Alomst every gamer must know about Fez. A game that was originally released on XBLA around two years ago and was a bit of a focal point of the documentary Indie Game: The Movie. It has been through a bit of a development hell and release dates were pushed further and further back. It got to a point where there was even a little bit of a backlash from fans. It’s creator Phil Fish divided opinion and became somewhat of a controversial figure over the past few years.
That said, when Fez finally released it proved the wait was worth it and here at Gamestyle, we were massive fans. It is hard to think now, that this game was a big deal, an Indie game that had AAA following. Going back just a couple of years and the Indie movement on consoles was still new, they weren’t the industry darling, but here we had a game that was built from the ground up by a very small team and it was as well known as the latest Call Of Duty in many circles.
It really is a fantastic game too, with players taking on the role of Gomez, a 2D character who lives in a 2D world, before his life it turned upside down and he is shown that there is something beyond his realm. The world around him is actually 3D, thus setting him on a journey of discovery.
Whilst the mechanics in Fez aren’t completely unique, having seen similar in games such as Crush, it is how well the 2D and 3D work together that makes this stand out. Rather than just switching you between 2D and 3D, you actually only play in 2D, which keeps the game mechanics on the players end simple and understandable. The 3D element comes in by allowing the user to rotate the world and start to show areas of the world that would have been previously unseen. Thus allowing new elements to open up. Ladders to get to higher area, doors to hidden rooms, or even changing where a platform is reachable from.
Fez walks the line between puzzler and platformer remarkably well, and whilst there is a fair amount of traversal around levels, it is the puzzle elements that really stand out. Working out how to reach a certain area, or what what you may have missed whilst trying find those remaining cubes. To even finding hidden areas and secrets that open up the world of Fez even further.
Yet the gameplay mechanics and the story that drive it are only part of the charm. The world of Fez is simply beautiful, it is a lesson that shows what can be done with old ideals with added power. Years ago 2D games were made out of necessity, 16bit consoles wouldn’t cope with full on 3D worlds. Then, they were forgotten, as more power meant this became possible. However not without its problems, games had more bugs, graphics looked a lot poorer and that beauty was lost.
In games like Fez though, there is an outstanding amount of attention to detail. Every little block seems to have been lovingly created, the colours burst from the screen and especially on the Vita’s OLED display, it just pops. In fact, it is the design of the levels and the attention to detail in that design that keeps you there, you never actually want to leave, you can happily lose yourself for hours on end.
Now as we said, this is a 2 year old game that is now seeing a release on PSN, but having it open to a wider audience who may have missed out first time around in no bad thing. It is cross-buy and cross-save here too. We recommend playing on the Vita for the most part, is we really cannot state enough, just how wonderful it looks on ‘Dat Screen’.
The Cross-Save deserves a mention too, as it is the best implementation so far. You have a choice of four save slots in the game. 1-3 which are local and a Cross-Save slot. We choose that, as we wanted to test the game across the three platforms. Starting on the Vita, we got to a point in the game and saved. Then booting up the PS4 version, that save was in the Cross-Save slot instantly and we could carry on. Played some more, then back to the Vita. There it was, updated and ready to carry on. Where other games have had Cross-Save which has been a bit cumbersome, this is just works. So kudos to the development team for that.
So what of Fez? Who is it for? The answer to that is everyone. If you haven’t played before, then you must pick it up instantly, hell even if you played and completed, it is the sort of game that you will be happy to play through again. If you get it on PSN, you don’t even need to settle on a single platform, what we can say is that the PSN release if the definitive version of Fez. Stop what you are doing and buy it now.