Fez on PlayStation – Reviewed | Gamerillaz

Fez on PlayStation – Reviewed

Fez on PlayStation – Reviewed
 

It’s hard to write a review for Fez without considering it’s checkered past. After all this is a game that comes with ALOT of emotional baggage. Originally released on Xbox 360 in April 2012 after a fluctuating five year development cycle, the game was met with critical acclaim. Yet anyone who had been following the game’s progress up to that point, or has seen Indie Game: The Movie, would know that it was a difficult journey to fruition for the game and its designer, Phil Fish. Even after the game launched it was met with further problems when Microsoft’s high fees on patch releases left the game with unfixed save-file corrupting bugs. Despite all this Fez 2 was announced at E3 in June 2013. But just one month after this announcement, following a Twitter spat with GameTrailers journalist Marcus Beer, Phil Fish cancelled the games, rage-quit the gaming industry and told Marcus Beer that he should kill himself as he went.

Woah! All of this drama surrounding a charming puzzle platformer!? Now, two years after its original release and with the dust settling after last year’s headline-making game cancellation, Fez comes over to Sony’s platform. Or should that be platforms? Fez is Cross-Buy and Cross-Play on PS4, PS3 and Vita. Given Sony’s focus on Indie Gaming over the past few years this is arguably where Fez should have been to begin with and as you boot up the game and take those first few steps as 2D sprite “Gomez” the game’s troubled past will begin to melt away and what you’re left with is a beautiful, lovingly (perhaps obsessively) crafted game.

Fez has a bright and inviting art style that feels unique

The premise, and core mechanics, are simple. Gomez lives in a 2D world until he receives a unique Fez hat that grants him the ability to navigate the previously unreachable 3D realms of his surroundings. This is performed by the player pressing the controller’s shoulder buttons to rotate the world ninety degrees at a time. After each rotation the world settles back into a 2D plane allowing previously distant objects to form new platforms and new areas to become reachable. If you’ve seen the game in action you’ll know just how good this mechanic looks and feels to perform. It’s as simple as that. Except for it isn’t simple at all. The puzzles will take time, trial and error, and a lot of spatial awareness to overcome. It’s mind-bending to imagine how much thought and calculation must have gone into the design of this game. No wonder Fish is a little bit highly strung! At times the game can feel overwhelming, rather than frustrating, as even the world map is a puzzle onto itself but once you get a good rhythm going Fez becomes a joy to explore. Gomez himself is a simple guy. He can run, jump, open doors and chests, turn the occasional lever and throw around crates and bombs. But the core of every puzzle remains the rotation and alignment of the world itself.

Nowhere to go? Try giving the world a spin

Graphically Fez is reminiscent of, and pays homage to, classic NES titles likes Mario and Tetris. It’s bright and it’s beautiful and it is all set to an ambient electronic soundtrack that gives the game a kind of melancholy sense of wonder. The game is definitely a love letter to gaming’s past and, as such, can feel happy and sorrowful at the same time. One thing is for sure, it manages to carve out its own atmosphere and tone and is all the more special for it.

The world in Fez has plenty of variety

I’ve been primarily playing Fez Cross-Play on PS4 and Vita and can confirm it looks great on both systems. The Cross-Play feature works great and Fez is the kind of game that complements long and short gaming sessions making it a perfect addition to the Vita’s library. One minor annoyance comes from the fact that the rotation mechanic is mapped to both the Vita’s shoulder buttons and the rear touch pad resulting in occasional accidental screen flips! But death is only temporary in Fez as the game always quickly restarts you to where you were before you made that fatal leap.

Sometimes you’ll just want to stop for a minute and take in the beauty of the world

Two years on Fez is just as good as ever. It’s a worthy addition to any gamer’s collection, especially those who enjoy puzzle platforming at its best while indulging in some sweet gaming nostalgia. The Cross-Buy and Cross-Play functionality provides further value to those with all systems and it’s a game jam-packed with more secrets and mysteries than you’ll likely be able to uncover in one lifetime. It’s just a pity we’ll never know what Fez 2 would have held in store.

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