Thursday, October 23, 2014

Relaxing, Puzzle Platforming at its Best in Fez - The Take Your Time Review

Quick Note: Regardless of whether you play it on your PS4/PS3 at home or on the Vita while away, Fez is an excellent game. The relaxing nature of the game allows gamers of every level of skill to play through and enjoy this unique take on puzzle platforming games.

Since the growth of the indie movement within the gaming industry the 2D platformer has made a huge comeback. Some time after 3D graphics became the industry standard, the genre that so many grew up on was relegated to a new Mario game every now, but little else in the way of new releases. 

Fast forward to the late 2000's and a boom of great, old school 2D games starts to emerge, some of them built like the classics and some taking the genre in new directions. Fez is one of the later. The relaxing feel and smart puzzles make the game stand out as a unique gaming experience that is hard to find anywhere else, and one that players of any skill level should check out.

Watch out for those black holes!

The game starts out with little Gomez exploring his village. Talking with friends and navigating higher up, Gomez eventually stumbles upon an old man wearing a red fez, and before long, a new power is given to the little guy. With his new red fez, Gomez can change the perspective of the world by shifting his view by 90 degrees. With this simple ability, Fez tasks you with exploring the world and finding all the cubes (and anticubes).

Turning the world 90 degrees can change everything. One second, a platform is out of Gomez's reach, but with two twists of the world it's right next to him. Is Gomez out of places to jump to? Turn the world once and platforms that were hiding on the other side of the tower are now visible. Gomez can also combine this world turning with items in the environment, such as levers that, when held, allow Gomez to rotate platforms, or explosives that require the world to turn in order to destroy rock walls that are hiding platforms. It's amazing how complex the puzzles get despite the controls being so simple, especially when trying to collect 100 percent of the various items in the game. 
Gorgeous pixel art that shines on the Vita's OLED screen.

There are plenty of secrets to be found in the world of Fez. From anticubes to artifacts, each room holds a secret asking to be found. Though most require thinking outside the box with Gomez's ability, some will only be able to be tackled once the game is beaten. In New Game + mode, Gomez gains access to first person view, which allows him to find secret passwords, which are in turn used to unlock hidden collectibles. 

Whether you're playing away from home on your PS Vita or at home on your console, Fez feels great. The simplicity behind the controls scheme allows for easy transitioning between playing on the console and playing on the handheld, and with Cross Save and Cross Buy on Sony consoles, it's hard to argue why you wouldn't. Personally, I played most of the game on PS4, but every night I uploaded my save to the cloud and picked it up on the Vita on my lunch break at work with no problems. 
The view of rooms you're about to go into is very useful.

Fez is the perfect game to pick up when you need something that is relaxing and satisfying to play. It's controls and premise are simple and easy to pick up, and the ability to save across your console and handheld make it easy to have access to at any given time. I highly recommend not only playing the game to completion, but taking a shot at all of the games secrets.  

9.5 out of 10

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