I wanted to hate FEZ. I really did. It’s an indie game that purports to change the way we play. It’s an indie game that is, by all accounts, years late. It is an indie game whose creator takes himself and his craft very, very seriously. Ultimately, though, it’s an indie game that looked – to me, at least – like a rip-off of Cave Story with a used up 2D-3D mechanic.
However, here’s a sentiment that Noomi Rapace will very likely back me up on: I was wrong. I was so wrong.
For all of it’s hype and discussion and seemingly fraw-fraw-fraw indie cred, FEZ is a marvel of a game. A gem. Truly.
Playing it first as a cynical self-styled critic with the singular intention of being disappointed, I found myself, instead, pulled back into childhood; pulled back into a time where games were about simple mechanics becoming getting lost in a realized world that is far larger than it’s constituent pixels would imply.
More than this, I found myself enjoying FEZ for its content alone. This is a rare experience in an era in which your gamerscore, DLC, kill ratio and any number of other newfangled long tale gimmicks overshadow a mean gameplay experience that seems less about play and more about churn. I like to play FEZ. I want to play FEZ. FEZ is play, in its most rudimentary form.
That isn’t to say that FEZ is simple, or short on intriguing and engrossing experiences in an ultimately vast game world. That would be a dumb thing to say. I spent my first 2 hours in FEZ lost in the sheer depth of the environment. You will too.
It’s a joy. An absolute joy. I can’t say much more than this. You’ll have to play it. YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT.
I’m sorry if this post isn’t incendiary. I wanted it to be. I really did. FEZ won me over in its first 8 minutes. I really want to say something acerbic about indie gaming though, so here you go:
I think Braid is a shit game made for assholes and playing it should make you feel dirty.