Indie game wonder is a fountain of brain-stretching ideas.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game focuses on exploration, discovery, and abstract thinking. It encourages players to use their minds rather than violence to solve problems and provides rewards when they are successful. 

Positive role models

The hero, Gomez, is a two-dimensional creature exploring a newly found three-dimensional world. He doesn't fight, but instead simply works through environmental puzzles while tracking down golden cubes. His brief interactions with other characters demonstrate that he is personable and a good friend, and his goal of saving reality from dissolving suggests that he is courageous and clever.  

Ease of play

Controls for running and jumping mimic those of most traditional platformers and shouldn't be hard for players to pick up. The dimension shifting mechanic is unusual, but surprisingly intuitive. The most challenging parts of the game are the puzzles, which can be very tricky. Finding your way around the game's intricate web of levels might cause some frustration, too.


The player's character -- a white marshmallow-like creature -- can fall off of ledges and die or get sucked into space. He simply disappears, then reappears a second later, none the worse for the wear.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that FEZ is an award-winning, independently developed downloadable game available only through Xbox Live Arcade that has players solving challenging puzzles rather than fighting enemies. Kids spend their time exploring a clever world that shifts between two and three dimensions, searching for golden cubes that will help them prevent reality from dissolving. The marshmallow-like protagonist doesn’t speak much, but through his player-controlled actions proves himself to be courageous and resourceful. Note that while there is little in the way of inappropriate content, the game’s complexity and difficulty make it best suited for older children.

What kids can learn



  • collecting


Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • memorization
  • solving puzzles


  • achieving goals
  • set objectives
  • work to achieve goals

Engagement, Approach, Support


Though not beautiful in a traditional sense, this low-fi game will capture players' imaginations with its beguiling worlds, which cleverly transform from two to three dimensions and back again. 

Learning Approach

Puzzles are baked in, with clues to solutions found not just in the world but within the story. Players won't be able to transfer what they've learned to the real world, but they'll make use of real-world experience while playing.


Some guidance is provided at the start, and the game tracks players' most important accomplishments. However, there's not much official support outside the confines of the game.

What kids can learn



  • collecting


Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • memorization
  • solving puzzles


  • achieving goals
  • set objectives
  • work to achieve goals

Kids can learn how to think abstractly and solve problems in this unusual platformer (a run-and-jump game). They will put their logic and reasoning skills to the test as they work through a world that has three dimensions but which can only be interacted with on a flat plane. This gives rise to a wide variety of clever and interesting puzzles. Kids’ memories will be challenged, too, as they’re forced to retrace their steps through the game’s complex web of environments. FEZ’s tricky navigation may confuse some kids, but for those who can wrap their brains around shifting between 2D and 3D, there’s mind-stretching puzzling to explore.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

FEZ's champion is a marshmallow-like creature named Gomez who lives in a two-dimensional world. He and his fellow villagers are ignorant of the existence of a third dimension, blithely dismissing the concept of objects like cubes as pure fantasy. However, our pixel-y protagonist acquires a new perspective on things when he dons the game's titular tasseled hat, which allows him to rotate his once flat environment by 90 degree increments. Players flip through the world's four sides at the tap of a button, revealing a bounty of hidden doors, platforms, and ledges. The catch is that the world remains flat while viewed from any one side. Platforms hovering in front of or behind the plane on which our fluffy white hero stands become flattened and part of a single plane. Trying to use words to describe this inherently visual mechanic -- which is used to create a seemingly never-ending stream of clever environmental puzzles that must be overcome in order to complete your objective of collecting scores of golden cubes -- is difficult, but the game is surprisingly intuitive when experienced firsthand.

Is it any good?


There is no shortage of things to like in this long-in-the-making indie wonder. Its dimension-shifting shtick creates a wave of satisfyingly brain-breaking concepts that seems never to stop rising, making for a profoundly compelling puzzle/platforming experience. And it looks lovely. Its old-school, 16-bit aesthetic is composed of beautiful pixel art backgrounds and animations as well as a lush score constructed of surprisingly atmospheric retro bloops and bleeps.

The map system can be confusing, which makes it tricky to navigate the game's vast web of levels. And you can expect to run into a few annoying bugs -- always a risk when playing a game designed by just a handful of people rather than a large studio. However, scraping up against the occasional jagged edge is acceptable if it means getting to the next consummately-crafted bit of platform and puzzle play. Make no mistake; FEZ is something special.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about games that focus on puzzles rather than fighting. Which do you prefer: challenging your wits or testing your reflexes? What is your favorite game that involves no fighting?

  • Why are so many innovative games presented as downloads?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Available online
Release date:April 13, 2012
ESRB rating:E for Mild Fantasy Violence

This review of FEZ was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old January 17, 2014

5 Stars

The only reason I give it a 8+ is because of the difficulty. This game has some of The best 2D graphics i've ever seen. The game is in a semi open world similar to Super Mario Galaxy. From what you find out about Gomaz he is a pretty good character. The game Forces people to think and explore. 5 Stars.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old May 7, 2012


i like this alot i have one
Educator Written byphonix11 May 24, 2012


i htink its a good game for my child


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