Published on April 22nd, 2014 | by Emmanuel Stratford0
REVIEW: FEZ (PS4)
FEZ is an inventive and infuriating 2D game with 3D elements of mind bending ingenuity so complicated at times that you’ll be wanting to through your controller at the screen. That sounds like I disliked it but I really enjoyed it tremendously as I kept coming back for more, ‘I’ll just explore a little more’, I kept on saying to myself. It harks back to an age of games we rarely even think about these days, one of wonder and simple exploration. It’s levels within levels is a trip to behold and that is where one of the very few flaws of FEZ pops up, with the map being very confusing to figure out where you’re supposed to be going and I went into rooms multiple times trying to find a way back to a certain point.
You play Gomez who lives a peaceful, two-dimensional life until one day when he watches the breakup of a giant golden hexahedron. He then receives a red fez hat with the revelation that his world has three dimensions, this power lets the player rotate the viewable 2D world 90 degrees left or right, revealing four 2D views of a 3D space. These puzzles are built around how the environment interacts between these views as when a level rotates, distant platforms materialise and new paths appear where broken plates become a solid road, ladders missing sections become whole, traveling platforms stay on course. This way of playing takes some time to get used to but after you do you’ll be flying along.
The main aim of the game is to collect the missing cubes so you can rebuild the giant golden hexahedron and progress deeper into the game. There are even more subtle elements at work that the player can ignore or delve into deeper. If you choose the latter then you can reveal hidden warp gates, enigmatic obelisks,invisible platforms, pixelated hieroglyphics, a decipherable alphabet, QR Codes,treasure mapsand treasure chests with keys and artefacts that factor into later puzzles. The game even has no foes or boss fights, you just explore and try to solve the puzzles, even if you die, and it happened a lot when I played it, you’re just beamed back to the last spot you were on.
The 8-bit look is stunningly realistic and breathtakingly realised, the art and colour scheme are so on point you’d think this game as made 20 years ago, the sound and music is atmospheric and calming although there’s no catchy beats or score it will get under skin nonetheless. The puzzle designs are simplistic at times but sometimes you’d go to an area but you haven’t learned the skills to complete it and this is where a another part of FEZ’s frustration lies. It was meant for the player to just wander around and just stumble across how you’re supposed to complete it, this way of playing will not be for everyone and made me give up a few times but I still kept coming back to try to decipher it a little more. That kind of thing is rare in games these days, to enthral and frustrate in equal measure and still leave you wanting to come back.
So if you’re into simple puzzle solving with a deeper rabbit hole of secrets to find then FEZ is for you, it’s now available on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, you can also download a trial for you check out before you buy. On a side note, if you’re interested in Indie games then be sure to check out Indie Game: The Movie, it’s a documentary following some small game developers and it includes the makes of FEZ and it’s well worth a watch, even if you don’t like the game.
Summary: FEZ is a frustratingly good 2D/3D hybrid game which will have you playing for hours and hours.