Fez. FEZ. Cripes. What an experience, eh?
64 cubes down, and now the end-game is upon us. It’s playing out right now, in fact, on jotter pads, the backs of envelopes, and stray napkin corners as Fezzers around the world – we have a secret handshake and everything – battle with Polytron’s dream logic and try to crack open those last few mysteries.
Fez is the rare modern game that forces you to write things down and keep little maps and lists handy, in other words. And there’s another priceless tool available, too, if you find that you’ve run out of paper or broken all of your HB pencils. What am I talking about? Friends.
Polytron’s debut is devoutly single-player, perhaps, but I’ve discovered that it really comes alive when you work with others. You don’t have to physically hang out together, necessarily, shouting out ideas and passing the controller back and forth. Fez is brilliant even if you’re just comparing notes after a session, or sending email chains around filled with theories, strategies, and reminders.
It works so well because, for the most part, it’s logic-based rather than skill-based. It’s not really about the jumps from one platform to the next so much as the leaps that take you between different ways of thinking and seeing. That means – 2D/3D thing aside – it’s surprisingly easy to describe a solution to someone else, or send them a link to an alphabet gif, and it’s easy for them to then build on your ideas and take you all closer to victory. There’s a touch of Dark Souls to some of this.
It’s been a good few days for inventive multiplayer, actually, whether you’re after the studious collective brain-teasing of Fez, or the twitchy competitive ghost-chasing of Trials. In RedLynx’s latest, your friends are content. In Fez, your friends are extra bandwidth for your problem solving. Either way, they’re essential, if you ask me, and both games serves as reminders that there’s much more to multiplayer than death match and CTF.