15 Apr 2012 15 Apr 2012
Fez is a great platformer and a great puzzle game. The controls work well, the graphics are, simply put, beautiful, and the puzzles are interesting and use the "flip" mechanic (flipping your view of the level at 90-degree increments) in a lot of clever ways. The map and menus, while daunting at first, are useful and never too confusing. The game is a great bang-for-your-buck at 800msp, being that it will most likely take you 10-or-so hours to find everything (which you WILL want to do). Fez is a game that teaches you its rules without overbearing tutorials or too many annoying guide characters. The game definitely feels like an NES game that never was - however, despite how much I want to, I can't ignore a HUGE flaw in the game that a lot of people haven't been mentioning while discussing it. Finding the game's 32 "cubes" is great fun - all the puzzles are solved through normal gameplay using the "flip" mechanic - but the 32 hidden "anti-cubes" (which are necessary to 100% the game and get the real ending) are all hidden in less clever ways. Some are sort of cool - scan a QR code, it'll tell you a button combination to press which will reveal the anti-cube. Okay. But others step way too far "out there". You will have to try to crack the code behind very obscure symbols, wait ridiculous amounts of time for the game to shift between day and night, and do a lot of other strange things that feel archaic and out of place. Sure, the hidden symbols may sound cool, but after you've spent 30 aggravating minutes scribbling down symbols and trying to make sense out of weird glyphs composed of Tetris shapes, it's just unnecessary. To be honest, other than the QR code scans, I don't think I would have solved a single anti-cube puzzle without the internet. How was I supposed to figure out that I was supposed to turn my head to the left and seperate the symbol into the appropriate Tetris block shapes to make it into a code? Even if I had accomplished that, how was I then supposed to know that a left-facing "T" block represented that I had to press down on the analog stick? That a right-facing "Z" block represented a pull of the left trigger? I don't know how anyone has figured this out - and that's not to say that you can't. It's just frustrating that a game with an amazing puzzle mechanic felt the need to fall back on such difficult and archaic puzzles that don't take advantage of the gameplay at all. However, I do still enjoy Fez quite a bit, and recommend it to platformer fans or retro gamers. Just don't be surprised when the anti-cube puzzles have you scratching your head until you hop on the internet in search of an explanation.