Fez: Review (PS Vita)

     Fez.  What an interesting game.  To be sure, I don't want to talk about all the hubbub surrounding creator Phil Fish, I just want to talk about this gem of a game he made with Polytron Games.

     In Fez, you play as a simple being named Gomez in a neatly made 2 dimensional world.  One day he is granted an extra dose of power with a fez that imbues him the ability to move in the 3 dimensional space.  And it never feels like a gimmick of a game mechanic.  It feels necessary.  Gomez gains depth in a flat land.  Which is exactly a perfect metaphor for the game itself.

     At its core, Fez is an homage to the platforming puzzle games of yesteryear.  There are many improvements of course, such as not having a high level of frustration inducing difficulty that gaming seems to believe it thrives on.  This is a casual nod to the games we loved in the 1980's not a punishment for lacking enough skills to play it.
     There are a multitude of locations and environments.  Finding interesting ways of solving problems to traverse the platforms is never too difficult.  Although I admit I got stuck on the "Mausoleum Puzzle" in the crypt full of many doorways for quite some time.  Overall though, when you see treasure chests and the Cubes you must find to progress, there is a heartwarming sense of progression.  For completionists there is a massive amount of Cubes, and even Anti-Cubes.  There are QR codes, and hints carved into the walls of rooms as glyphs.  There are owls that can only be met at certain times and some nice people met along the way.

     The colors and sounds are all crisp and clear.  Controls are perfect, I never felt that any mistakes were due to input issues- it was my own fault.  The game is so perfectly compact it is hard to find fault in it.

     Fez is about discovery, perspective, and enjoyment.  Once you get the hang of navigating in a pseudo-third-dimension you'll long for more.  Literally turning the world to alter perceptions is a wonderful game of logic-shifting and spatial reasoning.  It's even hilarious to see how the other people around Gomez can't really understand the "Devil Squares"- the Cubes that are outside their range of perception.  They just don't have the capacity to grasp the greater symbolism.

     I, for one, found Fez to be an amazing and completely immersive experience on the PS Vita.  Fez is not just a reminder about what made retro games so fun, it's an addition of another layer of depth to truly fill out our experience.

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