When I didn’t really want to play another shooter, I tried out Fez, a little indie platform game I’d heard about. The concept behind it is simple yet utterly brilliant.
The protagonist, Gomez, lives in a standard, two-dimension world, and gets around as you’d expect: jumping on things, climbing ladders, riding on moving platforms, and so on. Except he has been exposed to a special gnosis: there’s a third dimension. The places Gomez visits exist in three dimensions, but you view them head on, so they just appear 2D. With a press of a shoulder button the world rotates 90 degrees to the right or left, and now you see that view of the level. You still play the screen as if it’s 2D, but the change in perspective makes getting around more interesting.
I LOVE VILLAGE!
The concept alone makes Fez interesting, but there’s more. The game is filled with oddities and secrets. It starts off having you travel throughout the cosmos in search of cubes, and that task isn’t too tricky, and some fun. Before too long, you’ve finished the game! It starts over, only something is different now, and your quest continues. And completing this second part is not easy.
There’s a language to decode. There’s another code to work out. There are secrets within secrets. Puzzles often link together even though the parts are located far away. There are QR codes (that apparently you don’t NEED to do, thank goodness, because my CueCat is broken.) There are treasure maps that seem to make no sense (but they do!) There are owls. Fez doesn’t hold your hand through this, and I admit I had to go online to find a lot of hints. Some of the solutions I found there made me not feel bad about looking them up; I would never have solved those puzzles because life is finite.
Even despite these things, it’s a lot of fun, and as I say, you don’t feel bad about having to look some things up and get a nice sense of accomplishment when you figure something weird out on your own. But there’s a limit, and I’ve reached mine with Fez.
I’m only three cubes from what I believe is the true and final end, and I think that’s where I’ll remain. The first one is behind the kind of puzzle I absolutely despise in platform games, a rising water puzzle. You know, where you have to go up as fast as you can to avoid being drowned/boiled and if you do, you get to start all over. Boo to that. The other two are in a place where the game literally wants me to wait around and see when they show up. See my previous note on the finite quality of life.
So, Fez: very hard, but fun until it isn’t. Maybe at some point I’ll get those last three cubes, but for now I’m moving on to something else.