Fez: A multi-dimensional mind game

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By Kristofer Hammer

Look up any optical illusion on the internet and picture it within an interactive 3D space. This is a quintessential example of how Fez, the recent Xbox Live Arcade release, operates.

You play a character named Gomez who, within the first 15 minutes, is endowed with a magical Fez.

I first mentioned optical illusions because Fez takes place in a 2D environment, but operates in 3D.

There are four possible perspectives that you can switch to that operate on any side of the square at any given time.

It is a hard concept to explain, but it is executed perfectly and makes for some head-spinning puzzles and cool epiphany moments in the later stages of the game.

Your task is to repair the universe by harvesting 32 cubes (each of which are made from eight cube bits, although some come whole) throughout the world.

There is a lot of backtracking which, as those who played games in the early 2000’s or late 90’s already know, can be more than frustrating.

Luckily warp devices are located throughout the world. However, that doesn’t necessarily make the trek any more enjoyable.

This is a player problem rather than a poor development choice, because it is possible to go through each section and complete it before the next.

Fez is not as easy of a game as it may seem at first. The main portion of the game may be considered easy because of the helpful map that lets you know where you need to go, but the other half of the game requires higher cognitive thinking that may cause slight hair-brained insanity.

This game is a piece of creative ingenuity created with tender care and attention.

The art style is a throwback, as Gomez and the world around him are presented in eight bite-style pixel art that fits well within the theme of cubes and squares. The soundtrack is complementary to the experience as it is chip-tune (like the Super Mario Bros. theme song).

Challenges aside, Fez is a great experience that everyone should try once, even if you just need to bum a few minutes of your friend’s Xbox.

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