A First Look & Review of Popular Indie 2D Platformer FEZ
The first game I've picked from my enormous Steam library to complete is the critically acclaimed 2D puzzle platformer, FEZ.
Before I started FEZ, I'd heard of the game and all the drama surrounding it and it's lead designer (Phil Fish) and I was aware of the concept of the game, which is that you're able to rotate your perspective of the world by 360 degrees in 90 degree increments to help you solve the puzzles and make jumps you otherwise wouldn't be able to, however except for that I went into the game completely blind.
Delightful Art Style
The first thing that you notice when waking up in the bed in your room in FEZ is the art style; it's a colourful pixely cute game in which the main character is a cute pale 'man', for lack of a better word who only possesses minimal features; eyes and a mouth. The other distinguishing feature for the main character comes from the title; about 5 minutes into the game you'll be given a fez, which he wears on his head for the duration of the game. His name is Gomez, and while there isn't much depth to the character in regards to background and storyline, it's hard to not like the cute lil' guy.
FEZ's storyline isn't particularly deep or meaningful; the main aim for the game is to collect 32 'cube shards' which are scattered throughout the world to prevent a global catastrophe. These cubes can be collected in 3 different ways;
Full Cube Shards: Tend to be fairly rare and only at the end of a world section.
Cube 'Bits': Worth 1/8th of a cube (so you need 8 of them for 1 full cube shard).
Anti Cubes: While there are 32 normal cube shards and also 32 anti cubes, you only need a combined total of 32 to finish the story. Anti cubes tend to be a lot harder to obtain than normal cube shards, as you need to figure out a lot of obscure secrets to reveal them.
Other collectibles in the game include things such as artifacts and treasure maps. The artifacts don't count towards anything, they're just there as something else to collect to get all the achievements, however the treasure maps do actually help out with finding some secrets. Altogether there are 9 treasure maps and 4 artifacts.
FEZ is also an incredibly forgiving game; if you fall off the map because you missed a jump, or rotated the world the wrong way by mistake, it'll instantly put you back on the last piece of solid ground you touched, there really isn't a single way to be punished for your misfortunes.
It's nice to not have to focus on killing enemies and blowing things up for once.
At the end of the day, FEZ is the type of game to play when you just want to relax and have fun. There really aren't many top notch games around like that anymore. Even though it'll sometimes make your brain hurt due to the confusing nature of the puzzles, it's nice to not have to focus on killing enemies and blowing things up for once.
The puzzles have a nice range of difficulty, from being able to do them first time to having to take a break because you've been thinking too hard. I completed FEZ with around 8-9 hours played, which is fantastic value for how much you have to pay, especially as I only finished with around 107%, when to get all of the achievements you need 294%. So there should easily be around 20 hours of gameplay there if you work out each and every single puzzle for yourself without looking it up online.
Areas to Improve
The only major complaint I have with the game is the port to PC from Xbox 360; it's obviously designed for a 360 controller, and even though the keyboard works, a 360 controller is just a better option if you have it available. The other issue with the port is that you can't go above 1280x720, which is the Xbox 360's native resolution. It's a shame, as the world is incredibly detailed and colourful and would look even more beautiful in 1920x1080.
9 out of 10
I give FEZ a 9/10; there isn't much that could be improved in regards to the gameplay, and it's very much worth a look at for the £7 asking price on Steam.