Is there more to Fez than just solving puzzles?

#1 Posted by ztiworoh (910 posts) -

I'm really torn on whether or not to get this - it looks cool enough, but I worry it'll be something I mess around with, hit a brick wall, and stop playing.

Is there more than just walking around and solving esoteric puzzles? Like a compelling story or anything else to draw me in?

It's got a ton of buzz around it, but my gaming time is limited and I have Witcher 2 coming next week, so I'm not sure if it's worth my $10.

#2 Posted by ZimboDK (863 posts) -

It is puzzle solving and not that much more. A few timing based jumping puzzles, but it's definitely a puzzle game. Personally, I'm loving it so far.

#3 Posted by Dany (8018 posts) -

Story? Is there one? A narrative or something over arching?

#4 Posted by C418 (32 posts) -

@Dany: Yes. I'm not sure if the story gets explained in the demo. How about you try it?

#5 Posted by jorbear (2570 posts) -

Most of the appeal of the game, for me at least, comes from the art and music. The puzzles and platforming are solid enough to be an average game in the genre, but the visuals, music, and overwhelming sense of mystery and exploration are what set this game apart.

#6 Edited by Brackynews (4250 posts) -

I've just spent the last 20 minutes chasing 2D squirrels and spinning turtles. Completely by choice. GOTY.

#7 Posted by TheMasterDS (2477 posts) -

It's more about Exploration, Discovery, and Wonders than the puzzle platforming, though the puzzle platforming is pretty mindbendingly great as well.

#8 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12968 posts) -

Nope. It's machinegunless.

#9 Posted by AnimalFather (1012 posts) -

its rough the sortof leaves u by yourself in a huge puzzle world without any guidance....

#10 Posted by Dany (8018 posts) -

@C418 said:

@Dany: Yes. I'm not sure if the story gets explained in the demo. How about you try it?

I might try the demo but I'd be more inclined to actually play and try it if it has as story.

#11 Posted by Bocam (4053 posts) -

@Dany: It has a story but it's more show then tell.

#12 Posted by mrcraggle (2201 posts) -

At its core, it is a puzzle platformer but there's a ton of exploration. Early on you get shown a series of doors that you need X amount of cubes before you can enter. I've been able to do this for awhile but I just keep finding new paths and places to go to I have yet found myself needing to go back. Some of the puzzles I've found have been incredibly cryptic but I'm hoping that the more I play, I'll understand those further.

#13 Posted by san_salvador (167 posts) -

How much more does the full give you than the demo?

I know, weird question. But I see those great reviews and still, the demo did not drag me in.

Am I safe not buying or does the demo misrepresent the game?

#14 Edited by Brodehouse (10722 posts) -

This year has been a bust for me when it comes to downloadables. I'm a pretty introspective guy, but Journey and Fez don't do shit for me. I played an hour of Fez this morning and ... jumping around collecting colored blocks in order to ... open up more areas to jump around collecting colored blocks? Sorry, need more than that. That doesn't inspire me to learn more. Journey is ... jumping around in a desert? It's not inspiring in a narrative sense, and in a gameplay sense... I don't get the brain-reward people get for 'perspective' games, like Continuity, Braid or Fez. I get a brain-reward for timing, reflex and planning. I'll take Outland, Limbo and Super Meat Boy over Journey, Braid and Fez. I'm not durr simple, I just don't get a reward for staring at something for 15 minutes and then 'shifting my perspective and seeing the solution'. I prefer building reflexes and acting on the fly to solve problems.

Maybe a big part of it is those games parcel out story as happening outside of your actions. There are no characters to interact with. The game is about 'discovery' but the problem is is that if your game is based around discovering 'wonders', then discovery is purely mechanical. If the game is set up to have 'amazing' things for you to see, seeing them is what you do in the game rather than something that happens naturally. In a game about shooting men in the face, stepping out into a world and seeing an incredible skybox or low valley dotted with cities can be incredible... in a game about looking at skyboxes and low valleys, it's purely mechanical. ... You know what, if at the end of Fez you pulled out a gun and shot a man in the face, it would actually be 'discovery' and a 'wonder' because it would be something I didn't expect.

#15 Edited by Robo (848 posts) -

Well...I just, um, ended it.

You can totally end it without figuring anything out. With everything basically remaining a mystery. So yeah, it's all about puzzles if you don't bother digging deeper into what the hell is actually going on.

On to new game +

#16 Posted by Manatassi (789 posts) -

Fez is Primarily an explorative Puzzle art Piece. If that sounds too high concept then really don't bother its not going to be your thing. Personally I think its brilliant. Some of the Puzzles requiring you to really think outside the reality of the game itself... but then thats sort of the point of the whole experience.

Oh and don't let anyone spoil the puzzles for you. Some of them require some fascinating lateral thinking and sensory awareness...

oh and you might want a Smart Phone with a camera to solve some...

#17 Edited by Manatassi (789 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Fez and Journey are actually games that an Introspective person would find less interesting. Introspection is about focusing your attention in on yourself whereas the concepts dealt with in those games are external and more to do with understanding the interaction of emotion in social relations and ideas of the circular nature of life (read possible Reincarnation etc) and a sense of progressing toward an ill defined goal in the case of Journey. As for Fez thats a much more complex game with a lot of ideas but almost all of them about looking at the world outside your own reality.

I do think that playing a piece of either game and then attempting to Critique them is like watching the first 15min of Shawshank or Shindlers List and then Critiquing them.

However the games do appeal to a certain mindset and they are meant as Interactive Art peices rather than games like Meatboy which while artistically interesting Graphically is directed toward being more Toy than Art. If thats what you are looking for then all the more power to you theres nothing wrong with that side of Gaming. However putting down games that don't appeal to your tastes that simply aren't trying to cater to those tastes is a bit silly. If you aren't interested then nobody is forcing you to play them.

You do appear to have missed the point by quite a large margin with Fez a bit which I assume is because you didn't enjoy the bit you tried and simply don't like what you see as that kind of experience.

#18 Posted by Brodehouse (10722 posts) -

@Manatassi: You took that a bit more personal. Saying that I don't like this style of exploration in games is not 'putting them down'. Implying I'm an egotist incapable of observational thought is also too far. The entire point of saying introspective is that I review how games resonate with me to understand them better.

I appreciate plenty of games that are cagey with their information, that rely on subtext. But they key in all those games, all those films, all those books, is they need to maintain interest on the main level. You cannot make something that is 100% subtext. Because then it's 0% subtext, because there's nothing interesting to bear closer examination. I need more incentive than pretty pixel art and an inventive mechanic to start thinking on what it all means under the surface. If the surface is merely superficial, it exists only to serve as a conduit for other ideas. I don't like that very much. That's covering a good idea with saran wrap. I don't find 'progressing towards an ill-defined goal' to be enriching. That was the entire subtext to BioShock.

Within 15 minutes you can't critique a film a whole... but you can critique the direction of those 15 minutes. Like I said, is this game really just finding colored blocks to open up more areas to find more colored blocks until it ends? I've played for an hour, enough time for it to put in hooks in. They aren't there now, will they be later? I'm asking straight up.

"Toy" used as a kick in the crotch pretty much tears down all video games including Fez. Gameplay is not a method to acquiring the art, it is an art itself. Don't ever bag any game for being focused on gameplay. As far as I can tell, Fez is 90% gameplay. Certainly wouldn't call it a toy. Gameplay is input that results in feedback, that resonates (rewards) with the player. Designing that is absolutely art, implying otherwise arms the Eberts of the world. Even stupid Goddamn Call of Duty multiplayer maps are designed artistically to create resonance with the players. When you start thinking that "Art" is only the ideas behind the surface, relevance is gone.

"no one's forcing me to play"... when did I ever insinuate I was being forced to play? I wanted to see what it was, I bought it and played it, and I'm allowed to have an opinion. I'm even allowed to express it on here. Sorry?

#19 Posted by JasonR86 (10043 posts) -


It's a puzzle platformer, an exploration game, and there's a bit of an undercurrent of a story that is there if you want to dive into it.

#20 Posted by BBQBram (2408 posts) -

Seems all that iconography in the world does turn out to have meaning...this only intrigues me more!

#21 Posted by Bollard (6609 posts) -

@Robo said:

Well...I just, um, ended it.

You can totally end it without figuring anything out. With everything basically remaining a mystery. So yeah, it's all about puzzles if you don't bother digging deeper into what the hell is actually going on.

On to new game +


Please avoid any spoilerish territory, as I'm still exploring everywhere, but if you just "end it," can you still go back and get all the bonus hidden items you may have missed? I'm not sure what the prerequisites are for ending it (I assume just have 32 cubes, no?) but I don't want out of the world till I'm done with it all haha.

Or is this all covered by NG+?

#22 Edited by Robo (848 posts) -

@Chavtheworld: I'll just say it is possible to pick up where you left off if you end it without doing everything.

Also, a word of advice to folks picking this up: If you want to get deeper into this game I highly suggest going back to your old puzzle game roots. Dust off a notepad or take pictures with your phone if you have to. Either way it'll actually save you some time and head scratching keeping a decent record of what you come across as you play. More stuff matters than you might think, to put it somewhat vague.

#23 Posted by BoG (5390 posts) -

@jorbear said:

Most of the appeal of the game, for me at least, comes from the art and music. The puzzles and platforming are solid enough to be an average game in the genre, but the visuals, music, and overwhelming sense of mystery and exploration are what set this game apart.

I agree with this statement 100%. If you were to strip anything away, it would be a fun little game. The art and music add so much to this game. I can't stress this enough. It's worth it for these elements alone. It feels like I've entered a work of surrealist art. One of the things I've loved most is how the game presents itself in a certain way so as to establish expectations, but requires me to release my preconceptions about the game, and video games in general, in order to progress. I've enjoyed some of the simple "metagame" aspects. I don't like using the term metagame in this context. It has such an established definition in video games. I don't use the term as it would be applied to WoW, meaning content that comes after the level cap, or the end of natural progression. I'm referring to things that occur outside the game itself. One of the achievements is a good example of this. It's something that's really impossible to obtain unless you look at the achievements, and therefore lays outside the game itself. Another, non-Fez example would be the usage of the jewel case in the original Metal Gear Solid.

I still have much more to figure out in Fez, and I'm excited to keep playing.

#24 Posted by Three0neFive (2327 posts) -

For all the shit Fish talked about other developers, and for all the time and money that went into Fez, it's pretty hilarious that it turned out to be yet another faux-retro indie puzzle-platformer.

#25 Posted by Bollard (6609 posts) -

@Robo: Thanks a lot.

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