Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Polyton Corporation
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
There's something to be said for simple things done incredibly well, and Fez is a game that harks back to a simpler time, when we would stick a cartridge in a machine for the sake of joy and curiosity, and marvel at mechanical creativity and the innovation of design. It is a rich tapestry of bygone days, nostalgic feeling, and rose-tinted hindsight; a knowing testament to a gaming landscape that demanded only that the player be interested and willing, and then provided a carnival of delights to enjoy.
But this is no mausoleum; rather Fez is a pixellated love letter to those halcyon days of ages past.
Phil Fish's comments on the state of Japanese development these days are well documented. But this is a game that reflects younger times weaned on a diet of the console battle between Nintendo and SEGA. This is a game that harks back to the 2D platforming classics of yore, mixing things up with a central premise that sees you switch perspective at the tap of a button.
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Trapdoor Entertainment has released a new trailer for their upcoming downloadable puzzler Warp, which shows off the Echo and Swap abilities we discussed in yesterday's hands-on preview. It's set to be a thoroughly unique experience with some Portal overtones... and a huge amount of shocking gore. I especially enjoyed the ability to warp a barrel inside an unsuspecting human with gibby consequences - so stay tuned for that around the one minute mark.Click here for the trailer!
Warp first piqued our interest at EA's April Showcase, where this downloadable puzzler stood out against EA's more conventional lineup thanks to its innovative mechanics, eyecatching art style and buckets upon buckets of unexpected gore. Several months on, Trapdoor were proud to show us a new build featuring new abilities, challenge rooms and upgrades, and from what we can see, this unassuming little title is going to be one of the indie highlights of the year.
Players are cast as Zero: an adorable alien test subject who's been captured by the military and is forced to undergo all manner of degrading experiments and horrible vivisections. You'll spend the first few minutes of the game rolling balls through hoops and performing tricks for your sadistic captors in order to earn a meagre ration, getting used to the isometric perspective and controls as you do so. However, after being reached out to by your telepathic fellow inmate Milo (a disconcerting hovering crystal who acts as an omnipresent narrator), you'll eventually come into contact with your dissected organs... and all hell breaks loose. Zero is an incredibly powerful entity who can bend space and matter to his will, and woe betide anyone who stands in the way of his daring escape.
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One of the most interesting titles at the recent EA showcase was also one of the most undersung. EA Partners have teamed up with indie studio Trapdoor to produce an odd and anarchic experience that blurs the line between cute, cuddly characters and psychopathic, bloodsoaked violence. Since little was known about this quirky puzzler before last November, we were naturally itching to try it out for ourselves.
As it turns out, Warp is looking good even at this early stage.
Players take control of a truly adorable little lab experiment/monstrosity who has the power to teleport a short distance. Players use the twinstick formula to amble around and rotate a small reticle that indicates the destination of your warp. A quick button press later and you'll instantly appear at your target - teleporting through walls or behind enemies in the process.
Ah, yes. Enemies. As soon as you escape the first laboratory testing chamber, you'll have to contend with roving patrols of armed guards and panicky, helpless scientists (who can still raise the alarm if more powerful antagonists happen to be around). My first instinct was to use the unique teleportation mechanic to manoeuver around behind them; keeping out of sight by hiding in their blind spot and warping through walls before they reached the end of their patrol route. Stealth is incredibly important as a single enemy bullet will kill you stone dead, putting the emphasis on working out the best route through any given selection of rooms.
However, the Trapdoor rep was keen for me to try something else. When the reticle is centred on an enemy soldier or scientist, you can warp inside them, causing them to convulse in paroxysms of horrible agony as you occupied. I was instantly surprised at the sudden gritty realism of the source material and the odd juxtaposition with the cutesy character... and then, with a smile on her face, the rep told me to waggle the thumbstick. So obligingly, I did. And the hapless scientist erupted into a gory fountain of blood, bones and gibs.
It was awesome.
Click here to continue reading our Warp preview >>