One of the original indie darlings in the eyes of many, FEZ is a game steeped in a whole bucket’s worth of history and intrigue. Nine years after its initial release and no sign of a sequel (as promised by its creator before getting abruptly cancelled), can FEZ still dazzle the new generation of Switch owners? The answer is yes, but let’s pretend you didn’t already know that.
FEZ begins with you playing the role of Gomez, a spritely little chap who says a little bit less than naff-all. After responding to a request to meet the aged adventurer of Gomez’s two-dimensional village, our mute hero is gifted a small fez which allows him to warp his 2D world with 3D impudence. Sadly this has the slightly irritating side effect of tearing reality apart at the seams, which we’re sure you’ll agree is a right old nuisance.
Gomez has to shuffle off to find all 32 cubes that make up the almighty Hexahedron, a doohickey that somehow keeps the world from collapsing, in order to prevent just such an occurrence. These are often found split up into further cubes, eight of which count towards one of the 32 (keeping up?). In order to reach these cubes you’ll have to platform throughout the world, changing the perspective in order to reach otherwise unreachable areas.
You see, each time you pivot the world 90 degrees you’re presented with another entirely 2D perspective that Gomez can traverse with zero depth. This means otherwise distant platforms can be forced to line up granting you access to higher structures, as well as doors that were just flat-out not visible in any way from any other angle.
This is where quite literally the entire game lies; you might play the game for an hour and find a challenge that seems entirely impossible and assume you’ll get a double-jump or something at some point. Nope! You’re stuck with what you’ve got matey-person, you just haven’t figured it out yet. It’s this simplicity that results in a countless number of those ‘a-ha!’ moments that are so important in puzzle games, and what makes FEZ such a joy to play.
Puzzles vary in difficulty fairly significantly, but most of the greater challenge comes from a second version of the collectable cubes you so desire called anti-cubes. That’s right, as well as the 32 standard cubes which are often split up into eight mini-cubes, you’ll have 32 anti-cubes to find as well should you wish. As previously hinted, these anti-cubes are generally much harder to work out, or even find, but are totally optional. There are even some frankly insanely challenging red cubes you can find as well — but again, you’d never need to — which require skills such as an understanding of binary code. No, we’re not exaggerating.
The reality-bending nature of the game is still wildly impressive even nine years down the line, and the variety of ways in which FEZ uses it singular core mechanic is nothing short of masterful; much like Nintendo’s own philosophy towards gameplay, there’s one idea here explored to the nth degree, and without it ever growing stale. There’s even a good chunk of replay value should you want to go through again, but we don’t want to spoil exactly why for those that haven’t played it.
Visually FEZ is also super charming; bright colours, dappled lighting and even a Game-Boy inspired aesthetic in the sewers make it just lovely to look at, if a little simple at times. Performance is also a perfect 60fps which isn’t particularly surprising given the game's vintage, but we did notice a few visual glitches here and there, as well as one or two instances where objects didn’t behave as they were meant to. These were rare and never impacted our enjoyment of the game or ability to complete puzzles, but they were noticeable. Earhole-wise Disasterpiece’s soundtrack is an absolute treat, and is something that we’ve even enjoyed outside of the game on long drives.
FEZ is a fun, challenging puzzle platformer fit to burst with original ideas and unique gameplay wrinkles. Its puzzles bend reality and even leech into our own world on occasion, but aside from a few select mega-challenges never stray into the category of too obtuse or unfair. A few visual and mechanical quirks stop this from being a perfectly polished experience, but these are outweighed by its charm and other wonderful qualities ninefold. It’s another one of those ‘games you have to play’ on Switch, and it couldn’t be more at home.
Already grabbed it after the showcase thanks to the 10% off launch sale. Never played it before so looking forward to giving it a go when I have the time. I do love a good puzzle platformer.
Used to watch my friend play this on his Xbox. I’m gonna need to get it on my Switch.
An indie darling of this reputation is no doubt going to be treated to a physical release, I'd love to own and play this.
My brother has been a huge fan of this game since its original launch.
Such a great game.
I'm not sure if I will play it again as I still have it on xbox arcade, but if you've never played it before I can 100% recommend picking it up.
Already played this one but I've decided to double dip... Gonna play it on the weekend :]
A brilliant game, I doubt I'll get it again as it wasn't that long ago I played it on PS4 but if you like puzzle games then this is amazing and a must play
Could never get into this. Mustve started it a dozen times and just found it dull. It was described to me as a great Metroidvania ..... I just cant see it.
I haven't finished it yet on Steam. Unfortunately, I'll have to pass
It’s just fantastic, one of my favourite puzzle games of all time. Hope people give it a chance.
The guy who made it, cant remember his name at all (bit of a knob). Didn't he sell this game onto the company that own it now, because the development was hell for him? (I know, he’s mean, I saw the film).
I bought it back in the day, on a few systems, great game. If you haven't played it yet, give it a go, BUT, I would wait for it to go on a 50% sale (which i'm sure will be pretty soon) as the OG dev doesn't get anything from it now.
Side note, the soundtrack is incredible! Its the same guy who did the soundtrack to 'It Follows', amazing horror movie if you haven't seen it also.
I just assumed this was on Switch already. Feels like it's on everything. I will be forever sad that there is no Fez 2.
I'm going to get this at some point, I have it on ps3 But never finished it.
What do you mean 'Unwanted side effects'?
"Disasterpiece’s soundtrack is an absolute treat, and is something that we’ve even enjoyed outside of the game on long drives".
Sentences like this make me cringe. I'm pretty sure the Nintendo Life staff don't huddle up in a car and go out on drives together while listening to the Fez soundtrack. Not everything in these articles needs to be we we we 🙄
... I read "Battletloads of perfectly-balanced brain teasers"
... I should sleep more...
Get the remix albums of the soundtrack too. Utterly fine. It is worth calling out as a positive. And yes, I listen to it on long walks, drives and flights too.
Love it when acclaimed games finally make their way onto Nintendo hardware.
"That Deserves A Second Look"
Or a first look if your @KateGray 😉
Or myself. But I've already played Captain Toad so I'm good. 😁
I would have loved to play it on 3DS, but the creator didn't want to... Oh well, I'll buy it on Switch for sure, but not just yet.
@Gavintendo "Pretty sure", eh?
@Gavintendo Nintendo Life's internal writing guidelines are (or at least were) to use "we" instead of "I" in most written articles, with the exception of opinion pieces. It's probably an attempt to dissuade arguments about whether a specific writer's review is too opinionated.
@Nookingtons he's not even related to the rerelease, and he separated himself from Fez LOOOONG ago, and ignoring Bird's behavior, it's a great game.
Fans: can't wait for Fez 2
I'd assumed it was something like that. Maybe it's even the Editor doing it. I just find it so incredibly distracting and it pulls me out of what I'm reading immediately.
Didn't the developer of this game say he didn't want this game on Nintendo platforms, back in the day? I remember something like that but I'm not 100% sure.
Either way I'm gonna wait for a physical release on this probably. It looks charming and I'd like to try it.
Speak for yourself, videogame music is awesome behind the wheel.
The soundtrack is by far the best thing about this game. The ambience adds a hint of melancholy to a colourful world already full of character and just gives it that wee bit more depth. It's a perfect anti-platformer soundtrack that could've easily been chirpy chiptune all throughout.
The same composer also scored Hyper Light Drifter (which is equally as fantastic) and the movie, It Follows, which someone mentioned above.
@Gavintendo From my experience, it was easier to just write "we", instead of waiting to be asked to edit it or just having it edited. It's not something I ever understood, personally; surely nobody reading this or any other site thinks that every member of staff played the game for review purposes?
Oh, that wasn't what I meant! I just think it looks so out of place when they say 'we' in place of 'I' all the time. I was just nitpicking really.
@Yosher The original developer isn't involved in this port, as he separated himself from FEZ after having a crybaby moment on Twitter and cancelling FEZ 2.
I think that he didn't put it on Nintendo platforms because he hated Japan for some reason (if this is wrong, my apologies) but if this is true, it'd be pretty dumb since it was also on PS4, which is a Sony product, and Sony is a Japanese company.
ಥ‿ಥ Humans just keep on disappointing me.
@fluggy Metroidvania just means I'll play it until I get lost then quit.
@Chunkboi79 haha so very true
@HotGoomba Maybe it's because Nintendo is a lot more 'Japanese' than Sony in certain ways that makes him differentiate Nintendo and Sony on this level? I dunno, he does sound like a rather petty guy either way.
Can't wait to get into this again.
I honestly didn't think Fez would come to Switch, but I'm really happy it has. Already double-dipped, in part because my 360 controllers constantly disconnect now so it wouldn't be worth playing the game on that anymore.
It's still unfortunate that this great game's legacy is forever tied to its creator generally being a self-righteous jerk and having an absolute meltdown on Twitter.
Fantastic game! I don't believe there's a reason for me to replay it, but I had a blast my first time through on the 360.
great game and a perfct fit for the Switch.
Glad this is finally migrating to a Nintendo platform! It'll be a bit before I grab it thanks to backlog though. Might wait for a sale.
the creator is an ass, so I try to not support him
"We" don't support this kind of people.
@Yosher @HotGoomba https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/03/phil_fish_i_love_nintendo_in_ways_it_probably_doesnt_deserve
I'm sure the game is brilliant, but I don't get the adulation. Not only is Phil Fish Phil Fish, but the review makes it sound like Super Paper Mario, instead of having the startlingly original gameplay I've been led to believe it has. Am I missing something?
@Mando44646 @readyletsgo Everyone calling him mean things - he wasn't that bad - just a bit of a full on Drama queen. The press did give him a lot of ***** too.
I'll support him because he gave us a stone cold classic game.
@JimmySpades Well nowadays the 2D morphs into 3D is not so unique but when this game came out it was very very unique indeed and really stood out.
And even now I'd say the gameplay and gentle charm to the story telling is every bit as lovely as something like Paper Mario. It's not LIKE those games, but I'd say if you played it for more than a quick go you'd get it's quite special even today.
@NinChocolate ok thanks for showing me but now I'm even more confused. If he loves Nintendo, why didn't he just put FEZ on the 3DS
I haven't played Fez, but it sounds a lot like the 3D-flipping mechanic from Super Paper Mario.
"Suck my d**k, choke on it" - the guy that made this game
@brunojenso But that's exactly my point. If the main gameplay hook is the interplay between 2D and 3D, it wasn't unique when this game was released, but had already been done five years earlier in a game featuring gaming's biggest character. Fish may have done very good things with the idea, but devising it in the first place wasn't one of them.
@brunojenso Phil Fish publicly throwing his toys out of the pram, cancelling Fez 2 and quitting the games industry confirmed what we all knew about Phil Fish.
@JimmySpades I think your being too absolute in your comparisons. Fez has a special magic to it and that's that. And it's take on the 2D becomes 3D mechanic WAS different enough that it had a literal jaw-drop response from most people when they saw their first video footage of that mechanic. So I still say Fez's WAY of doing an interplay between 2D and 3D was and still is unique and beautiful. And that was from an old gamer like me that was well aware of Paper Mario and many more years before. If you want to dismiss it due to the existence of other cross-dimensional games that's fine, but I defend my stance that this game is special and an absolute classic.
@VenomousAlbino If you say so. I just think it was all a bit dramatised and I don't like to think we know a guy just because he was a fool for a bit in his youth but the press were around to see it. We're all fools sometimes. The game he created suggests he has some emotional depth and a sensitivity that we may get to see again in another title if we all stopped dragging up how he used to be. I'm just a bit bored of the Phil Fish is a jerk media/press train.
He did do all the things you say - but so what - it was years ago.
@brunojenso You might be right; he might be an incredibly sensitive, deep and contemplative individual. If that is indeed the case, it's a shame that he always chose to convey the exact opposite whenever dealing with the public or press.
I'll put it this way: no company on Earth would deal with a fraction of his bullsh*t if he'd been working in a public facing position while working for them; they'd have kicked his arse out the door.
'I'll put it this way: no company on Earth would deal with a fraction of his bullsh*t if he'd been working in a public facing position while working for them; they'd have kicked his arse out the door.'
Yeah of course, and maybe that was the problem - he was too much his own boss. Getting booted out of a dream job might have sorted him out. I'm not saying the guy didn't need bringing down a peg or two.
He may still be a meanie, sensitive or not, but it's at least possible the guy has evolved a bit. If I was publicly shamed for being an insufferable-ass over a long period of time like he was, then I'd like to think that eventually the feeling of anger (at whoever) would subside and I'd eventually develop some humility - and perhaps learn to not be so self-absorbed. So maybe he's not the same guy everyone talks about in forums anymore.
@AlexOlney I enjoyed this review, Monsieur Olney. To wit:
our mute hero is gifted a small fez which allows him to warp his 2D world with 3D impudence.
Warp 2D world with 3D impudence... this sounds like a nice description of what Einstein did to Newtonian physics.
Sadly this has the slightly irritating side effect of tearing reality apart at the seams
But no, neither sad nor irritating. I wish this would happen; physics needs a kick in the complacency right now.
Earhole-wise Disasterpiece’s soundtrack is an absolute treat
So, it is "earhole", is it....
Look, sir - I understand from reading your material and that of @KateGray that the British have a strange relationship with the human body. Maybe a furball shouldn't critique what bipeds think of themselves, but, I mean... surely you can agree that this isn't charming. I mean, this was Pink Floyd's worst album cover by far.
@brunojenso Yeah, maybe, but unfortunately for him that's the note he went out on. I would gladly eat my words if he decided to make a comeback and had, as you said, maybe evolved as a person and developed some humility. I personally doubt it, though, and as it stands people will only ever remember him for being an arse and throwing public tantrum after public tantrum, so that's unfortunately what you're always going to hear and read about concerning him, sick of it or not.
I wish i could tolerate the look of this game. Bought it on 360 & immersion level for me is 0 on a scale from 0 to anything.
How come when u comment on mobile before u click on the part to Open up all other comments, u have to refresh & click on that part to see the comments? In other words, Commenting before clicking to open other comments in chrome (ver 89.xxxxxx, newest version available as of posting date) on android 8.1 seems to break the comments section, & it's collapsed & u can no longer click to see comments without refreshing the page.
I have to wonder what Phil's like these days, swearing off the videogame industry for life only to rerelease FEZ whenever it suits him.
Played this years ago but never got around to finishing it. My only issue with the game is it's a 2d game attempting to be open-world as well. I'd always end up going in circles not finding where I'm supposed to go. I'll give it another try here. 👍
This game is awesome.
I've played it years ago on the Vita.
Make sure you use headphones. Some puzzles are audio based.
And keep in mind that you can play it beyond 100%.
Looks like a good game. Never played it before so might pick it up!
@Slipshod I am guessing its supposed to be more of a calming and relaxing game but I respect your opinion
Ok, I've played this game for a good few hours this week, and I've actually retracted my original comment. Something about it has really clicked with me. It's a much more laid back experience than I ever felt it was when I played it back in 2012. It's such a great voyage of discovery, and it's utterly captivating.
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