Fez is out this week! For reals! First announced all the way back in July of 2007 (the PS3 and Wii weren’t even a year old), you’ve probably heard of it since then if you follow the indie scene, or at least seen screenshots of its distinctive pixel graphics. I got to play it for a while at PAX last August, and it felt like a solid platformer. The Escher-like core mechanic—rotating the 2D world 90 degrees at a time to reveal new paths—took some time to get used to, but it was a nice twist (excuse me) on the genre.
What stuck out the most in my mind, though, is how one of the PAX presenters mentioned that part of the game’s ambition is to be something you can sit back and take your time with, which the player character’s leisurely movement encourages‐he’s definitely no Mario. That’s really cool, I thought, instantly imagining myself lazily rotating Fez‘s world around as I searched for the key to the next area. Will that fly with gamers accustomed to slurping up the newest releases and plowing through them so they can trade them in towards whatever’s out the next week? I’m a little skeptical, but considering how long the game has been in development, hopefully people can come to terms. I’d hate for everyone to rush through it too quickly.
Fez is out this Wednesday as an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive, with a crossplatform release in consideration.
The other big download this week is one I’m especially looking forward to: It’s Skullgirls, a 2D fighting game that’s the brainchild of artist Alex Ahad and fighting game veteran Mike “Mike Z” Zaimont. Although it’s not a big name like Street Fighter or Tekken, Skullgirls hopes to win the fighting game community over with tournament-grade gameplay balance and lag-free online multiplayer. It’s already developed an enthusiastic following, thanks to Zaimont’s credibility as lead designer and Ahad’s memorable character designs, which are all gorgeously animated. As luck would have it, I got to play a few rounds of the game last month when Mr. Ahad swung by Gamecenter Arcade with a build. (See episode 45.) It was fun, if a bit overwhelming, although that’s to be expected with any new fighting game. I’ll be enthusiastically downloading it when the PlayStation Store updates later today so I can spend some quality time with it (and Peacock‘s bag of tricks). Xbox users will be able to download it this Wednesday.
Will I see you fighting it out in Skullgirls online, or is Fez more up your alley? Let us know in the comments!
One more thing: Kinect Star Wars came out last week and, although we didn’t write about it, I can’t pass up the chance to share this video with you. Enjoy!