of the game’s central puzzles involve coded languages scrawled onto the walls.
One maps symbols of cubes to the letters of the alphabet. Players can
eventually uncover certain rooms that have these symbols planted next to
deliberately identifiable objects, allowing them to figure out certain letters.
This code instructs players towards certain button combinations or other puzzle
solutions in certain rooms. It’s an unusually deep focus on cryptography. Cryptanalysis involves solving math problems
involving integer factorization.
receive a few paper maps that contain abstract symbols. These will eventually
correspond to landscapes in certain areas in the game, and they reveal the
locations of hidden platforms to players that spot the visual connections.
can also bring up a 3D world map. It allows players to see the areas they’ve
been to and to find out which areas still hold secrets. It quickly becomes
Creativity & Imagination
By the Player:
requires players to think creatively almost constantly, in both platforming
and more abstract puzzle-solving. Exploration is also a huge element of the
game. The dozens of stages all exist as self-contained areas, and almost every
one of them has secret exits, cube bits or other more unique surprises to
uncover. While an area can seem simple at first glance, rotating your view a
few times is often enough to uncover plenty of things to check out. This sense
of exploration and innovative thinking persists throughout every inch of Fez,
despite the fact that the puzzles all have set solutions from the beginning.
areas are all linked into one sprawling web, and players can access all of it
with very few exceptions from the beginning of the game. The game contains 64
collectible cubes - either hidden in levels or locked behind puzzles - though
the game can be completed with only 32. This means that the experience is
altered greatly depending on the exact manner in which a player explores the
game world, though players that seek to collect every cube will have to explore
the entire world thoroughly.
By the Developer:
puzzles - a few of which are detailed in Problem Solving, below - regularly
move it outside the bounds of traditional game design. A detailed fascination
with cryptography permeates the game, as do puzzles that require players to
consider time, sound and the vibrations of their controllers to succeed. Even
the more videogame-standard block-pushing puzzles are reimagined to great
effect in Fez’s cubic 2D/3D world.
it’s this collection of ideas about perspective and level design that make up
the other of Fez’s central pillars. The game’s dozens of areas all exist
as 3D worlds that can be flattened into 2D stages on any of their four sides.
This mechanic is explored to great depth, making for plenty of challenging and
original level design.
levels also look fantastic. The game embraces a pseudo-retro pixel-heavy
design, but draws inspiration from it rather than using it as a crutch. The
bulk of the game’s stages use a vibrant green-grass-and-blue-skies art style,
though stages with stranger, more fantastic themes pop up regularly. A
memorable soundtrack is full of enough surprises to match.
skills are not a factor in Fez with the possible exception of keys.
While players can mostly more freely, there are a few doors that require keys
to unlock. Keys are generic, and opening a door means consuming a key This
makes them a resource in a sense, though it’s not as if players can ever
permanently lock themselves out of an area.
is a single-player game outside of some simple leaderboard functionality.
While there are a few characters that inhabit the game’s world, they are
largely marginalized in favor of exploration and puzzle-solving.
is ultimately a puzzle game. Platforming challenges become their own puzzles as
soon as the perspective-shifting controls are introduced, and they require
players to approach 3D space in a way that simply isn’t found in any other
games. A small action like flipping a switch to extend a platform becomes
extremely complex once a player starts considering how it will affect an area’s
geometry from every side.
Fez’s other puzzles run much deeper. They require players to scour
walls, areas and their own inventories for clues. Many of them stretch over the
length of the game, and players that persevere will figure them out piece by
code is a series of symbols that corresponds to the letters of the alphabet,
though others are more unusual. One cryptically maps symbols to the buttons on
the Xbox 360 controller; another maps those buttons to different vibration
patterns. Another puzzle requires players to consider the real-world time that
passes as they play.
are constantly asked to think outside the box, and they are rewarded for paying
attention as certain puzzles build onto one another over the course of the
Fez is not a
has earned some detractors for its extremely lengthy development period,
and there are controversies surrounding the game and particularly its creator.
None of this stopped Fez from getting a fantastic reception upon its
release, with many reviews going so far as to call the game a masterpiece. It
also won many awards during its development, both for its art style and its
Controls & Options
some basic A/V options.
rated Everyone by the ESRB with a descriptor for mild fantasy violence.