originals\ Apr 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Up Up Down Down: Fez


When it took Fez several years to launch, there were some who thought it would eventually become one of many potentially great vaporware titles. That wasn't the case, though, and after Polytron Corporation finally released the game in 2012, it wowed players with its lovingly crafted world, unique sense of wonder, and joyous expressionism. Truly, Phil Fish is a genius for his work on Fez, and quite frankly, I'd consider this endeavor as close to perfection as possible.

That's why the Down Down parts in this edition of Up Up Down Down aren't even geared toward the game itself. Instead, they're based on factors unrelated to the gameplay and style of Fez and more on people's perceptions. That's not to say I think you're all foul people — not all of you, at least — but I honestly believe that the only shortcomings in Fez are those bestowed upon it by misconceptions, stubbornness, and disinterest.

Fez - 360, PS4, PS3, PSV, PC - 1

Up Up: A wonderful, beautiful world that invites you to explore

At first glance, you might think Fez is just another cheery indie platformer. The moment you open that first stone door, however, you're treated to a blissful world filled with landmarks, critters, color, and discovery. When you get into it — and I mean really, truly, deeply get into it — Fez becomes more than a game. It becomes a world for you to visit, tread, climb, and explore. The verticality is something uncommon in 2D platformers, and you can't help but feel absolute euphoria as you climb higher and higher and ultimately reach the peaks of the many structures housed within the world of Fez.

Down Down: Players who don't go deeper may not “get it”

Beneath the puzzle-platformer layer of Fez is an even more complex series of challenges. A secret language, number system, symbols, and history all pervade the magical land. It's not enough that you can literally rotate the world to see more of it — every little symbol and sign actually means something. Of course, not everyone will feel the desire to decode that secret language or translate those lengthy messages. Because of that, a lot of players may miss out on the true mystique that Fez offers.

Fez - 360, PS4, PS3, PSV, PC - 2

Up Up: Or they'll have a genuinely good time anyway

The game's world is such that you can take everything in and enjoy every moment you spend in it. Maybe you don't want to worry about a secret language or get every collectible item. If that's the case, you can still have a genuinely great time playing. The world is so rich, and its childlike sense of exploration is so enchanting that you could have a perfectly fine experience just visiting the different areas and getting enough cubes to see the credits the first time around.

Down Down: People tend to think of Fez as “that one game by that angry guy”

You can't visit an Internet forum, talk about Fez, and not expect some mention of Phil Fish. Personally, I think the dude deserves to be mentioned. After all, he is a highly creative mind and gave us one of the most unique games in recent memory. Unfortunately, too many people are often fixated on his behavior on Twitter and Indie Game: The Movie. While I don't agree with everything Fish has said, I appreciate his honesty and passion. Still, people are always going to think of Fez as the game that was made by the angry dude, which is a shame.

Fez - 360, PS4, PS3, PSV, PC - 3

Up Up: Great art and music

The bold, brilliant locales within Fez are only magnified by the game's lovely art style. Clearly inspired by an older generation, the visual design manages to harken back to the SNES era while taking advantage of modern technology. Every adorable animal, breathtaking waterfall, stone structure, and leafy tree — pretty much everything you see — is only more beautiful to witness thanks to the graphics of Fez. The music is equally magnificent, and it fits perfectly with the dreamy world. The graphics and sound were truly made for each other, and they complete the puzzle along with the actual gameplay.

Down Down: Fez 2 was canceled

When I found out that Fez 2 had been announced as last year's E3 was going on, I was pretty stoked about the news. I know I wasn't the only one. I also know I wasn't the only one who was massively disappointed when Phil Fish announced the cancelation of Fez 2 as he made his exit from the video game industry on that fateful Saturday. Well, at least the game being axed made for this great April Fools Day joke recently.

Fez - 360, PS4, PS3, PSV, PC - 4

Left Right Left Right: Fez is a unique, lovely experience worth getting lost in

Fez really doesn't have any shortcomings. Some players may walk away from it completely enamored with its world, while others may put their controllers down and ask, “That was it?” Others still will explore every little facet as some gawk at the idea of translating its secret language and scouring the Internet for other players' insight. Whatever the case may be, Fez is a beautifully crafted masterpiece and one of the best games to come along in any generation.

Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

About The Author
David Sanchez David Sanchez is the most honest man on the internet. You can trust him because he speaks in the third person.
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