Quite sweet, and sometimes quite flummoxing, Fez is a 2D platform puzzle game from Polytron, rendered in a 16-bit style, where you take charge of a little white blob called Gomez which wears a fez and you make it run, scramble and jump its way up, down and around a cascading maze of vertical levels. However, although you move through the world in 2D, the levels are in 3D, and with a tap of a trigger the world spins a quarter turn, presenting a range of new possibilities as walkways are brought together, openings revealed, and gaps too wide to jump are narrowed.
Gomez has no weapons, can only run, jump and occasionally push levers or boxes, and can’t die. If you drop off a ledge that is too high for it, Gomez splats onto the floor with a discord, and then appears again from where it was cast, and there are no enemies apart from strange black holes that appear randomly in levels that make Gomez disintegrate if you walk or climb into it. It’s an incredibly simple idea, but it’s done so well. The levels radiate out from a single central point, so you have to make your way around levels using various means, and find doors to lead you to linked worlds.
Gomez has been given a quest by a hexahedron, which gave him the magical fez to perceive the 3D world, and the aim is to collect 64 cubes scattered across the levels in order to save the world from being torn apart. Many are in reach, but others need a more abstract method to reach, making it extremely satisfying when you finally work out how to get to it. A tiny Tinkerbell-like cube helps you on your way, giving you occasional hints in an inarticulate murmur like characters in Zelda.
Tickling ambient music provides a sweeping score that gives a more expanded feel to very constrained levels, which change through various themes from horror, to a neon-signed Chinatown, to ancient ruins, all floating in thin air or on water whilst the sky moves through a cycle behind it, providing stunning colours. It works well as a game to dip in and out of, though you may find several hours flit by as you beetle your way down to the edges of the cascade of levels, finding chests and keys to open previously locked doors. Also, when a certain number of cubes have been collected it forms a larger cube that then need to be picked up, and the joy on Gomez’s pixelated little face is probably worth the price alone.
Overall, a fun little game. A lot of people think it’s brilliant, I wouldn’t quite go that far as the music can get a bit irritating occasionally and I don’t feel a desperate need to continuously play it, but it’s good fun, and a bit different.