It’s been a long time coming.
Fez is an unassuming indie game that altered perceptions of the 2D platformer in the early 2010s. But after its creator quit the industry and canceled its sequel, it seemed unlikely the game would ever come to more platforms. A 2017 iOS port instilled some hope, and now we actually have the game on Nintendo Switch following April’s Indie World Showcase.
On its surface, Fez functions like any other 2D platformer. You run, jump, and climb through a 2D village as a small white character named Gomez. The situation quickly escalates after an elder in the village gives Gomez the titular Fez hat, and he’s transported to another dimension where a hexahedron shatters.
This gives Gomez the ability to see the world in 3D by rotating the 2D plane. The destruction of the hexahedron also means the world is starting to fall apart, so Gomez must work with a tesseract named Dot to recover cube shards across several levels.
The story is surprisingly lore-heavy (this world even has its own alphabet), but it’s worth experiencing for yourself without spoilers. Just know that there’s more to Fez than meets the eye. That applies to gameplay too, a Fez is a much more complex puzzle-platformer than it originally seems to be.
While some games like Super Paper Mario for Wii and Crush mess with switching between 2 and 3D perspectives, none of them do it as amazingly as Fez. You can view every area you venture through in Fez from 4 different perspectives, which open up lots of new puzzles and platforming opportunities.
In some of the simpler levels, changing perspective reveals new platforms or makes platforms closer to each other and easier to jump on. As the game goes on, the level gimmicks get more complex, as Gomez learns to rotate individual objects with switches, change perspectives to connect the track a platform is moving on, and more.
Even though Fez’s controls and mechanics are simple, its levels' multidimensional layout adds a ton of literal and figurative depth to the experience. Even though I’ve already played the game, revisiting it on Switch was still a novel experience as I reencountered some of my favorite levels, like the one mentioned above.
On top of that, the pixel art is all still gorgeous. Of course, there’s no short supply of pixel art games nowadays, but Fez’s world is still so pretty to look at, no matter what angle or perspective you view it from. It’s really a shame that Phil Fish canceled this game’s sequel because a follow-up could be even more gorgeous and mind-bending.
The Nintendo Switch port doesn’t appear to change or add anything significant to the game. Fez runs at a stable frame rate, loading times are short, and it’s portable on Switch, making this new port the premier way to play this game. If you haven’t given it a try yet, you need to pick it up on Switch now.
Fez is available for $14.99 on Nintendo Switch.