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You play through the world of Fez as a lovable white ‘thing’ named Gomez. You awaken in your home one day to learn that you have received a letter from an elderly man that lives at the top of your village. From there, you are treated to the always familiar 2D platforming basics, running and jumping your way to the top of the village, in order to see the old man as he requested in his correspondence. Along your short journey, you can explore others houses, and interact with the other villagers. You will begin to find out what everyone thinks of the village, Gomez and the fact that there are no such things as cubes, only squares. After you reach the top of the village, the old man then tells you all about cubes. They are real, you can live in them. Your mind will be surely blown at the events that immediately transpire.
Fez is an incredibly hard game to describe, because it contains so many elements. It is more or less a retro, 2D platforming game that features three dimensional shifts. You actually only play in the standard two dimensions, and shift your perspective between three dimensions. As you shift your perspective, you can then explore the new 2D territory, allowing you access to a newer part of the map that you were unable to see before. Think of it was a cube. You can only play on one face of the cube, going up and down, as well as, side to side. Now if you rotate that cube, you now have a new side to play on, while the side you were previously playing on is now in the background. The execution of this very difficult concept has been done really well, and the puzzles it creates are some of the most difficult in gaming to date. The game is definitely a challenge for even the most experienced puzzle solvers.
The game takes you on an ’8-bit’ journey through a expertly crafted world, puzzle by puzzle, in search for the ever important Cube. The more Cubes you get, the more places you can go, and the only way to get more cubes, is to find them by solving complex puzzles, searching hidden nooks and deciphering DaVinci Code-like encryptions. You will also discover the existence of the Anti-Cube. For every Cube, the must in fact be an Anti-Cube that keeps the balance. The Anti-Cubes are much harder to find, and require the solving of more difficult puzzles. The game is simple in concept, run around the world collecting Cubes and Anti-Cubes, not hard right? If it were only that easy.
The games mechanics are very simple. You can jump, move side-to-side and interact with the environment when prompted to do so, much like any other 2D platformer. Then there is the perspective shifts that require the pressing of the left or right bumpers/triggers. The gameplay is very fluid, and the shifts between perspectives seem smooth and natural. The graphics are nothing spectacular to display, as the game purposely uses retro-styling to tel the story of Fez. It is a nice change of pace, and has a very Scott Pilgrim-like feel. The music is wonderfully crafted, and probably necessary, as the smooth tones of Fez seem to serenade you throughout what can be a very frustrating experience. What is the most surprising about this game, however, is the execution. It may have taken a while to finally see its release, and it may even be a bit buggy some of the time, but the way Fez has you interact with the world, constantly shifting your screen around in order to discover and experience new things is masterfully crafted. The puzzles, no matter how difficult they seem, work perfectly with the level design. The game is a gem, and everyone should really try and experience the wonder of Fez.
- Wonderfully designed levels
- Great musical score
- Challenging puzzles
- Lots of replay value
- Reminiscent graphics
- A bit buggy
- Will make you feel stupid
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