Fez (Vita) IndieCade 2013 Preview: A Wondrous Puzzle World in Your Hands

by David Sanchez October 9, 2013 @ 10:35 am

Fez - PSN - Feature

Fez from developer Polytron  Corporation has very easily gone on to become a highly memorable indie title. To call it iconic would certainly be fitting, because while it sticks closely to a puzzle-platforming blueprint that’s become quite familiar, it also dares to do things differently — drastically differently, to be exact. The game is currently available on Xbox Live Arcade and Steam, and it’ll soon be headed to the PlayStation Network. I had a chance to play Fez at this year’s IndieCade in Culver City, and I’m glad to report that everything’s looking wonderful in this handheld version of Phil Fish’s lovely brainchild.

Nothing’s changed as far as gameplay is concerned. Fez is still all about controlling Gomez and his various surroundings by rotating the map. You can discover collectible cubes that open new areas, solve mind-bending puzzles that really test your mental mettle, and engage in some fun little platforming. The Vita version is very much the same experience that people fell in love with back when it landed on the Xbox 360 and subsequently on the PC. The fact that it’ll soon be on the PlayStation Network is great because even more folks will get to play it.

Fez - PSN - 1

What makes Fez truly stand out from not only a lot of other puzzle-platformers, but a lot of other games in general, is its lack of combat, enemies, and threats. You’re never actively running away from any monsters or taking on massive bosses. The world of Fez is a peaceful place, and while it does load up on the problem-solving, it never directly throws things at you that chase you and force you to meet your demise should you fail to perform some sudden action. Fez is all about taking in the world and the mystique and enjoying a peaceful, serene puzzle experience.

The latter part of the game takes on a drastically different turn. While the core puzzle-platforming formula remains an integral part of this adventure, you’re tasked with solving tougher puzzles, uncovering a cryptic alphabet, and even taking down notes to refer to later. While I obviously didn’t play this handheld version long enough to get to those parts (and I doubt the demo was even that long), I can already manage Vita owners immersed in this mysterious land, going from their Vita to a notepad and jotting down important info.

Fez - PSN - 2

Like a lot of other indie games, Fez feels right at home on the Vita. It’s exactly the type of pick-up-and-play adventure that’s perfect for those moments when you feel like gaming in short bursts. Of course, it doesn’t need to be relegated to that. This is such an engrossing, captivating experience that, if you want to play it for a few hours at a time, you can totally do that. The Vita version I got my hands on at IndieCade really seems ideal for when you’re out and feel the need to keep a solid game on you.

Not surprisingly, Fez looks absolutely stunning on the Vita. The art style that was so magnificent to witness before still shines greatly. Every stage is filled with pretty trees, adorable houses, and interesting architecture. The bold art style of Fez was a sight to behold on the Xbox 360 and PC, and its sheer colorful beauty transitions entirely seamlessly onto the Vita’s screen.

Fez - PSN - 3

It was great to witness Fez on the Vita firsthand. The game not only looks great, but it plays as great as it ever did, too. While an exact release date has yet to be confirmed, the game’s PlayStation Network arrival likely can’t be too far off. If you dig the huge indie movement that Sony’s been promoting and you own a Vita, Fez is really a no-brainer. Even if you’ve already played it on the Xbox 360 or PC, it really is a wonderful little title to keep handy at all times. If you’ve never played it and you own a Vita, though, Fez is practically a must.

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