Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Fez - Review

Describing Fez is no easy task.  On the surface it's a pretty basic 2D platformer but around five minutes after starting the five years of development become understandable as the layers of complexity are revealed.  The 2D world is not actually 2D at all, it's 3D, with players able to shift the perspective, leading to Esher like puzzle environments.

It's clever.  At times too clever, but for the most part the desire to see what comes next over powers any confusion.

You play as Gomez, charged with saving the world and restoring order to the 2D/3D spaces he inhabits.  He can die, but only after falling too far and is immediately restored to the position he was in previously.  The blocky 8bit style graphics do nothing to lessen the charm of the simple 'looking' environments and it isn't long before the hidden depths start to reveal themselves.

The puzzles are at times fiendish.  You'll move an object, switch perspective, move it again, switch again and on and on.  Trial and error at times out way figuring how the latest mind bender should be completed.  There are moments of joy, as you push Gomez up what looked like an impossible climb to gain that last piece of treasure in an area.  If you like games where discovery is placed above everything else, Fez is going to delight you.  There's even an in game language that can be learned and there's a nice use of QR codes to break the fourth wall.

To see everything in the game you probably need the 'right' type of brain but even if you can't be arsed to learn the language of the cubes you can at least revel in one of the best platformers of recent years.  As engaging as Limbo, as taxing as Braid, while it hankers back to the likes of Zelda and Mario, Fez is utterly charming.
★★★★★