But if the first two games at the time of the premiere already became iconic, then the strange pixel arcade game has not even come out. A few months later, Xbox 360 users were able to fully appreciate the brainchild of Phil Fish.(Phil Fish): The project received the highest ratings from critics and the favor of the players. He got to the PC only now, and therefore there is no point in catching up the intrigue. All that remains is with the honor to present to the computer audience the most multifaceted platformer of recent years.
The first ten minutes Fez looks, feels and works just like any game of the Sega era. Pixels are sticking out everywhere, eight-bit music is scattering in the background, and a little man in the center of the screen is jumping on platforms. His name is Gomez, and he does not even realize that literally around the turn he is waiting for higher forces in the form of a huge golden cube. Having mumbled something in an alien language, the figure will lower the charming little red cap from the sky and show that the world actually has three dimensions. And then it will fly into 64 parts, without having finished its incomprehensible monologue.
From this moment on, the player gets the unique ability for a 2D platforming device to rotate the camera, choosing a more suitable angle. Something similar could be seen in recent Perspective: the main character remains two-dimensional and moves along a flat projection of the world, but the projection easily changes along with the point of view. On the one hand, the distance between the platforms is huge, and on the other, it is not at all.
The entire level design is tied to this small feature. The game world consists of several dozens of islands floating in the air, each of which can be circumvented. You will have to move from bottom to top, and it works like a spiral staircase: as soon as the stairs end, you need to look around the corner.
It would be worthwhile to beware: is the process boring quickly? This alarm can be safely discarded - everything is in order. It is problematic to accurately calculate the number of levels: there are a little more than sixty of them, and all are divided into five zones, it is more convenient to move between them using teleporters. There are no fundamental obstacles in any direction: there are no opponents at all, the number of lives is unlimited, and the “come here” pointer is not provided. The player is free to choose his own route, and this is Fez only to his advantage - for a ten-hour first passage, it never repeats.
On one side, a peaceful, calm environment, relaxing music and stunning detailing of the surroundings await. Butterflies fly, foxes jump, and trees cast gorgeous pixel shadows. At this stage, I do not want to jump frantically. And you don’t have to - because the passage rests on a puzzle, which can be solved judiciously and slowly. And if the mood is not even “thought”, then it is better to turn the other way to go down to the cellars, where all kinds of puzzles are replaced by hardcore jumps from the upcoming magma - no less complicated and annoying than in Super Meat Boy . The pattern is greatly simplified and loses in saturation.
Somewhere you will have to navigate in the dark, somewhere - to interact with moving elements, and somewhere - to control the chain reaction of explosions, turning the world in the right directions. The game is constantly being transformed: new gameplay solutions appear, the scene changes, and with it the picture quality and soundtrack. Everything is implemented so expressively and impressively that sometimes Fez does the impossible: a flat pixel platformer becomes truly atmospheric, no worse than any BioShock.
Most of the mood is created due to a very non-standard approach to the game story - parallels can only be drawn with Dark Souls. There is practically no scenario as such in the game - it is limited to three introductory remarks that are impossible to understand (an alien cube says nothing but scribbles), and a final splash screen, which has very dubious information content. You will have to think up and compose the rest yourself.
Independently - but in no case from scratch. Gomezu travels with a four-dimensional cube that emerges from nowhere and draws attention to particularly important points. He also gives basic gameplay hints and describes artifacts that are sometimes found. For example, a book scribbled with the same alien symbols, or the same obelisks standing around the world.
There are much more tasks than it takes to get to the credits, and therefore the player can determine the difficulty for himself. It is impossible to solve everything at once - you will need an ability even more amazing than the rotation of the world, and it will appear only after the first passage. But as soon as you get to the finals and start the New Game +, Fez will begin to unfold for real. This is likely to be the most difficult game of your life.
The point is in those very tasks that are simple at first. To go further, the player will need to carefully examine each location in search of possible clues - and suddenly it turns out that the setting has been worked out much deeper than it seems at first glance. So, the presented alien language is encrypted English, and it will have to be manually restored. In addition, it is useful to study the local number system and deal with a special cipher - all this without the slightest hint or advice from the game.
But this is not the ceiling. The rules are constantly changing, and sometimes it’s hard to even guess what actions are expected of us. The fourth wall collapses regularly: it may be necessary, for example, to exit the game into the system; and in one of the problems it will be useful to know the existing character tables. The apotheosis is the so-called Monolith Room: since April last year, the entire world community has not been able to pass it honestly - the players just picked up the right key combination within the framework of a large-scale flash mob. And Phil Fish, meanwhile, only smirks at the forums: "209% of game progress is far from all."
Along with solving puzzles, game events begin to clear up. The plot is overgrown with new details: it becomes clearer why a cube could fall apart; who created it; where did these or other locations come from. Alas, because of the complexity, it’s simply impossible to fully understand what is happening: the mocking finale is limited only by hints, and the story is incomplete. There is a feeling that the authors are carried away, and the ardor of the community will cool off much earlier than Fez comes to an end.
Moreover, PC users will get to the final longer than their console counterparts due to a not-so-good port. The creators, by their own admission, seriously changed the engine, but because the project was supplemented by periodic crashes and bugs. In addition, no adaptation of the puzzles has occurred, and at least one of them is solved exclusively with the help of the vibration of the gamepad. This, of course, is a trifle, but pretty spoiling the impression.
When several people launch Fez , they certainly diverge in different directions. Someone goes to the farthest corner and thinks for hours about each riddle, methodically sorting through all possible solutions to the problem. Someone simply explores the world and collects trifles scattered across the levels for his pleasure. And some go step by step, mastering the gameplay features and the nuances of building each location.
Different people will finish at different times: in 6, 10 or more than 20 hours. But everyone will be satisfied, because a simple pixel platformer knows how to seem the way they want to see it: both light, and complex, and beautiful, and not too fanciful. Namely, the ability to please everyone at once is an indicator of a truly talented game made.
Pros: great soundtrack; great design; adjustable difficulty; varied gameplay; interesting idea.
Cons: not too good port on the PC; story incompleteness.