All game trailers aim to be in some way aspirational, offering glimpses of places you want to visit or activities you want to perform. Refunktion accomplishes both: its setting has the angular, white geometry of Mirror’s Edge, right down to the splashes of colour and the horizon of sky-scraping obelisks floating upon a shimmering sea; and the activity is a stealth-platformer about mastering the slides and wall-jumps required to avoid the sight of patrolling robots and the electric death they bring with them. There’s a free first episode available to play now, and there’s a trailer and some thoughts below.
Stealth games are in part about the tension between the player’s desire to progress and the patience required to move slowly, stay quiet and remain hidden. Refunktion makes that internal tension overt by making movement half the fun of the game. You pick up speed the longer you run, and if you can master the slides and walljumps seen in the video above, you can replace progression-via-creeping with the exhilaration of just-barely outrunning detection and death.
Unless you’re preternaturally gifted, the aspirational transformation from beginning-tortoise to mastery-hare will be marked by frustration. At least part of that is the slight fiddly-ness of the controls – you’ll need to quickly grab distracting-when-thrown blocks but your grasp seems a little shorter that in most games, for example, and the wall-bounding would be much easier if wall-running was a part of the moveset.
My suggestion is that you slow down and embrace your likely ineptitude. Watching patrol patterns, leaning around corners and crouching between cover is still the surest way to advance. Once you’ve got the lay of the level and collected each of the power cores necessary to complete it, you can return to refine your times.
Version 1.2 of Refunktion can be downloaded via IndieDB. It’s also up on Steam Greenlight if you think this first free episode deserves more attention (I obviously do), and if you want a planned commercial second episode to exist in the future.