Fez


Last week, I opened up platformer with a twist, Fez to give it a whirl, having gotten it free from Epic.  I normally am not one for playing platformers on PC, but free certainly beats $13 for it on PS4 so…yeah, PC it is LOL I’d gotten curious about Fez from hearing Rob on Playstation Access gushing over it more than once, which was another reason to take advantage of the giveaway.

Fortunately, Pez has relatively simple controls and lets you use arrows to move (I seriously hate using WASD), so I was able to play it with little trouble. The basic concept is fairly simple: you play as Gomez, a 2D creature who suddenly discovers a third dimension when he’s tasked to save the world! You explore the world to collect bits of cubes that will unlock more doors and become the key to saving Gomez’s world.

The world is very much like a traditional 2D platform, but with the twist of you being able to shift perspective by turning the 3rd dimension. As you progress through the game, that mechanic is used in some very creative ways to keep the gameplay fresh and challenging.  Many jumps and areas to access will require figuring out how to get there through the different “sides” of the world or to otherwise utilize the perspective shift creatively to continue on.

The artwork is quite lovely and hits those nostalgia spots so nicely. Getting around is both easy and difficult, as it is fairly easy to find yourself wondering just where the heck you are as you keep going deeper and deeper into new levels when you thought you were just going through a single door.  More than once I ended up redoing big chunks of the game trying to get back to some other spot, as the game map is only marginally useful for navigation (mostly it lets you see where a specific door goes and if you’ve “finished” that area).

In addition to unique elements for each major area that fit the overall theme of that world’s design, Fez does have some light puzzle elements.  Most of these are geared towards getting optional items, like treasure maps, artifacts, and anti-cubes (which I STILL don’t know the purpose of LOL). Several of the puzzles pay homage to Tetris which is just fun, and there are some musical puzzles that, if you play on PC, you’d do well to do with headphones on (doing it with speakers was aggravating!).

As far as platformers go, I’d say Fez is a pretty good one for folks who maybe struggle with harder ones like Crash Bandicoot, Donkey Kong Country, or the like. There are no enemies in the game. You can only die by falling, landing in non-swimmable liquid, or jumping into a black hole, and the game just puts you back on your last platform.  Not dealing with tons of lost progress or “haha you died” screens reduces some of the stress and frustration when you spend a few deaths figuring out a particular jump/climb sequence. I think this makes it very approachable for someone wanting to try a platformer without a huge time commitment or the sheer frustration some bigger ones can cause.

That said, even though I do play larger, more difficult platformers, I still found Fez entertaining, challenging, and at times cuss inducing as I worked out which way(s) I needed to flip the perspective to make my way from one spot to another. I also had a nice sense of accomplishment when I worked out some of those puzzles or particularly tricky jumps. Finishing the game took me roughly 8 hours spread across 3 or 4 days.

One disappointment playing via Epic – no achievements :-/ I’m not a diehard trophy/achievement hunter, but I do like earning them some (even though I’m used to not getting them on the PS2 and older consoles), so if I’d actually bought the game I’d have aimed for Steam or PS4 instead.  Still, it is a game I highly recommend and I hope you’ll enjoy as much as me 🙂