Fez (PSN) Review: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

by David Sanchez May 7, 2014 @ 10:24 am

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You know, that Phil Fish is kind of a genius. When I first played Fez on Xbox Live Arcade, I didn’t really see that. Of course, that could be because I didn’t actually play all the way through. Recently, however, I got to the end of the PlayStation Network version of the game, and my mind was blown. It’s finally here, people. Fez is available on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Vita, so if you’ve yet to check out this delightful, charming, and whimsical adventure, do yourself a favor and go play it as soon as possible.

You play as Gomez, a small pixelated creature who obtains a special gift upon receiving a fez. Said gift is the ability to rotate the world around him. This allows him to see, explore, and experience everything in a way that he never had before, and in a way that his fellow townspeople could never even begin to imagine.

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That seems to be the mantra of Fez: imagination. The world you’re dropped into is rife with beautiful art and wonderful ideas — you just have to go out there and seek everything out for yourself. Thankfully, it’s an absolute treat to go out exploring in the gushingly cheery world of Fez. The moment you begin playing, you can’t help but to want to explore and discover, see and do, witness and accomplish. This is the kind of game that gives you as much you as invest into it, and it makes you want to invest a lot.

The immersive world of Fez may not be instantly enthralling for everyone. As you may already know if you’ve kept up with the game in the past, there are really two parts to this riveting experience. The first tasks you with collecting 32 cubes, which consist of either whole cubes or cube fragments that you put together to make one cube. These aren’t all that difficult to find. Enter a few buildings, rotate the levels a few times, and you’ll be well on your way to accumulating almost all of the required cubes to see the credits roll.

When that happens, one of two things will occur. You’ll ealither be content with what you achieved in Fez, or you’ll want more. Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely worth it to jump back in and continue exploring. By now you’ve most likely heard all about the game’s secret language and number system. These elements, which aren’t instantly apparent during your first go-around, are an integral part of the Fez experience and are pivotal if you wish to collect the addition 32 anti-cubes, which are quite fiendish to uncover.

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The thing I took away from my play-through of developer Polytron Corporation’s lovingly crafted endeavor was that you should play Fez the way you want to play it — but always have a good time with it. If you want to have a simpler adventure and don’t want to deal with taking notes, scouring the Internet for other players’ hints, and playing detective, just get those initial 32 cubes.  That said, if you really do want to take in everything that Fez has to offer, expect to invest plenty of time and effort into its many captivating intricacies.

If you’ve seen screenshots and trailers of the game, then you know just how gorgeous it looks. Even then, its entrancing stages look even more brilliant when you’re actually playing. Being able to twist and turn the world around to explore it further only serves to add to the beauty. It’s actually kind of inspiring to be able to discover and see more of everything as you rotate the stages. Of course, the adorable nature of the game’s NPCs and animal creatures is also pretty sweet and adds to the overall artistry.

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Fez doesn’t just give you an excellent view of its spinning lands, though. The game also sounds really, really great. The soundtrack composed by Disasterpeace consists of stunning music that will stay with you long after you’ve finished playing. You’re bound to have your favorite tracks, but even then, each piece comes together to build what is easily one of the most incredulously surreal yet intensely atmospheric collections of music in a video game.

Play Fez to have fun with it. This is a game inspired by the days of the NES and SNES, when games filled so many people with awe and wonder. It’s a magical little game that pushes the envelope for creativity, and its mesmerizing sense of childlike discovery is unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory. Because of that, Fez absolutely deserves to be played.

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