5 years of development time has all led to this point. Did Fez stand the test of time? Has it lived up to its positive sales numbers? Can I go through this entire review without making a Doctor Who reference?
At face value, Fez is an indie 2D puzzle platformer spawned from the minds of Phil Fish. It first comes across as a fun little collect-a-thon, having you scour the world for bits and blocks, built around an interesting game mechanic of flipping the world, as if on an axis, so that you can traverse the world differently.
The mechanic is built around perspective, and that what you see at one angle, may be viewed differently at another. When you shift the world, two platforms that were far apart may now be close together and reachable. For your first run-through of Fez this is the focus of the game, but once you start new game+, Fez becomes the cipher to Phil Fish’s mind, and the player becomes not unlike Jake Gyllenhaal in Zodiac.
After you start deciphering the greater riddles of Fez, it is as though you are playing a completely different game. Subtle things that you would never assume are relevant finally make sense, and you take on a new perspective of the world (literally). Be warned: once you dive into the insanity of Fez, make sure you have a pen and paper by your side.
Polytron has not only crafted a mind-bending game, but a great looking and sounding one too. The 8-bit art style looks great,the animations are smooth, and the soundtrack is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
Despite the praise, Fez does have some faults. While the movements are fluid, during loading and autosaves a slowdown that plagues the game and at points can lead to a few deaths, along with being minor annoyances. Also, Fez is susceptible to crashing somewhat frequently. While I didn’t come across any of these bugs, my co-editor Evan Tognotti actually had to delete his save because of a game-crashing bug that consistently occurred ten seconds after continuing his playthrough. Don’t let any of this worry you though, Fez definitely makes up for the annoyances.
The way Fez toes the line of insanity and ingenuity makes it a game that anyone interested in pushing their creativity and sanity must have.
Second Opinion by Clint Prentice
Originally I thought of Fez as yet another cute indie platformer and, at surface level, Fez is really that simple. Underneath the surface is a meta game that is equal parts frustrating and satisfying. The simple fact that co-Editor Evan Tognotti and I have pored hours over deciphering an alphanumeric language to move through the deeper puzzles is both fascinating and insane.
Despite the bugs that plague Fez (of which there are far too many), I have devoted hours to solving it’s riddles. I have notes plastered across my wall dedicated to the crazy puzzles in Fez, which on some days makes me question my sanity. I would be lying if I said Fez was anything other than one of the most compelling and interesting experiences I’ve had this generation.