Synyster Graves


by on May.03, 2012, under Xbox Live Arcade

It’s a rare thing for me now to actually get even moderately excited about Xbox Live games anymore. Since the last review I did for a XBLA game was the shambolic War of The Worlds, it would perfectly ok to assume I wouldn’t touch XBLA games for a while yeah? Well I’ve seen Twitter light up over the last few weeks about this game called FEZ. Personally I didn’t know the first thing about it but intrigue got the better of me so I had a bash on the trial before buying the full version.

 FEZ is a platform game with the element of puzzles very much in its approach. You play as Gomez, a white humanoid blob thing with a taste for adventure. The halcyon world around you is colourful and peaceful until the universe is on the verge of collapse as the Hexahedron (to you and me a big gold block), shatters into many pieces and is scattered throughout the land. It is Gomez’s quest to find all the fragments to restore order to the equilibrium of the universe. Gomez also has bestowed upon him a mystical item; a fez, which allows him to alter the orientation of the dimensions, which is the object of the game. So simple a premise, yet tricky as a puzzle.

Gomez’s fez is the key to this whole game, as you can rotate the whole level around the horizontal axis, enabling you to go where you couldn’t previously, it’s hard to explain except I’d recommend throwing all of your spatial awareness outside for this game. Thinking outside of the box is recommended, as the change of perspective will blow your mind regularly. Think of it as a 3D mechanic in a 2D scrolling platform game. And most importantly, that’s what makes this game brilliant. All you need to control him is RT and LT to rotate the screen and the A button to jump (and X to use) but that’s it, the epitome of simple but effective. Thinking outside of the box is the key though, all you have to remember is that sometimes games do break the fourth wall and are a lot more interactive that just moving a little white man with a fez around a level. Oh and I’d recommend downloading a QR barcode scanner for your smartphone too. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

I’m searching for criticisms about this but I simply don’t have anything substantial apart from occasionally a checkpoint is saved right on the point of oblivion where you can die, creating an infinite loop which you can’t get out of. But you just restart the game and it’s fine, but that’s just me picking holes. Nothing is perfect, but FEZ is very satisfying to play.

Whether it’s the charm of the 8-bit-like graphics, to the fantastic presentation of the flora and fauna, down to the amazingly simple yet complicated level design, FEZ just works, and works very well. It’s addictive, probably the most addictive game I’ve playd since Chime, and throughout the playthrough, I couldn’t put this game down. The puzzles are very complicated yet simple when you know how, giving a great sense of achievement, the graphics are great, this is quite simply a masterpiece. The clear homage to old school platformers is also a nice touch, including a spoof BIOS screen midway through the game leading me to think my xbox had deleted it’s operating system, when really it’s a parody of old Pentium computers. Plus the psychadelic kaliedoscope of colours and sounds when you complete the game just puts a full stop under a great achievement of completing one of the best games ever released on XBLA. Go out and get it, I really enjoyed I’m sure you will too. It’s hard to explain, so I’d say download the trial and see for yourself!

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