If you’re looking for more ways to expand that list of games that you really, really honestly will get round to playing eventually but probably not right now because you’ve still got a load of other ones to get through, then I’m pleased to inform you that Fez is currently free on the Epic Store. Oh, and that Inside and Celeste will be free next week too.
Fez, for those yet to experience its multi-dimensional charms, is, at first glance, a sort of puzzle-y platformer in the retro, side-scrolling mould. Before too long, however, its 2D protagonist discovers that their world isn’t quite as flat as they’d been led to believe, beginning a slightly brain-scrambling adventure that requires players to flip through the world’s previously hidden sides. Really, it makes more sense if you see it in action.
Eurogamer, it’s fair to say, adored Fez when it released back in 2012. Oli Welsh gave it a Eurogamer Essential badge well before they were a thing, and everybody else refused to shut up about it, even going as far as to crown it Game of the Year.
“The game’s unique artwork, its perspective-shift mechanic, its nostalgia for the 16-bit years and its bewitchingly strange setting all exist in total harmony and make a single, deliberate statement,” said Oli all those years ago. “Maybe it’s about perception, reality and subjectivity, like the old man said. But I think it’s about something else: what games were to us in their charged infancy, what they’ve expanded into in the 30 years since, and how to fold those things together into a single, beautiful whole.”
Next week’s free offerings aren’t a slouch either; Christian Donlan planted a big old Eurogamer Recommended kiss on Celeste last year, calling developer Matt Makes Games’ wonderfully presented, ceaselessly inventive platformer, “brutal, but…also sweet, and in its handling of the two elements it finds both a touching, timely narrative and an enviable sense of balance.”
Inside, meanwhile, is the starkly presented, frequently fascinating follow-up to developer Playdead’s Limbo. Once again, it’s a game of running left to right for some light puzzle-solving, but it’s the breathtakingly cinematic choreography of it all, charting the disturbing adventures of a boy on the run in a bleak dystopian city, that really makes it sing. Or howl.
“As with the cleverest of Inside’s tricks, the narrative itself is best discovered through the act of playing,” said Donlan in his Recommended review, “but it’s worth saying that Playdead’s latest certainly feels peculiarly topical as it ceaselessly orbits persecution, violence, and all the other dehumanising, self-defeating monsters of fear. It toys with the meaning of that word, inside, until there’s nothing left to it that doesn’t feel strange and unsettling.”
Fez can be snagged for free on the Epic Store right now until 29th August, whereupon Celeste and Inside will be up for grabs.