At a time where games are about competition, intensity, and photorealism, Refunct is refreshingly relaxed. It’s a simple first-person platformer that’s more meditative than anything else, allowing you to take your time with its simple challenges. And despite its brevity, it never overstays its welcome, wrapping up before its magic wears off.
Your task is simple: run and jump from platform to platform, finding and hitting a switch to elevate the next set of platforms. Instead of being broken up into distinct levels, the next set of platforms rise up out of the watery abyss, gradually expanding the world from a few clusters of stone and grass into a vast archipelago. There’s no time limit, no enemies, and no high scores. Refunct lets you go at your own pace and instead of being boring, it’s liberating. Nothing distracts from the raw feel-good power of clamboring over the environment — a rarity among the feature-saturated games of today.
The graphics are appropriately simple, likely part aesthetic choice and part budgetary choice. They don’t look bad — well-rendered water and lighting make up for the simple, Spartan geometry. Piano, synth and percussion harmonize in the background, never in any terribly remarkable fashion but always enough to inspire a mix of wonder and calm.
Refunct is a glass of ice-cold water, a palate cleanser in between other games. Completing it all the way only takes about an hour, and for $3, it’s not a bad value. But even after clearing it 100 percent, I found myself drawn back to wall jumping from block to block, losing myself in the movement. It goes beyond the escapism many games inspire, coming closer to a zen-like meditation. The best way to experience Refunct is occasionally revisiting it, basking in the tranquil simplicity for as long as you need.