Review: Fez (Xbox 360)
Written By Matt Sainsbury on Monday, April 23, 2012 | 19:10
That’s not to say Fez is bad, per se, but rather it is as generic and uninspired as the Japanese games that Fish is so keen on dismissing. Sure it plays itself up as creative and it’s a well designed game but it’s not nearly as clever as it likes to think it is.
The basic crux of the game is that it’s a 2D puzzle platformer with the unique quirk that it plays in three dimensions. Though the fez-wearing hero can only travel in two dimensions, the world itself is made of square blocks. A simple tap of the Xbox 360’s shoulder buttons will shift the playing field to a different side of the blocks. By cleverly changing perspectives it’s possible to reach previously inaccessible areas, and that forms the core point of the game – reaching the inaccessible areas to obtain little golden cubes to open the way to the next level.
But it’s not without its source of problems. The deliberately retro art style for instance might be in vogue amongst indie developers at the moment but rarely is it done with so little personality. Graphics are bright and cheerful for the sake of being bright and cheerful. There’s the usual indie retro nods towards popular games of yesteryear such as Zelda (yeah, Japanese games really suck, don’t they Fish?) scattered throughout the environment, the nostalgia is designed to engage players with the warm fuzzy feeling of personal history, but in this case it simply reminds players how comparatively bland the world of Fez is. Stacked up against the likes of Cave Story and VVVVV, Fez feels like it's trying too hard to wear the retro suit, rather than simply slotting in comfortably.
If you’re going to come up and say an entire industry and game development process “sucks,” you had better hope your own games stack up. Sorry, Fish, you can be as arrogant as you like but being amongst the top of the indie pack with a well-made but vanilla game does not qualify you to comment on how the Japanese make their games.
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