has strong presentation and really tight gameplay. I greatly enjoyed my time with this title and hope many consider giving it a shot. For $3 dollars on Steam, you will be getting a short, but sweet platformer that is very fun to play.
Overall: 4 out of 5
This game was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the developer. You can get it on Steam now for $2.99.