FEZ is in many ways one of the original indie hits that continues to surprise and delight. Originally released nine years ago on the Xbox 360, FEZ makes its Nintendo Switch debut. FEZ‘s stylish visuals, spectacular soundtrack, and cute puzzle platforming deliver in all the same areas they did years ago. While it’s hard for me to completely replicate that initial, mind-blowing experience of FEZ from 2012, FEZ is still a magical game that is a must play for any platformer lover owning a Switch library. Even better, FEZ still holds up extremely well after all these years.
FEZ has you play as Gomez, a pretty normal individual. After responding to a request to meet the aged adventurer of Gomez’s village, Gomez is gifted a small fez that allows him to warp his 2D world with 3D elements. Sadly, this tears reality apart at the seams and forces Gomez to find all 32 cubes that make up the almighty Hexahedron, which keeps the world from collapsing.
What I have always loved about FEZ is its scaling. Initially, it isn’t too difficult to navigate FEZ’s world and retrieve golden cubes. Gomez’s power of rotation is incredibly useful. It might seem that a certain area of the game is impassable, but rotating the world allows you to move objects closer to or farther apart from each other. A platform that is just out of reach might seem useless from one rotation, but a quick rotation might move that platform within jumping distance.
It’s a mechanic that, even after all these years, feels truly satisfying when everything comes together to solve the game’s many platforming puzzles. Yet after a few hours, you’ll start to realize that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the game’s puzzles. Slowly, the game begins to reveal itself. At first an out of place statue or cryptic scribbles on a wall doesn’t seem like much, but after repeated run-ins, you’ll begin to piece together the underlying secrets that make the world of FEZ so special. It’s not easy to figure this all out though because FEZ never goes out of its way to actually tell you what’s going on. It’s about trial and error and the thrill of discovery. When FEZ clicks, and trust me it will, it’s a delight. Bouncing through the world while rotating it to figure out the right way to reach a platform nails the right balance of difficulty and reward. The way the game opens up as you play, revealing secrets on top of secrets, is something few games do well.
FEZ‘s biggest issue has to do with the map. Just like nine years ago, the map in FEZ is completely useless. You’re supposed to use it to figure out how to get to certain locations or how to backtrack to a previous location. The problem is FEZ‘s map is so confusing you never truly understand where you are and how to get to where you want to go. The backtracking wouldn’t otherwise be a problem, but you often end up spending more time working out how to get back than actually moving backwards. It’s a shame that after all these years, the same map issue persists.
Honestly, after all these years, FEZ is still wonderful. With its unique visuals, wonderful soundtrack, and addicting gameplay, the game is as much fun to play today as it was nine years ago. It somehow feels even better on Nintendo Switch, where you can take the game anywhere and keep playing. There’s something really nice about being able to pick up FEZ for a few, play around in handheld mode, and then put it down after successfully completing a puzzle. Should you play it on Switch? Absolutely. If you love a good puzzle platforming game and somehow have never played FEZ, it’s totally worth a purchase. What if you played FEZ before? It’s such a great game that it’s totally worth another playthrough. Let’s face it, FEZ feels quite at home on Nintendo Switch.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 14th April 2021
Gaming Respawn’s copy of FEZ was provided by the publisher.