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publisher: Polytron Corp.
developer: Polytron Corp.
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Apr 13, 12
|» All About Fez on ActionTrip|
Well, it’s a shame they didn’t port this game a bit sooner. That’s right, Fez is a semi-2D semi-3D platformer that got some well-deserved attention as soon as it hit Xbox Live Arcade back in 2007. The game’s simple premise and straightforward gameplay are probably two main reasons why you’ll be drawn into its pixelized world right from the start.
Gomez, the main character, begins his journey, and we see him exploring a pretty-looking 2D world, when all of a sudden, he discovers a magical artifact called the Hexahedron. The mysterious artifact has a special property that grants Gomez the ability to unlock a third dimension. Such a thing is unheard of in his little 2D village, which now, thanks to the Hexahedron, can be seen from an entirely different angle – several different angles, in fact. So, the fun begins.
Development studio Polytron made an admirable move by taking all the fun you get from a standard 2D platformer and then enrich that by giving players the ability to rotate every location by 360 degrees. Such a feature allows for a truly impressive number of 2D/3D platform-oriented puzzles. As you progress, Gomez gets to jump, climb and shimmy his way across increasingly challenging puzzles. Solving puzzles is usually very rewarding. Also, they’re not too difficult. One or two of might make you scratch your head a bit, until you understand just how to get to your goal, which usually involves locating the entrance to a new area or discovering a treasure chest. The game excels at giving you a variety of problems to solve, so it’s never repetitive.
Rotate, jump, rotate. Move on.
That's a very pixely forest.
There’s a certain flow to this game. No matter how hard the challenge may seem at first, the player usually solves it relatively quickly, thus stepping into an unexplored level, filled with even more challenges. Fez goes beyond solving puzzles and jumping from platform to platform. Thanks to its unique gameplay mechanics the game surprises you on more than one occasion. Your main goal is to collect cubes in order to unlock doors and passageways to new locations. Each location is divided into many different sub-levels, some of which contain treasures such as maps, hidden keys etc.
There are some confusing moments. Normally, when you keep exploring new areas in Fez, you should be fine, because the challenge increases and it gets more fun with every new puzzle. However, when you want to return to a specific location, you may get stuck. The in-game map system doesn’t help much. In order to access an area that you have already explored, you have to go back go through a series of portals or go back using the passageways you used the first time around. Since you are not told which route to take, you are left to remember the way yourself or look for that specific area using just the map, which doesn’t provide the best representation of the levels you’ve already visited. Okay, we don’t see this as a particularly big drawback. It’s not impossible to find your way around. It’s just that we feel that the map system could’ve been a bit more intuitive.
All peskiness aside, there’s a touch of brilliance to this game. You feel the incentive to play on, because solving a puzzle unlocks a new door and you enter into another uncharted and mysterious world. We love the music and the retro-style, pixelized art. Fez harks back to 2D classics, so if you’re anything like me, nostalgia should kick in almost instantly. At the same time, you’ll enjoy the 3D twist that allows for some amazing and truly unique platform-style puzzle solving. If you haven’t tried this on the Xbox 360, now’s your chance to dive into the PC version.
Simple yet challenging 2D/3D fun, gives a whole new perspective to classic platformers;
Map system needs a bit of work.
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