When I first got my hands on Fez I was already apprehensive about the new platform puzzler with the cool ambient chip tune music. Did we really need another game trying to capitalize on the charm of 8-bit? No, we really don't, but that doesn't mean that Fez isn't an amazing experience. I assure you that Fez is nothing short of great. The thing is it's really difficult to pinpoint what it is about Fez that makes it so damn addicting.
Then it came to me--you were in this enigmatic world and you wanted to know more about it. It's the mystery behind it that keeps you going. You really don't know why it is you're doing the things that you're doing or why you have to save the world, you just do it. So why do I have to collect fragments of cubes? Why is the world in danger? What is this place? This is what I found to be the sole reason I kept going forward. I just couldn't stop. I had to know more.
Fez doesn't break any new ground with the 8-bit styling, that's been done to death, but the world is always changing in front of you. Each new door unravels a new and exciting place with new challenges. The music, which is outstanding, coupled with the art style was able to evoke a different feeling every time.
Some levels have that happy-go-lucky feeling with joyful chip tune music, while darker levels give a sense of foreboding. Fez has this uncanny ability to shift the mood with the music and the art style of a particular level, which is one of the things that sets it apart from similar experiences. Well, that and the games "rabbit hole" effect, as I like to call it.
What I mean by that is that the game takes you on a journey covered in what seems like hundreds of layers. You can never visit all the doors, find all the keys, or uncover the areas with fragments. It's one huge maze where the world is meant to be explored. In other words, the game absorbs you, and at the point you're lost in it. The game doesn't necessarily hold your hand through the process, but it doesn't leave you in the dark either. It gives you vague enough instructions to get by, but the rest is really up to you.
There are times where I became frustrated because I really wanted to see everything the game had to offer in one playthrough, but I realized that wouldn't be possible.The way the game is designed allows you to appreciate the world. That is to say that the puzzles aren't mind-numbingly difficult, the platforming isn't torturous, and the game is generally forgiving.
If you fall off of a platform after reaching the top of your destination, it simply returns you to the last platform you were on. I really liked this aspect due to the fact that in similar titles like Super Meat Boy, with its painful difficulty took the enjoyment out of it for me.
Fez on the other hand makes me want to keep playing. I want to find treasures and uncover the mystery behind the world. In fact, I got so engrossed with the game that I would try to discover every door within every level. I guess I felt that if I didn't do that, that I would be missing something very vital.
I've played the Braids, the Limbo's and the Outland's, but Fez is the only one that wrapped me in its web for five hours when I first played it. Kudos to Ploytron and Phil Fish on creating a game that was well worth the wait. Fez is a simplistic, yet beautiful game, and sometimes that's more than enough. Don't think about it, just buy it.