The lights are on
More often than not, a game with a troubled development
cycle is destined for mediocrity. Since its announcement nearly five years ago,
has gone through several iterations as its creator, Phil Fish, sought
perfection from his deeply personal product. Despite
its perpetually delayed release date, "Fez" has finally emerged as a beautifully
crafted game that forces players to change their perspective uncovering the
world's many mysteries.
opens in a 2D world whose inhabitants have no perception of alternate
dimensions. You play as Gomez, a happy member of this primitive society who
suddenly discovers that his 2D village is merely a snapshot of the 3D world he
actually inhabits. Gaining the ability to shift dimensions due to his newly
acquired fez, players must recover the hidden cubes necessary to restore the
recently shattered universe.
Gameplay revolves around this
perspective-shifting ability. Every object has four sides that appear as 2D
planes, but when you shift perspective they often work in tandem to help the
player advance or solve various puzzles.
may have a platform on an alternate side you can jump on, or you may have to
rapidly shift perspective to latch onto some climbable ivy around the corner.
Puzzles are challenging but rewarding with a solution often revealing itself
before frustration sets in.
Many of the
more cryptic puzzles will require mind-numbing amounts of concentration, but
these are often relegated to additional collectibles that aren't imperative to
the main story.
gameplay elements are constantly introduced throughout each distinct
environment as well. Whether it's following an explosion around the various
sides of a building, shifting directions of rising platforms or time-sensitive
climbing puzzles, every new wrinkle diversifies the puzzle solving while
working within the confines of the game's primary dimension-shifting element.
number of collectibles is impressive, collecting the 32 cubes required to
complete the primary path took around eight hours. However, that was only half
of the 64 cubes in the game and while skipping most of the more esoteric
puzzles. Polytron has smartly included a new game plus option that allows players
to continue their dimension-shifting quest with all their previous collectibles
itself can be overwhelming; new levels open up rapidly and players can easily
get lost amid the many backdoors and secret passages. Exploration and losing
oneself in the gorgeous environments is entertaining, but it can make it
difficult to return to areas once you've unlocked most of the map.
they include various warp gates for speedier transport, having to traverse many
of the puzzles again to reach a specific point I wanted to return to was more
tiresome than enjoyable.
five main gates to unlock, each one leading to a vastly different setting. The
graphics appear primitive because of their pixelation, but the art and various
environments are wonderfully animated. A pitch perfect musical score also
underscores the tone of every new locale.
On its surface, "Fez" is a fairly
simplistic game, you work on a 2D plane traversing new areas hoping to find the
most basic of 3D objects: a cube. Yet, when you take a closer look, you're
forced to shift your perspective and the brilliance of "Fez" becomes apparent.
every puzzle provides that wondrous "ah-ha" moment when you finally
discover the solution. Each environment offers new gameplay to expand your
shifting repertoire and gives the player another wondrous landscape to explore.
sometimes tiring exploration and loading issues, "Fez" stands out as one of the best downloadable
games this generation. With limited story, the amazing gameplay is the main
attraction throughout the entire experience, an idea every gamer should relate
to no matter what perspective they're viewing it from.
As published by The Daily Cardinal