Fez iOS/Android is an excellently themed video game with an original concept, tight controls, and a stellar soundtrack! This game will bring you the retro gaming feel, as it celebrates everything we loved about video games in the 90s and then on. With it being deceptively simple, the game features an excellent and innovative mechanic of rotating your world and changing the perspective on things in order to get around obstacles and solve puzzles.
Developed by Phil Fish, Polytron Corp, and Blitworks, and published by Trapdoor, this indie puzzle-platform game features an ingenious combination of two-dimensional and three-dimensional environments in which you need to explore things, find your way around, and solve puzzles to acquire objectives.
The Story Plot
At the very beginning of the game, in a casual chat Fez has with a villager, you are given the well-known words of wisdom – “reality is perception. Perception is subjective”.
Well, as explained earlier, perception is the main theme in this ingeniously thought-out video game, where you play as Gomez, a white spirit with a blob head who lives in a peaceful pixel village in a two-dimensional world.
One day, an ominous monolith-like giant golden cube shows up at the village and explodes into countless pieces and threatens Gomez’s world with glitching, crashing, and resetting. The entire thing looks like an old DOS boot screen, which is a nice throwback, one of many in this game by the way.
A magical red hat, the Fez, grants Gomez the ultimate knowledge of the secret to the entire existence – there are 3 dimensions. It is when Gomez gains the ability to shift the perspective in a 3D environment, which is a crucial tool to help him with his task. He needs to go and find all of the golden cube’s pieces and reassemble it.
The 3D world view rotation Gomez learned is the main mechanic in Fez (iOS and Android). The game is also available on multiple other platforms, mainly consoles, but the developer ported it to mobile quite nicely, with the gameplay mechanic intact and virtually the same as on any other version.
With the swipe of the screen you rotate the perspective 90 degrees at a time, so you get four different angles of viewing your current position and situation. The player uses this mechanic to get around obstacles, because a dead end in one viewing angle may not be in another, or a flat wall may reveal a platform when you shift your view, and so on.
This perspective change also enables the player to reveal hidden areas, which is also an old-school game nostalgia throwback. This brain-teasing mechanic is further followed by the classic platform-style gameplay, with natural, intuitive, and fun features, from dialogues to climbing wall vines and more.
Phil Fish, the game’s artist and designer, clearly wanted to show his boyhood Nintendo fascination, as even the chest opening is a throwback to a well-known game from the 90s – Zelda. The game will also immediately bring about the Super Mario Bros feeling, paired with a lot better appearance, naturally.
You will also discover warp routes and other hidden worlds, and Fez will even require you to grab a pen and some paper in order to decipher wall scribblings, one of which is entirely composed in Tetris shapes by the way.
As you progress, you will unravel the world map, delving deeper into the rabbit hole as this paradigm shift of a video game world will lead you to the most peculiar places.
The deceptively simple graphics are also made intentionally to give you the nostalgia feeling, but it is also there to bring back the old platform puzzle way of presenting players with problems and secret pathways. The dark, purple areas of the world are usually a signal that there is a puzzle there for you to solve to get a golden cube part, while the bright and colorful areas are made for the standard jump-and-climb style gameplay.
The entire presentation will take you back, but the 8-bit era is brought to the future with this title. The stellar music and the black holes which break the usual 8-bit feeling will also help give this game a futuristic atmosphere.
Fez iOS/Android doesn’t feature any time limits in gameplay, so it lets you take your time as you explore and solve its puzzles, but in its entirety, the game is somewhat short, as most of the web feedback states. The delightful and playful atmosphere of the game probably only intensifies the feeling of letdown as the game ends, but the hidden levels and the vast world map should be enough for most players to get their nostalgia thrills.
Fez is a beautiful and clever game of perception and reinvigoration of the old genres and 8-bit atmospherics. It will remind you why you started playing video games in the first place, and make you realize all that time spent gaming was not wasted. Not in the slightest!