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Fez (PC) artwork

Fez (PC) review


"Fez is a charmer of masterful execution that invites you to explore and check your stress at the door."


Indie developed titles and can be rewarding in their diversion from the mainstream. Gomez, the protagonist of Fez, is a charmer represented by a few handfuls of pixels and plenty of affection. Its colorful palette and masterful execution invites you to explore and check your stress at the door.

Released in 2008 to the world by Trapdoor and Polytron Corporation then ported to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3/4 and Vita, Linux and even Steam. My affection for the little braver came into play shortly after wandering around his colourful world. This game does not rely on rosy lenses to lend the depth and breadth of play required by puzzle-platform aficionados.

This single player title is surprisingly demanding both technically and personally, exhibiting noticeable load times and stuttering/object spawn glitches so rare as to not even exist. As you play, necessary skills will develop naturally during playthrough and require surprisingly little practice. Available for so many platforms, performance – its and yours – is less the issue.

Fez has a single, defining mechanic that sets it apart from the titles to which is pays tribute. The title-named hat entrusted to Gomez begins a quest to protect the universe and alters his (and your) perception of two-dimensional space. With it, exploration of all three dimensions becomes possible, thus beginning your collection quest.

Gomez has no voice and very little individuality. He’s not quirky, flawed or otherwise tragic. Instead, he is calm, resolute and prepared. He is the ultimate in crisis management: He has the skills and patience to use them. It’s hard not to be proud of him.

Fez utilizes minimalist presentation to great effect which applies to more than its visuals and dynamic, chip-inspired soundtrack. Disasterpiece is a master of tone; orchestral sweeps encourage you when you seem to need it most while dramatic themes cause you to stop and consider the meaning of reality and your impact upon it.

Why shouldn’t water reflect light on buildings just because they’re stylized? Fez is a holistic representation of game design, if such a thing is possible. Nuanced audio cues from cleverly animated small animals that serve as navigation clues are welcome company on your journey. Traveling from world to world is a themed experience and combats confusion.

Yeah, I’ve gotten lost a few times, but in a world so relaxing and engaging, every moment is a pleasure. Indies have the right idea in this way; we’re passing time, but why not do so in a rewarding, enjoyable way? I look forward to completing this journey, but see no need to rush.

The Good News
This is a thoughtful, beautiful environment, detail-on-detail pixel perfection that scales incredibly well to your screen resolution. Gomez’ personality will charm you through every potentially frustrating puzzle. This is game you are meant to win, and when it seems too easy, taught mechanics are applied in small doses to keep you interested. Parents will especially enjoy the sweet innocence of Gomez and his winsome personality.

The Bad News
You’re going to die… a lot. The sting is removed by literally respawning Gomez on the platform just prior to your fall and there is no  applied guilt, continue system or extra lives to discourage or bring a premature end to your adventure. Getting lost can be annoying-though pleasurable-distraction from your primary goal. Be prepared for a noteworthy timesink.

Recommendation
This is, without reservation, a joy of a game. Overcoming the challenges of ‘just a few mechanics’ and not failing to be understood, this is a fantastic world in which to get lost. Musically sparse but effective and animated with passion. Buy it and don’t wait for a sale.

5/5

hastypixels's avatar
Community review by hastypixels (March 20, 2017)

Once upon a time Asteroids was all he ever needed. Over twenty years later poor optimization still ceases to faze him. Remember kids: bandwidth isn't the answer. Fun is.

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