FEZ is one of the most unique indie titles to ever grace consoles. It is a puzzle platformer unlike any other, and at the time of its initial release back in 2012, it was a bold and daring entry into the indie game world. Phil Fish, the designer of the game, is a man that dedicated much of his life to the project, and it ultimately burned him out. His exit from game development at the time was a bit shocking, but if you watch Indie Game: The Movie, you will understand the man’s indifference towards the industry.
Despite all of that, the legacy of FEZ is alive and well, and thanks to the recent Indie World Showcase, we got to see it revived once again on the Nintendo Switch. My name is Jason, and this is your Nindie Spotlight of the week – FEZ.
The game is deceptive at first. It appears to be a 2D game, and you play a little 2D character named Gomez that happily jumps around his little 2D world. However, a mysterious 3rd dimension is introduced, and it quite literally rotates the entire world gaining new perspective and opening up new paths.
Gomez is sent out on a journey that takes him to the very end of space and time. Yes. You read that correctly. The little guy is breaking all kinds of things and exploring dimensions and areas that scientists only dream of. He must use his abilities to navigate 3D structures from four distinct 2D perspectives, like the abilities to look at all four sides of a cube.
This is such a unique puzzle game, because it forces the player to rotate the entire world and gain new knowledge by seeing things differently. Learning to navigate things as you help Gomez to gain height in order to find collectibles and important items as well as discovering new entryways to other areas and worlds is an absolute joy and makes for a solid gaming experience.
Stunning Pixel Art
One of the things that stands out about FEZ is its gorgeous art style. Even if the game lacked the rotating mechanic, it would still stand on its pixel art alone. Gomez is absolutely adorable, and he is fit with a hat that is arguably one of the cutest things in gaming history.
On top of that, every little detail in the world pops with such clarity that it is genuinely hard to miss things, which is quite ironic, because this is a puzzle game that constantly makes you look deeply at the levels (Mostly thanks to the changing of perspective by rotating the world). The waters flow with such a lovely imagery, the trees look like cubed bonsai, and the mossy grass that you can use to climb helps to paint an image of overgrowth in a world that looks so clean.
Each new area is lit with a wide array of colors that differentiate itself from previous areas, and the distinctive qualities of each area, and each of its four sides thanks to the 3rd dimension, display the incredible amounts of detail and hard labor that went into this project. It is simply stunning, and Gomez’s face when he picks up cubes captures my heart every single time.
Turn the World Around
Without question, the highlight of FEZ is its main gimmick, which is the ability to see a 2D world in the 3rd dimension. The way they did this was by allowing Gomez the ability to rotate any given area on an axis like turning a jumbled Rubix cube from side to side to side, with each one looking quite different from the previous but helping the player to gain new perspective to solve the intricate puzzles.
As the game progresses, the puzzle platforming gets more complicated and demanding, but it is never truly frustrating. The levels are designed so cleverly that players will pick up what the game wants them to do within seconds of getting there, and the platforming is considerably fair given the obscure nature of the rotating mechanic.
New areas are always within Gomez’s reach, and turning the world around gives the little man plenty of extra opportunities to explore. There is so much to do that most players will probably move to new areas without realizing the number of treasure chests, alternative routes, or additional puzzles they bypassed in each area. As you learn the rules of the world, you will return to earlier areas and be baffled by the amount of things you missed.
FEZ is one of those games that people will be talking about for generations. It is a masterfully made game with tons and tons of content that will keep you busy for 6-10 hours, depending on your puzzling skills.
This is one of those titles that I will recommend time and time and time again, as each side of the cubic world is yet another reminder why you need to play this game. FEZ is a love letter to gaming. It is one of the best examples of perfectly marrying old ideas with new ones, and what we have is one of the greatest indie games ever created.
If you have not played this game before, buy it on Switch now! It will turn your life around.
There is your Nindie Spotlight on FEZ. Join us next time for another brief look into the Nintendo Switch’s best Nindie titles. What are some of your favorite indie games? Let us know in the comments below! Thank you for visiting Nintendo Link. Happy gaming, everyone!
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.