iOS Universal, PC/Mac/Linux •
Fez looks like one of those games 12-year old me would have loved but old, decrepit me should detest. Like all platformers, it looks as though it requires at least a modicum of dexterity, something I haven’t been in possession of since I was 24. Still, like Braid or Super Meat Boy, it’s one of those indie platformers you hear about even if you’re not a fan of the genre. Today Fez made its way to the App Store so I gave it a go. Lo and behold, I’m not as worthless as I thought I’d be.
Fez starts out as a typical 2D platformer, but very quickly turns into a 3D affair thanks to your magic fez. Well, it’s kind of 3D. The world consists of 3D areas that can be rotated, but each side of the zone is still a 2D platformer. Your goal is to figure out the puzzles by twisting and turning the zone and moving your little dude as new paths, gates, or whatnot appear. It’s clever as hell.
It’s also completely lacking in what makes most platformers tough for us old folk: bad guys. There aren’t any enemies to jump over or plunk with fireballs. The entire game is far more puzzle-based and is closer to Monument Valley than Super Mario.
If there’s a problem it’s with the virtual controls that offer buttons on both the right and left of the screen. They work okay, but I always find my fingers pressing where there aren’t any buttons which makes the entire endeavor more frustrating than it should be. That said, there’s no penalty for dying, as you simply respawn where you left off, so making mistakes isn’t the end of the world. I’m guessing that playing with one of the bluetooth controllers available for iOS would make the game much more fun, but I’m not sure I want to spend the cash just for Fez. Maybe I’ll ask Santa for one.
Anyway, Fez is available for iOS Universal and is way more fun than I was expecting by looking at screenshots. It’s a platformer for the non-platformer crowd, those looking for something that moves slow and offers exploration, puzzle solving, and hidden secrets while leaving out bonking critters on the head or making perfect jumps across floating ledges. There’s a reason it sold more than 1 million copies before it made its way to mobile, I was just too hard headed to give it a chance before now.