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In a day and age in which the gaming industry is obsessed with placing grandiosity above genuine creativity, it’s delightfully refreshing to come across a game like Fez, which strips things down to bare bones, but in doing so injects life into the very marrow of one of gaming’s oldest genres, reinventing one of the very pillar’s of the gaming earth.
Fez takes us back to the old days of gaming, taking concepts long forgotten about, remoulding them, adding its own unique spice and boiling it all together in order to lay the table with an entirely new game.
The premise of Fez is simple. When a third dimension is added to a 2D world, the fez-wearing hero Gomez discovers he is able to shift the dimensional plane. By pulling the trigger, Gomez rotates the four-sided world of Fez 90 degrees left or right, causing a different side of the world to appear, meaning that if there’s no means of progressing on one side, odds are if you flip the world around a new pathway will appear. This gameplay mechanic is made more complicated by the fact that objects in the game world only need to look traversable in order to be so. For instance, if two ladders appear as one from a certain angle, Gomez will be able to climb them as one.
Fez intentionally sets the bar high with its puzzles, truly working your brain. It doesn’t instruct players of where to go or what to do but rather forces players to discover things for themselves through curiosity and experimentation (which is a good thing, given that inspiring curiosity is psychologically known to improve health and happiness).Fez allows players the freedom to explore by removing all urgency, threat and consequences / death for making the wrong move.
You’ll progress through Fez quickly, passing many stages in a short sitting, but in doing so will almost certainly miss a great deal of hidden items and areas waiting to be discovered. That’s not much of an issue though, as you’ll definitely not mind returning to earlier parts of the game to explore more once you get used to the swing of things. The game is so gorgeous to look at that you’ll probably not even consider the fact that you’re covering old ground.
The detail in Fez is amazing, and its old-school presentation, from art direction to soundtrack, is a treat to behold. Together with the light-hearted, whimsical feel of the writing, Fez ensures that you feel like a greedy kid in a candy store on every step of Gomez’s journey.
Fez even takes great pleasure in literally smashing through the fourth wall, doing so in numerous ways, all of which are devilishly witty, from making players think something is wrong with their Xbox to including gaming references like Navi’s “Hey, listen.’ This should make clear just exactly how much love has been poured into every part of this game: it’s celebration of everything gaming is.
There is simply too much joy, creativity, ingenuity and pure, unbridled gaming love inFezto say “No” to it. A triumph of gaming. A treat waiting to be unwrapped.
Games like Fez