Review by darksolgamer
"A great game that changes the way you look at things..."
Fez is a 2D game with 3D elements mixed in. It's also a platforming game with puzzles mixed in. You play as Gomez, a funny little rectangular head shaped guy with a rather nice hat. But it's no ordinary hat, it's a hat that allows him to change his perspective and see the world around him in three dimensions! You normally walk around in a 2D plane, but with a press of a button, you rotate the world around you. This allows for some interesting platforming scenarios, as well as some interesting approaches for puzzles.
The goal of the game is to collect 32 cube shards, and it's easy enough to get all of them without really solving any of the difficult puzzles that lie hidden within the game...but it'll only be enough to get you the first ending. To get the true ending, you'll need to find the 32 anti-cubes. To get those you'll delve into some of the most interesting and complicated puzzles I've seen in a game. Some of them rely on observing the environment around you and changing something to solve it, or noticing the specific vibrations in your controller, or decoding an alphabet and numeric system, and reading treasure maps and noticing something you didn't quite notice before.
Of course the platforming is also worthy of praise. Most of the areas you visit have a unique theme and vibe about them. Like the graveyard that has invisible platforms you can only see when lightning flashes, or the dark cave that has platforms appear and disappear in tune with the music, and you'll even navigate a room full of glitches! It's a sight to behold and a satisfying challenge to get through them. The only problem I had was when the game would occasionally auto-save, sometimes I'd be in the middle of a jump and the game would freeze slightly and would mess up my jump. It's nothing to be frustrated about since there's no penalty for dying and you continue from the last platform you stood on.
The presentation is straight up nostalgic charm from the 8 and 16 bit days of the NES/SNES era. From the graphics to the music, to the somewhat broken English of the villagers, most likely you'll have a smile on your face at some point. Not to mention the references you can catch, from internet memes, to Game Boy type levels, and even popular movies. The game also has it's fair share of secrets, with four artifacts to find, and the three hidden heart cubes which require you to solve extremely difficult puzzles to get to them. Even when you finish the game the first time there's still so much to do, as the New Game + allows you to see things in a different light and will help you solve even more puzzles, some you probably didn't even realize were there before!
All in all, I would definitely recommend anyone even remotely interested in puzzle games to give Fez a try. I haven't had this much fun with a puzzle game since Braid, I kept a notebook with translations for all the work for puzzles and language translations for this game and it was really satisfying to have all that work solve a puzzle and hear that little music cue! It is however a little on the short side, it took me around 5-6 hours to finish the game completely, but for $10 it was totally worth it. Go download the demo and give it a try!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/11/12
Game Release: Fez (US, 04/13/12)
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