FEZ (2012)

Fez_title Fez_game

FEZ combines two different halves into one game: one is a beautiful-to-look-at vaguely puzzle-ish platformer whose main objective is to collect a certain number of objects to finish the game.

I say vaguely puzzle-ish because the major obstacle is to master the rotate-the-world-around-its-axis mechanic that set’s FEZ apart from other platformers and gives it its third dimension. It’s a neat mechanic that offers some incredible pixel-vistas and often manages to make you forget how little interactivity and actual gameplay FEZ really contains. But it’s merely puzzle-ish because once you get it, its hard to call the remaining tasks challenging, just traverse all the unexplored roads and eventually you get all the necessary cubes to the get the normal ending.

The other half of FEZ is a fiendish adventure game whose puzzles require you to think about stuff like key inputs, decryption, and other highly abstract stuff. It’s incredibly inventive in a way but represents an approach to game-making I rarely like. It’s all about puzzles barely connected to the world they’re set in, with either none or a tenuous-at-best explanation why they are placed there at all. It’s basically a completely different meta-game welded to the world of FEZ, where the seams can easily be seen.

And if you don’t go for that kind of abstract puzzle solving, then everything after the normal route becomes a chore to play (not helped at all by the cumbersome way to traverse the world of FEZ, even with all the portals around). And the normal route isn’t that great a game either.

The beautiful graphics are a somewhat good compensation, I just wish there was more game in it I could enjoy.