Part of me wants a little bit more time to organise my own thoughts on Fez, the mindbending platformer recently released on Xbox LIVE, but another part of me just wants to talk about the experience and see what comes of it. So ladies and gentlemen of taste — anyone out there spend much time with Fez over the weekend? Thoughts?
To an extent Fez was everything I was expecting — a perspective shifting puzzler of sorts that rewards experimentation — but in practice it does elicit a sense of wonder. On one level your brain implicitly understands what's going on. Personally I was able to blunder my way through most puzzles, but would instantly deliver a blank stare if asked to explain what I just did.
I think that's probably the result of great design. I spent some time playing Fez with an audience, and the chatter was interesting: 'this doesn't make sense', 'oh, it's 2D once you flip, but it's a 3D environment', etc. All the while I simply played wordlessly, working things out as I went.
But still, there's a learning process. You begin by simply spamming perspective shifts until you get the desired result, but once things get more complicated, you find yourself tweaking things more consciously, delivering an extra layer of reward. The best parts of Fez are intuitive, but learning to follow that intuition to push your thought process to new levels is brilliant fun.
My one major complaint with Fez is the way in which the meta-world is managed, and a map system that — contrary to everything else in the game — is quite counter-intuitive. To begin with in particular I felt completely lost within the maze of levels that Fez provides. This feeling of being lost may have been deliberate, and by design, but I found it very frustrating at first. At times I was afraid to casually explore Fez's universe for fear of not knowing how to get back to different points. I'm hoping this is something that gets more manageable as I play but for now, three hours in, I'm finding it difficult to navigate.
But asides from that, I'm loving Fez so far.
What about you folks? Anyone playing Fez? I'm really keen to hear your thoughts.