To many Xbox 360 owners, FEZ is more or less old news. Over a year ago the indie sensation hit the Xbox marketplace and wowed its players. Bringing the ever so gratifying nostalgia that playing a retro-style game delivers, while at the same time putting forth an incredible amount of originality. A PC port for the previously Xbox-exclusive indie mega-hit has recently been released, and I figured all of the buzz around the Xbox release meant this game was worth playing.
Fez puts you in the shoes Gomez, a little guy in a two-dimensional world. He is summoned by an old man wearing (wouldn’t you know it?) a fez. Upon meeting with him, some strange things start happening. After a few events occur that could easily be considered spoilers, Gomez obtains a fez that allows him to see from multiple perspectives; rather than from the one everyone else in the world is limited to. This concept gives birth to a unique, and really neat gameplay hook.
One of the game’s most colossal feats is its retro presentation. The most amazing thing about its 8-bit style is that if you were to hand the controller to someone with no prior knowledge of the game, it would be impossible for them to tell that it’s running on a fully 3D engine. Beautifully composed melodies are equally important in bringing this mishmash of retro and modern game design to life.
A misconception that many of those who are less than familiar with the game will make is that it’s “cutesy” and “a kiddie game”. While visually the game is quite adorable, the game was not built for the younger crowd. It’s full of some of the most mind-numbingly difficult puzzles in all of gaming, demanding the effort of the player. While it is not required that all of these puzzles are completed to reach the climax of the game, a great bulk of the gun is found in deciphering the game’s various codes. Unless you’re some sort of genius, it will most likely take two playthroughs to complete the game and all of its puzzles, as the game rewards you with some additional tools in New-Game +.
The problem with a game like FEZ is that it’s so easily spoiled, hence this review of the game being so brief. While going into too much detail would all but ruin what is a truly unique experience. I can’t encourage you enough to give this game your time. With its deliciously retro aesthetics and unforgivable puzzles, FEZ is likely to hold your attention for quite some time.
Editor's note: I highly recommend everyone play the game as blindly as humanly possibles. Lay off the walkthroughs for this one, the reward of success is worth the effort.