It feels like half a decade ago that we heard rumors of Polytron’s classic perspective-shifting platformer FEZ heading to the mobile platform. Oh, it WAS half a decade ago. Longer than that in fact. The first grumblings were way back in August of 2012 when Polytron Tweeted how they’d turned down an offer for Zynga to port FEZ to mobile for them. Heh. And then in December of that same year Polyton’s Phil Fish mused about bringing FEZ to more platforms, and while mobile wasn’t mentioned specifically, given the explosive growth of mobile gaming at the time it wasn’t hard to imagine mobile being one of the platforms envisioned. In March of 2013 during a Reddit AMA, Fish stated that FEZ coming to mobile was “highly probable." It was a shoo-in then, right? FEZ would be coming to mobile!
Welp. The following July, Phil Fish had his now infamous Twitter meltdown where he cancelled the in-development FEZ 2 and announced his departure from the game industry. Despite founding the company, that didn’t mean the end of Polytron though, and they let people know on Twitter that there was still “much porting to do!" for their breakout hit FEZ. So like, it was DEFINITELY coming to mobile then, right? Right. Well, cue about four years of silence before we heard anything more on the prospect of FEZ on mobile, but in April of last year Polytron released a new trailer showing FEZ running on an iPad that ended by displaying the year 2017. Could it be? Would this mystical FEZ port finally be happening? As it turned out, yes, Polytron came through with the long-anticipated FEZ mobile port when they released FEZ Pocket Edition ($4.99) last December. And you know what? It was really good and, depending on how much you loved FEZ and wanted it in your pocket, totally worth the wait.
There was just one problem though. Despite releasing last December and more than a month after Apple released their iPhone X to the public, FEZ Pocket Edition didn’t support the full screen of that device. It ran in the letterboxed mode that other unoptimized games ran in. As an iPhone X owner games that don’t support the full screen are extremely aggravating, especially for newly released games. Given the trials and tribulations of bringing FEZ to mobile in the first place, I didn’t exactly have a ton of confidence that Polytron would go back and add in full screen support for the iPhone X. Well it took about 8 months but Polytron has done right by us iPhone X owners and just today has updated FEZ Pocket Edition with full screen support for the iPhone X. It’s… it’s beautiful!
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see FEZ in full screen glory on the iPhone X. I know a lot of people dismiss iPhone X support as trivial, but I think you need to own one to fully appreciate the situation. Apps and games that fill the entire screen just look right, and when they don’t fill the full screen it’s totally distracting. In some cases it even makes games less playable due to the border area of unoptimized games not having touch support. I was so excited to play through FEZ again when it launched last December but stopped only a short way into it just because the borders annoyed me so much. Now I feel like I’m ready to fully commit to diving into this strange and wonderful game again. Is that silly? Maybe, but we’re so flush with choices on mobile that there’s a million games I could be playing that DO fully take advantage of my device of choice that it’s not worth wasting time on games that don’t.
In addition to iPhone X support, which really only matters to iPhone X owners, there’s a couple of other nice additions that should make everyone happy. This update fixes a problem with the telescope so that you can actually see the stars as you’re supposed to now, and a new option to make the virtual controls transparent has been added to the pause menu. This is especially nice as the super opaque virtual controls the game originally launched with could be really distracting. So if you’re an iPhone X owner who was determined to wait it out for Polytron to add full screen support (yes I am describing myself), your waiting has finally paid off! And if you’re just someone who hasn’t played FEZ before but own an iOS device, which you very likely do if you’re reading this right now, then give FEZ Pocket Edition a try as for all its faults this is still one of the most unique games to release in the last decade and everyone should experience it at least once.