Fantastic Senses Explosion on Xbox LIVE Arcade - FEZ game review

Author: Przemysław Zamęcki
Date: 2012-04-18 10:00:00
The review was based on the X360 version. Also applies to the PS3 version

The second decade of the 21st century is extremely interesting in the gaming industry. It turns out that we have reached a stage where an independent creator, without a background of unnecessary scribblers, can give the world something that will not only prevent it from getting a rash, but even speechless with delight. FEZ did not have an easy story - the game's premiere, postponed several times, was significantly delayed. Hence, the solutions used in it are no longer so shocking with freshness, but today, after the premiere of FEZ, it ceases to have any significance. I did not think I would write it again, but this year (and only a quarter has passed) it is the second title that I would not hesitate to compare to a work of art . PlayStation 3 has received an amazing and insanely emotional Journey , and the Xbox 360 can boast of FEZ .

What exactly is FEZ ? Simply put, it can be said that a two-dimensional platformer, the main character of which, Gomez, is able to manipulate the third dimension through ninety-degree camera rotations that change the perspective of the two-dimensional background. Thanks to this, we create transitions and shortcuts that allow you to explore the location. FEZ , however, offers much more than just the fun of perspective. In fact, it is a very complicated game filled with intelligent puzzles , in which exploring the half of the open world is games with the player consisting in putting together, brick by brick the history of this universe. Which - I assure you - is no less fun than solving puzzles.

FEZ consists of dozens of smaller and larger locations to which we gain access along with finding the next golden cubes. Which is our main goal, in most cases not representing some great intellectual challenge. The cubes are scattered in different places and the only problem in reaching some of them is the proper perspective setting. Collecting thirty-two large dice, each consisting of eight smaller ones, ends the game. At the same time, it is an introduction to the actual knowledge of this production, because breaking it down into prime factors means also finding all the secrets leading to the map treasures, additional artifacts and thirty-two so-called anti-cubes. Locating them is much more difficult than the ordinary ones and in almost all cases it is necessary to solve puzzles to which you don't even know how to go. The authors did not bother to guide the players on the trail and left them alone . Which works fantastic, because it turns out that thanks to this the world gains depth, we become fascinated by the mere finding of clues and the celebration of the wonderful game design. It reminded me vividly of the time spent exploring the mysteries of Myst , and yet these works are separated by a genre gap. During my adventure with FEZ, I also had the impression that its world and some of the solutions proposed by the authors refer to the wonderful series The Legend of Zelda . All these titles represent different genres, different technical solutions, but have at least one common denominator - in each of them something completely new awaits around the next corner.

A map, which may seem unclear at first, is helpful in finding oneself in this mini-universal. This first, not very good impression passes after several dozen minutes, when it suddenly turns out that the dependencies prevailing in FEZ cannot be presented in any simpler way. After a few hours, we only realize that this small world grows to a size that makes it difficult to move easily between distant locations, so returning to a specific place may require even several minutes of walking through the already visited areas. Take it easy, even though FEZ is a platformer, you cannot die in it, because after a failed jump, we immediately respawn in the place from which we made it. There are also no opponents in the game, so the only difficulty on your way back may be finding the right passage. Nevertheless, it is a pity that the authors did not decide on some faster form of travel. Perhaps such a solution would strip FEZ of the aura of mystery?

It is impossible to describe FEZ's artwork otherwise than as brilliant pixel art. It is true that the constant fashion for large pixels may seem boring, but what the people from Polytron did are knocking down with taste, quality of workmanship, ingenuity and diversity. Villages, islets, waterfalls, neon lights, driving rain, a cemetery - long to mention places and phenomena causing uncontrolled "wow" . It is no different with the sound, for which Rich Vreeland, a young composer specializing in chiptune, is responsible. The music for FEZ is excellent and adds character to the game.

FEZ developed in pain for several years. It was worth waiting - this is by far the best adventure and platform game available for Xbox 360 on the Xbox LIVE Arcade service . This title may have been some two years late to be able to be called a milestone in the development of the indie scene or games in general, but you can label it a work of art. What I am doing hereby, and I encourage all the readers to find out for themselves.