Fez Review by KMetalmind



13 Apr 2012 13 Apr 2012
42 14 17
I´ll start this by saying just this: This game is a fucking masterpiece, and it´s easily one of the best XBLA games ever. It´s a completely awesome mix of platforming and puzzles (hard hard puzzles, not the kind of "puzzles" most games nowadays have). If you like both genres, this should be an instant-buy, although let´s go into some detail first:


If you haven´t seen the graphics, check some screens, a trailer or just better: play the demo. They are gorgeus pixelated graphics, with care and detail in every room in the entire game. In fact, the entire game is done on 3D, and it has plenty of cool effects over it. It´s one of the best looking games with pixelated style.


Again, the music is kind of classic, with melodies that are based on 4-8 bits ones, but they are really nice and they rarely get annoying. And even when the music is annoying, it´s intentional, it´s part of the game. It blends perfectly with the graphic and gameplay style, and I would go as far as to say that you will want to hear some of the tunes after leaving the game. It´s that good.


Ans this is the brilliant part of the game. Controls are really simple: move left, right, jump, talk, use, turn world to the left, and turn world to the right. With just that, the game will throw at you levels and levels where you won´t know WTF must you do to get that collectible or get to that door. It´s so simple yet so complex, that is hard not to love it. You will get the basic controls down in a few minutes, but you will suffer nearly everytime you find a new room.

The basic gimmick of the game is that everything plays 2D, yet you can twist the world in 3D, so unreachable platforms get closer, and you can get through paths that you wouldn´t be able to in either 2D or 3D. It´s a hard to explain effect, but you will learn it right away in the beginning. In fact, you will rarely get stuck by this gimmick alone. You can´t die in this game, so that really helps too.

All the levels in the game form a huge labyrinth, with tons and tons of collectibles, alternative paths, etc. But don´t think this game is like a classic platformer, because it isn´t. You will have to EARN most of the collectibles. And no, that doesn´t mean you will need ability to get to that collectible: you will need to use your brain, and a lot. You will have to brainstorm at each puzzle and try and retry until you find the solution. In fact, the game shows you from the beginning a map to know exactly where are you everytime, and even more important: how many and what kind of collectibles have you left on any room you arrive to. So it´s not a matter of just finding the collectibles, it´s a matter of learning how to get them.

I extremelly NOT RECOMMEND using a walkthrough, as you will get stucked in many places from just the beginning, but it feels so right everytime you solve one room. Think of this like Braid or Limbo, they aren´t that fun if you just look at the solution everytime, and if you look just once, you could spoil yourself similar puzzles, and you will get stuck in a few minutes again on the next one, as you have to learn to solve the puzzles.

The game has 32 cubes, 32 anticubes, 4 artifacts, some treasure maps and keys for opening some doors. You can finish the game with just 32 cubes of any kind, so you will surely be able to get to the ending. Unlocking everything without using a guide it´s on an entire different level though. You can restart the game with the option New Game+, so you can keep getting everything after finishing the game. You´ll unlock a nice extra too, but I won´t spoil it...

Personally I´ve just finished the game with just 32 cubes, so I have nearly half of the game to replay. I´ve played for more than 5 straight hours, so the game has a really nice length too. I would go as far as to say that I will enjoy replaying it. So it has a nice value for its price.


So far they don´t seem to be that hard, as you just have to play the game. Getting everything on it seems to net 200/200, so even if the game can be really hard on many parts, if you are a completionist, you will get it sooner or later. No play with x lives achievement, no finish the game in x hours achievement... Just complete 100% of the game. There isn´t anything missable, so it´s just a fact of playing and solving everything until you unlock them all.


Seriously, if you like platforming and puzzle games, BUY this game. It will blow your mind. It´s that good. I surely hope this game sells well enough, as this is a perfect example on how an XBLA game should be. And at 800 points, it´s just plain awesome.

Feel free to ask anything on the comments if it isn´t commented on the review. I know I haven´t been too specific, but I don´t want to spoil anything of this superb game to anyone. toast
Hello MeowI'd normally say that this is a bit early for a review.
This game is an exception. :)
Posted by Hello Meow on 14 Apr 12 at 00:40
Mama Luigi 64Approximately how many hours can it take to complete the game normally? And 100%?
Posted by Mama Luigi 64 on 14 Apr 12 at 02:37
KMetalmindYou can complete the game in around 6-9 hours depending on how much time you take at the puzzles if you doesn´t use a guide and you go to the ending at the moment you can do it (half collectibles). I can´t tell you a good estimation for 100% yet, but I think it would easily double the time without a guide, there are some really tough puzzles. Once I hit the 100% though, I will update the guide with that info.
Posted by KMetalmind on 14 Apr 12 at 09:01
KMetalmindOk, the games takes easily 15-22h to 200/200 without a guide, and even then, there´s just some more things to get... So it can be really long...

There´s some really hard puzzles towards the end.
Posted by KMetalmind on 14 Apr 12 at 19:02
KMetalmindI wrote the review before getting 200/200, but anyway, I can confirm you don´t need to decode the alphabet to complete it. The other decoding in the game isn´t that difficult (maybe the numbers), but you can get 200/200 without even understanding the alphabe at all.

Anyway, I get what you say too, last puzzles in the game go too far...
Posted by KMetalmind on 15 Apr 12 at 07:20
KMetalmindAgain, you don´t need to solve that riddle to 200/200 or to finish the game. It´s like saying Braid is too hard because it had stars on it and they were really hard to find and to pick. It´s just a really hard extra for those wanting a little more after getting everything else. There´s no other puzzles in the entire game where you need to decypher the alphabet.

That brings down to two decyphers:
* Numbers: I agree it´s hard, but there´s like 3-4 riddles with them. Most of them can be finished by brute-force, and I can tell that because the only riddles where I needed them were the bell and joining the 4 treasure maps. I don´t feel it´s so hard considering it´s one of the latest challenges in the game, and even people with problems could look at a guide and finish both of them in like 3 minutes.
* Symbols: Yeah, this is actually needed if you want 200/200. You can finish the game and earn like 9/12 achievments easily without those. But seriously, are they that hard to solve? I didn´t need any class room to decypher them, it´s obvious that those symbols mean something once you are on a cleared room with only those strange symbols. And you only to understand that once, just to be able to do most of the anticube riddles.

Games shouldn´t be completed in a couple of days, back in the day, you could be stuck on a puzzle game for months or years. Nowadays you have online guides, and if you want to 200/200 the game, which is a little challenge, it´s expected you make some effort. It launched 2 days ago and there´s already 56 people in TrueAchievements that have completed it. The entire game´s ratio will go down quickly as more people play for more than 2 days, and I personally think the hardest achievement will have less than 4 ratio, which is a lot better than almost all XBLA games.

With that said, I´ve already stated in the review numerous times that it has HARD puzzles. In fact, I stated that so much that I nearly don´t talk about the platforming aspect, because yeah, it has a little platforming and a lot of puzzles. Demo is bad because it doesn´t show that, I totally agree on that :P
Posted by KMetalmind on 15 Apr 12 at 20:03
KMetalmindThere are 3 puzzles which aren´t related to the game completion, which are the ridiculous hard ones. Actually on of those can be easy because the solution is too easy to get while not understanding at all the clues, so there´s actually two of them. Don´t bother with the alphabet cypher if you want, I personally didn´t :)

And yeah, I totally agree, both the demo and the reviews fail to mention that the game is a puzzle one, not a platforming one. In fact, there´s an easy cheat out there that practically nullifies the platforming section of the game. So even developers acknowledged that is a puzzle game over a platforming one.
Posted by KMetalmind on 16 Apr 12 at 14:41
BWchief117THAT cheat only takes effect after new game +, as a side note.

I do find it odd that the decryptions were so hidden, given modern standards of ease of play, but I have heard it can all be found and deciphered in game...
Posted by BWchief117 on 18 Apr 12 at 06:09
YinExceptional review, thank you for writing.
Posted by Yin on 20 Apr 12 at 13:23

It can be all deciphered ingame. In fact, my girlfriend played the game without using internet for searching clues and she deciphered the entire alphabet right in front on my eyes without any kind of external clue. And we are both from Spain, so we have to translate from Fez to English and from English to Spanish :))

I think the best tip for solving everything (except the extremely hard last 3 puzzles which aren´t needed for achievements), is that the 4, 8 and 16 cubes doors have clues for solving the rest of the game, and you have to look closer at everything on those rooms, even if you have golden them. Bot alphabet and numeric system are easy to decipher from those rooms, tetris pieces are easier on some other room though.
Posted by KMetalmind on 22 Apr 12 at 08:56
DEV1L MAY DIENice review :D

you are right about not needing to know the letters and numbers but the tetris symbols is a must know but can be learned in game. everything you need is in the game but would reqiure a alot of time and patience.
Posted by DEV1L MAY DIE on 24 Apr 12 at 15:40
KMetalmindThanks!! :D

The tetris symbols are required for anticubes, yeah... They are the easiest to decypher though :)
Posted by KMetalmind on 25 Apr 12 at 15:39
oMikeYou have made me buy this game. At 800MSP its an absolute Frikkin bargain. A* review mate. Keep them coming :)
Posted by oMike on 23 Aug 12 at 14:32
KMetalmindI´m glad you liked it! I hope you enjoy the game even more! ;)
Posted by KMetalmind on 26 Aug 12 at 15:02