As you might’ve seen recently, I beat Fez. Just to clarify one thing–I did not beat Fez recently, only posted recently that I beat it. Clarity on that is important, as I’ve had plenty of time now to ponder and muse over the indie darling that demands scrutiny and dissecting tools to really get under its skin. Supposedly, that’s where things get interesting. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t really know.
Before I start, a note: since I’m not sure what is what in Fez‘s world of cubes and shapes and shapely cubes and how you interpret things, any of the below could be considered spoilerish. Read at your own risk.
So, I reached Fez‘s “kill screen” by using 25 cubes and 7 anti-cubes to open the final door. Thankfully, I was able to get enough regular cubes by finding my way into the sewers, which a high number of people seem to miss on their first run, and therein the connecting levels to them; otherwise, I would’ve really had to put my thinking cap on to obtain most of those anti-cubes in order to proceed. I had treasure maps and a sliver of an idea for a few of them–but my attempts ended all the same: spinning that room, checking that map, trying a few random button sequences, and moving along after too many uneventful minutes.
Anyways, here are the notes I took while playing Fez:
I think I got close on a few things, but, more or less, it all looks Greek to me. I did my best to avoid looking answers up online while I was playing Fez, but in the hazy days afterwards I did stumble across some clearer clues, and to be honest, despite being an editor for nearly eight years now and priding myself on knowing English and idioms and the way language works–well, I’d never have figured this out. I’m just not familiar enough with that phrase.
I skipped the bell. I skipped the clock. I skipped the pyramid sitting in water, which clearly had some kind of hidden door below it. I skipped that treasure chest just beneath the ground, the one where you could only see its silhouette. I skipped that room with all the doors. I skipped all those weird pillars that your floating glowthing guide would point out in wonderment. I skipped that weird door that only revealed itself when the sun set. I skipped a lot of parts that seemed important, but were undecipherable, and I’m okay with that. Fez really is two games in one, and I appreciate that there’s a crazy complicated child in it, but prefer the straightforward runthrough over it. The platforming is adequate and quite simple, but the experience of entering a door, finding a new level, and learning how to climb up it via spinning was quite relaxing…and rewarding. Mostly because when you collected a whole cube, glorious beams of light and sunshine shot out of little Gomez.
After the “kill screen” craziness is over, you can start a New Game+ to go and find those bereaved cubes and anti-cubes. I jumped in out of curiosity and played around with one of the new abilities you earn for finishing the game once. It’s neat, but I’m not sure how it’s really going to help unlock more cubes. And that said, I just don’t think I’m going to go after ’em. Fez was a great experience to play part in, learning and not learning and trudging through it stupidly, but now that I know a few things–not everything, mind you–it just seems less fantastical. I wish I could’ve figured it all out on my own, but I’m not terribly distraught that I didn’t.