Indie Game of the Year 2012

Platforms: Microsoft Xbox 360

If there ever was a game to exemplify a labour of love then you would be hard pressed to find anything to top Fez in those stakes. Plagued by internal issues and technical problems there was a fear that the promising puzzle platformer would go the way of so many promising vapourware titles, and most of these issues can be seen in the superb Indie Game:The Movie. Creator and developer Phil Fish is an interesting character, maligned by some and revered by others, but the one thing that rings true is that he cared greatly about this title and you can feel every ounce of love put into this game.

It is a title that feels immediately familiar with its 8-bit trappings but it is steeped in interesting and original touches, such a difficult line to walk but here it is done with what seems like consummate ease. Our very own Stevie Mac reviewed Fez back in May, and he had this to say:

"On the face of it, Fez is a charmingly retro platformer in the requisite 8-bit style which follows our large-headed hero Gomez, propelled from his quiet nondescript flat hometown on a journey into the unknown. Along the way Gomez is granted the dimension-warping titular headwear, which bestows the ability to change perspective, thus bringing previously hidden areas into view and aligning platforms into more traversable configurations. The main focus of the game is exploration; be warned there are many rooms and areas to discover in the great wide pixelated world as you hunt down the cubes & cube-bits which will save the world in some sketchily defined way. There are no enemies to speak of; the lovingly animated flora & fauna you meet along your way will not obstruct you, and upon any missteps you end up miraculously back from where you fell. Indeed, the only obstacle to overcome is your own mental incompetence, ranging from simple 'how do I get up there?!' quandaries to mind-melting logic games between you and one of the aforementioned coveted cubes.

I could spend a lot more time discussing the ingenious puzzles contained within, but I wouldn't dream of spoiling it for you. You just can't beat that feeling of revelation upon working out the solution after thoroughly grinding your cogs, and it's a feeling that is in short supply in the current market of cookie-cutter FPSs and extended coddling tutorials. This is a harsh but welcoming reminder of the days before the internet, when you were really on your own and had no recourse but to quiz your friends on how to get past 'that bit'. Well, either that or call one of those gaming hotlines, or if you were very lucky, ask Gamesmaster."

It is a well deserved win for Fez and for Phil who had more than a hard time of getting the game into your homes and hands. As a special treat here is Stevie Mac's cover of the 'Home' theme from the game.

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Tags 2012, awards, indie
Category Feature

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