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Power Member - Level 9
Note: This is not a
review, but merely my musings after having recently completed a game
as part of my Rogue's
Adventures playthrough of my backlog.
@RoguesAdventure to keep up with my
playthroughs and check out my live streams at twitch.tv/gorbash722.
April 13, 2012
is probably one of the more famous, and certainly one of the most
infamous indie games ever made thanks to a long and public five year
development cycle and rather vocal developer Phil Fish. The work paid
off - the game sold over a million copies and received universal
praise, though any talk of a sequel has been squelched when Fish abruptly
left the industry.
the surface Fez appears to be just another 2D puzzle-platformer, but
thanks to an ingenious mechanic and some impressive level design and
world building you can rotate the entire world like a 3D cube,
creating four different layers of the same map to traverse. Our goofy
marshmallow-man hero Gomez is bestowed a magical Fez, giving him
these miraculous world-shifting powers, and he's the only one that
can find all the scattered cubes.
story is just that - find the scattered gold cubes, bits, and
anti-cubes throughout the many worlds. I managed to find all 32 gold
cubes by simply exploring the huge, interconnected world (I did have
to look up one bizarre puzzle involving talking to various owls). The
anti-cubes however, are often hidden behind devious secrets, ranging
from "ah-ha" puzzle moments to a complex system of cryptography
that also gives an air of mystery to the world.
most levels are suspended in the air, falling to your doom results in
an immediate respawn with no penalties. There are no enemies, no
bosses, and no real sense of danger. Honestly, anyone complaining
that Gone Home isn't a game because of the lack of consequence would
have to make the same complaint about Fez. I really appreciated this
more casual approach to game design and could focus fully on
exploring the world and solving puzzles.
you obtain 32 cubes you can open the final door that leads to the
finale and an appropriately bizarre
ending that definitely tricked me. I won't spoil it but it's a funny
and surreal moment. The full 64 cube "good ending" is different, in a very similar way. Yeah, it's weird.
Portal, Fez's greatest strength is doubling down on its core
puzzle-solving mechanic. While Fez lacks Portal's intriguing story it
makes up for it with interesting open-ended level design. Thankfully
a helpful web-like 3D map, warp gates and shortcuts help cut down on
any tedious backtracking.
I rarely found myself having to go through
levels again just to reach another area and could almost always press
forward to new levels and hub worlds. Had I wanted to reach all the
anti-cubes and solve some of the more obtuse puzzles I would have
utilized them even more to reach each area I skipped, as secrets,
cubes, and chests are clearly marked on the map.
I didn't quite have the patience to 100% Fez (or in a nod to
Castlevania: SoTN, 209.4%) I still really enjoyed the 8 or so hours I
spent relaxingly exploring the world and listening to the incredible
soundtrack. Little touches like seeing the connected levels in the distant background really made this pixelated world come alive, and varying hub worlds were nicely connected by both aesthetic and puzzle designs (the Gameboy-like monochrome levels were especially trippy).
It certainly lived up to its reputation as the 3D
rotation is supremely interesting, creating multiple 2D levels that
I've only experienced before in Paper Mario, and I love that the
emphasis is on puzzle-solving and exploration over defeating foes or
completing challenges. Fez should definitely not be missed by anyone.