Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios / Developer: Polytron Corporation / Platform: Xbox 360

Fez was one of those games I fell in love with after the first trailer, years ago.  I’m a huge sucker for pixelly graphics and grand adventures, so I may be slightly biased here.  Regardless, after about four years of development hell and a bit of a controversy surrounding the game’s lead designer, Fez is finally here.

I don’t want to reveal too much, as much of what made Fez great for me was discovering everything by myself, but Fez is one of the first games to really blow my mind in a long time.  What starts as a smart, cute 2D puzzle/platformer quickly becomes something more grand and memorable than I thought possible.

The main draw of Fez, aside from the retro-esque graphics, is its usage of perspective in puzzles.  You see, the world of Fez is 2D.  Except when it’s 3D.  Then it’s still 2D, but… different.  What I mean is, much like most 2D platformers, everything exists on a flat plane.  However in Fez you can rotate the world around, while keeping everything 2D.  It’s hard to explain unless you’ve played something like Super Paper Mario.  It’s something you’d need to see firsthand to understand.  Anyway, many of Fez’s puzzles revolve (ha) around this mechanic at first, but things quickly become more complicated.  Not exactly difficult complicated, but more this is not something I expected from a videogame complicated.  In a good way.  Follow what I’m saying?

One of the best parts of playing Fez is exploring all the different pathways it throws at you all at once.  There is no real final destination (well… there is, but you don’t figure that out until way later), so all you really need to do is just explore around and find all the little collectables and secrets strewn throughout.  It’s so much fun turning around and going through a door you missed earlier, only to find an entirely new branch of pathways to sink another hour or so into.  Each individual room is well-designed and so much fun to traverse, it’s like a little Christmas every time you find something new.

I love Fez.  I love the graphics, I love the incredible sense of exploration, and I love the incredible amount of surprises it has buried within its many corners.  Fez was a game I was personally excited about for a long time, and the sheer height that it soared above my expectations blew me away.  My only real issue with the game is that once it’s all over, and you’ve found every collectable and every secret, and saw every corner of the map… it’s all over.