Developed By: Polytron Corporation, Blitworks (Switch port) Published By: Polytron Corporation Categories: Platformer, Puzzle, Indie Release Date: 04.14.21
Fez on the surface is definitely the kind of game I’m sure people will think of when you think of early 2010’s indie games. It has simple graphics, it’s a platformer, it has cryptic puzzles. Upon digging deeper though, brings you into a fantastic game, perhaps letting you see some indie games at a new angle. This is precisely what the game’s premise is too. The lead, Gomez lives in a world of 2D, there is no 3D. This is until he comes by a magical hat, the titular Fez, which then reveals that yes, there is a third dimension. The Golden hexahedron shatters however, leaving Gomez to embark on a journey to retrieve golden cubes and their pieces. To put them back together and stop a collapse of the world’s existence.
The main mechanic in Fez is switching the camera angle. A 2D game in a 3D world. If you can’t jump or a wall is stopping you, just shift to another angle. Want to see all four sides of a room, maybe to find a secret, then go right ahead. This is used for the puzzles in the game, platforming, and something just to waste time. Switch it up, and then find a door, go to another island or room, deeper into the world. Do everything each room has, rinse, repeat.
Go deeper and deeper, collect those cubes. Finding more cubes open more paths, which branch out like a web, and it makes me so glad that the game has a map. Telling you if you’ve completed a room fully or not, or else I would be so lost.
Some of the rooms exist purely to get you keys for locked doors, leading to more rooms with cube pieces, and treasure maps. A good hunk of the games riddles and puzzles can get quite…cryptic. The average player will most likely have no idea how to solve a handful of these by themselves or without writing notes somewhere. I can see this as a good and bad thing. It’s good because I love the idea of a game being and feeling grand and more that it could be just on a screen. It gives more depth and interactivity to a game. It makes you ask your friends, like you’d do before the internet. I love this. On the otherhand, I can imagine it’d be frustrating to some players who want something and want it now. They don’t want to think.
Not to say that this is some incredibly cerebral game, because it’s not something you’ll need a giant brain for. Just sit, relax, and think. Pay attention to the world, the answers are almost always in plain sight, you just need to decipher them. Learn the game’s unique alphabet. You might want to pay attention to how the joycons rumble too, that might be important.
Fez’s main focus isn’t platforming, you’ll be doing plenty of it. A certain momentum seems to be in Gomez’s movement. Certain platforming can be trickier than needed, especially in moments where you need to move fast.
Despite the simple character spritework, Fez has beautiful animation. It’s a beautiful game all around really. It’s calming, serene, open, inviting. There’s a lot of places to go to and lots of variety. Your home town, a gross sewer that has a screen filter to look like the original Gameboy, a water tower, a redlight district looking block, a bustling town. Boredom won’t set in anytime soon. The music has the same kind of vibe, with that relaxing aura is often has, The game does it’s best to make you feel like this is a big journey.
I honestly regret not playing this game earlier. I’ve always heard fantastic things about the game, but I suppose back in 2012, my ability to separate drama surrounding a release of a game wasn’t what it is today. I’m hoping with the new Switch release, more people can enjoy Fez, maybe for the first time like me. The fact it’s portable made this even more of a must play. Play Fez, you won’t regret it.
Buy Now: $14.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes