Review a Great Game Day: Fez

In the spirit of Review a Great Game Day, I challenge you, the reader, to put aside any prejudices that you may have towards the developer of the game I’m about to present.  Sadly, I’ve noticed that we, as gamers, have put entirely too much energy into dishing hate and vitriol towards Phil Fish, to the point where it has overshadowed his game’s excellence.  What is this jaded piece of awesomeness that I speak of?  Fez, of course!

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Because let’s face it, Fez is a beautiful game, released at the perfect time.

For those who don’t know, Fez is a 2012 indie puzzle game that was developed by Polytron Corporation, and has been released on Xbox Live Arcade, Steam, Linux, OS X, Playstation 3 & 4 and Vita.  The object of the game is to collect cubes that have been scattered around the game’s universe.  Where some are obvious, others require work to get to.

For those not familiar with Fez, this may seem like an overly simple theme that fails to maintain even the strongest of attention spans.  However, what makes Fez awesome is that you have the impression that you’re playing a 2D game.  After the game starts, your main character, Gomez, soon receives a fez “from above” and soon after witnesses the breakup of the very fabric holding his world together.  What results afterwards is sheer genius!

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Things aren’t always what they seem…

It’s an idea so simple, yet so innovative, that it’s hard to put into words, but I will try my best.  The screen you see in front of you is not the only perspective that you’re granted.  If you’re playing with an Xbox 360 controller, pressing your trigger buttons will shift the perspective of the screen, as if the world is a cube spinning on one side.  What you were previously looking at shifts out of view, replaced by a view you couldn’t see before.  If you’re still confused, take a look below.

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Fez’ physics in a nutshell

So imagine that you’re currently viewing the “orange” portion of this cube.  If you were to hit your Left Trigger (or corresponding) button, you would shift to viewing the light blue side of the cube.  Why is this useful?  If you’re unable to progress in a level due to not being able to find a door or platform, try shifting perspectives.  Who knows?!  You may just find exactly what you’re looking for in order to progress!

What else makes Fez great?  It’s excellent soundtrack!  Soothing beats and environmental soundbytes carry you throughout your adventures, from soothing coastal locales to murky sewers.  Fez will totally captivate you with its inventive and insightful use of sound and music, and the audio will never once seem “out of place”.  Everything from jumps to water drops are all on-key and truly add to the environment.

Speaking of environment…

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Just beautiful…

Beyond the aforementioned sewers and coastal locales, what makes Fez truly sing graphically is its use of color and simplicity.  Everything from buildings, obstacles, and even animals and plant life are rendered beautifully throughout the entire game. Graphically, Fez possesses one of the most amazingly rendered environments ever experienced.  Even the map looks amazing!

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Beautifully rendered, and tells you “just enough”…

So where’s the challenge?  Isn’t Fez just for “casuals”?  Who cares?! Fez doesn’t hold your hand in any way. Aside from providing you little to no clues, the game challenges you to look at the environment in a different way. You want that cube way up at the top of that tower, but don’t see the necessary steps or vines to get up there?  Shift your perspective (in more ways than one) if you have any hopes of completing Fez.  It’s really easy to get lost, but with such beautiful environs, does anyone really mind?!

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One more screenshot just for the hell of it…

So there you have it, folks!  With beautifully crafted artwork and music, innovative gameplay, and a little something for retro and modern gamers, Fez is truly a labor of love, and it clearly shows!  You’d be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this one, regardless of what your reasoning is.  Have you ever played a game and thought to yourself “this is someone’s baby; it’s been nurtured to its full potential, and is everything that it can be”?

This is what Fez is to me, and every time I fire it up, I still find myself in total bliss.  There aren’t many newer games that do that to me anymore, and I’m grateful to Polytron for pouring their love into such an excellent game.  Lumpz the Clown OUT!

BIG Thanks to the excellent folks at 1MoreCastle for hosting a hate-free celebration of our favorite games! I speak with these folks on a daily basis, and can personally vouch for their awesomeness! Got a great game you want to share with the rest of the world?! Get your ass over to the Review a Great Game Day site RIGHT NOW!

Lumpz the Clown EntertainmentLumpz the Clown, Gamer and Owner of Lumpz the Clown Entertainment

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