Switch version tested
Review code provided
Developer Dominique Grieshofer has graced the Nintendo Switch with a bite-sized work of art and love. Refunct is a peaceful first-person platformer where the goal is to simply stand on all the platforms. No enemies, no traps, no death. This bite-sized game can easily be completed in one sitting and won’t put a dent in your wallet, but is it worth it. In a word, yes.
Visually, the player rises to the surface on a platform greeted by the bright sunlight sweeping shadows over grey pillars rising in front of you. A red light shining like a beacon quickly alerts you as to where you should go next. Making your way the grey quickly turns to green (various colours on multiple playthroughs) mimicking grass as the sterile grey pillars spring to life and now take on the look earthen made spires jutting from the sea. Arriving at the top of the first pillar after some quick hops the player discovers the red light is emanating from a red button. Upon activating the button more grey pillars break the seemingly calm surface revealing a new set of platforms and a new beacon to navigate to. There are a few red cubes tucked away hidden by the ever-increasing geometric landscape. These standout as the only other inhabitants of this world save for some wispy clouds in the sky. Progressing through the game the shadows slowly dance as the sun begins to set casting the once bright vibrant world in dark yet warm vibe. During these transitions, you will also be treated to a slight change in the musical soundscapes that have backed this journey.
From the outset, Refunct calmly and beautifully sweeps the player in with its peaceful and almost romantic piano lead soundtrack. Traversing the level with this playing feels at times as if you are the music as it seemingly ebbs and flows with your movements up and around as you jump and slide your way to your next button. The water splashes gently if you miss our platform and wade your way to a low enough entry point. Wonderful attention to detail was taken as the music slightly drowns out as you submerge yourself in the water for a few of the buttons only to burst back when you resurface. Nice little chimes turn up when you either grab a floating cube or press a button.
Gameplay is simple but sharp. Jumping is mapped to ‘R’ and ducking/Sliding to ‘L’. This is all you will need other than your thumbsticks as you wall jump, slide and spring to platforms. Locomotion feels great. There are plenty of FPS games that could learn a thing or two from how well Refunct moves and feels. Jumping off a few scattered springboards and sliding into a tube immediately upon landing felt fast and fluid but more importantly, it felt right.
Ultimately what sums up Refunct is that it felt right. The simplistic nature mixed with tight controls and a wonderful soundtrack harmoniously come together to create what is clearly a labour of love no matter what obstacles stood in the way. Speedrunners will be happy to know that all subsequent runs after the completion are timed bringing me back to see how much I could shave on just one more run.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07/06/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Platformer
Publisher: Dominique Grieshofer
Download link: eShop