Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Charlie


Review: Fez

Review: Fez Charlie

Summary: Charlie takes a look at Fez on XBLA, is it any good? read the review to find out!


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It’s about time a game like this came about. Fez was announced way back in 2007 and it’s taken 5 years for it to be released. I can guarantee you’ll be pleased with this game if you buy it.  Fez is a weird, funny, and brain scrambling game that you will appreciate for a long time. But for someone like you who may not know about this game, what’s so special about it? Why is it called Fez? It’s kind of a strange story… Now the story of the game wasn’t the main priority for Polytron (the games developers) and you can see that as you play the game. You first start off in your room, and are sent a piece of mail by an old man who tells you to climb to the top of the village. The village is like a 2D side-scroller, and you need to climb on ledges and floating slabs in order to get to the top. If you talk to some of the villagers as you climb, you learn that there is no such thing as a cube, which really contradicts itself in a funny way because if there’s no such thing as a cube, how do they know what a cube is? Once you reach the man, something weird and amazing happens. A cube magically appears and you’re transported to a mystical place. The cube speaks to you in some weird language which you probably won’t understand [yet] and then the best thing happens. The environment alternates from 2D to 3D and the entire area spins. Soon, a beam of light appears from the sky, which places a Fez on top of your head. Nobody knows why exactly you need to wear a Fez on your head, or why the heck Polytron even chose it as the hat choice for the game, but there’s one thing you do know, and in the words of “the Doctor” from Doctor Who… “Fez’s are cool”. But the story doesn’t end there, because now the 2D world and the 3D world is broken, and it’s your job to fix it by collecting cubes. This is the main premise of the game; to collect cubes. There are two types of cube you can collect; first there are gold cubes, which you can collect by either picking up 8 cube pieces scattered across levels which you explore or by finding a full cube in a level. The game really makes you work for your prize, because cubes are hidden in such places that the 3D elements are needed. The games other main gameplay element is changing your perspective; since everything is now 3D to you, you can use your RT/RB and LT/RB to change what side of the level you want to investigate. Sometimes your mind really bends because you sometimes forget which way you are turning the level; think of it like that spinning ballerina illusion, where you don’t know if it’s spinning left or right. Things in the game get even more clever, as you might be on the left side of the map, and then you change your perspective, move a few steps in front of the wall, change your perspective back and you’re now on the right side of the map; what might have taken you a few seconds just took you a second to do. Another example is you might be standing on a floating block, and then you change your perspective and then a block which was originally on one side of the screen (and previously unreachable) may be on your side of the screen (making it reachable). Do you understand anything I am saying, because honestly, the game is so weird and amazing that I’m having a hard time to figure out what I’m typing. The game doesn’t stop getting better there, because this is one game where getting full completion of the game will be one of the greatest achievements you’ll ever do in gaming. This game makes you want to explore, as changing perspectives allows you to uncover hidden secrets, for example, at first, you might just see a 2D room, but then you change your perspective and you might find a room hidden behind the room, or rather humorous posters hidden on another wall. Changing your perspective in the world is damn right fun. To make this game even more brain crunching, some secrets in the game require you to input a code. For example, if you look at the games achievements, you’ll see a code that reads “RTRTLTRTRTLTLTLT”. If you press those buttons in that order, you’ll unlock an anti-cube that will count towards your total cube count. There are 32 gold cubes and 32 anti-cubes to find throughout the entire game. Codes like this will be frequent throughout the game, but you might not realize this at all. Polytron are clever people too, because they hide codes in such amazing places, for example, there’s one code you can work out just by feeling the vibrations of your controller; of course you need to be in the right place for this to happen though. You might be thinking: Is that it? Is that all the gameplay? Well frankly yes, it is. The thing about this game is that it uses it’s gameplay superbly, where every location has something waiting to be found; it’s like Minecraft in a way, where you WANT to explore that cave, even though it could just be a dead end, or hopefully, a maze of caves. The game does suffer from a flaw, where you may encounter quite a bit of lag when the camera moves into a new environment or when you jump. That really tends to be the only flaw, unless you count the gameplay being a bit repetitive in some peoples eyes. In my eyes, I didn’t find it repetitive as such, but we’re all different people. What the game does perfectly is that it brings two gaming perspectives together; 8-bit graphics with current generation style gameplay, something that not many developers want to do anymore (with the exception of Minecraft of course). For most developers, it’s just all about the graphics rather than gameplay; this game completely changes everything. Asides from the brief lag encounters, Fez is a near perfect game, one which I hope is turned into a franchise, as I’m pretty sure something could be done to turn this into a near flawless franchise like Portal and Half-Life. On this day, I have found my “XBLA Game of the Year”… but there’s still half a year to go.

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About the Author

Some say I should be a video game journalist, others say a video game designer. Shame you can't be both.

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