Now that summer is here, most students will find themselves with an abundance of free time. A great way to waste some of those summer hours is with “FEZ,” the new mind-bending platformer for the Xbox 360 arcade.
Players play as “Gomez” a weird little pixelated character in a two-dimensional video game world. In the beginning of the game, Gomez gets the titular fez, a little red hat with a tassel, which allows him to rotate the entire world 90-degrees in any direction.
The ability to rotate the world is what makes “FEZ” so unique. Two platforms which seem to be too far away from each other may actually be right next to each other when the perspective changes. Most of the game’s puzzles can only be solved by looking at the level from every possible angle.
The game is all about trial and error. If Gomez falls too far off of a platform or plummets off the side of a cliff, he comes back to life almost instantly. Unlike other platform based arcade games, “FEZ” is not about survival. The challenge is about figuring out where to go and what to do.
Polytron, the creators of “FEZ” have put an insane amount of detail into a game that at first seems simplistic. There are secret passageways and doors everywhere, and some of the levels completely change the format of the game. One of the levels involves using a cell phone to unlock a secret door, another one turns the game into a rhythm-based music challenge, and some levels require the player to pay close attention to which side of their controller is vibrating.
Even though it is done in a throwback Super Nintendo-era style, the game is still beautifully crafted. The game transitions from day to night frequently, and some of the puzzles can only be solved in the dark. The music for the game is fantastic and manages to blend old school videogame noises with an epic cinematic score.
One of the only issues with the game is the confusing map system. The game involves a lot of backtracking through old levels, and it is easy to get lost. It may be necessary to keep a notebook nearby to jot down notes for some of the more complicated parts.
“FEZ” is like Mario for adults. It brings back fond memories of classic games while also forcing the player to use their brain. For only about $8 in the Xbox Marketplace, this little game packs in a lot of gameplay. Even after the end is reached, there are still more secrets to find and puzzles to solve.