Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis | RPG Fan

Pinku Kult is an emerging, independently owned and operated, UK-based fashion brand characterized by a boldly colourful, delightfully quirky, spooky and cute aesthetic that speaks to a sub-cultural demographic. Not content with just being a fashion brand, Pinku Kult and Valorware have created a Japanese-style RPG that gives personality to the various characters and creatures seen on their products. I like the idea that if I buy a Pinku Kult shirt with, say, the girl in the fox mask, I’m not just buying a shirt with striking artwork – I’m also buying a shirt with a tough character to cook with which I connected via the Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis video game. And I’m happy to say that Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis is both stylish and substantial.

Much like the comic book-inspired alternate universe of Cyco City where the group Sumo Cycothe music videos of take place, Pinku Kult: Hex MortisThe characters live in a realized and dynamic world called Razore City. You play as an unlucky inhabitant that you create using a character creation module. During a sleepless night of web browsing, you come across a suspicious advertisement seeking help from the Shokan Corporation. You apply on a whim and unexpectedly they immediately call you for an interview. Turns out you’re precisely the kind of person they need: not only aren’t you an expendable person, but you haven’t been in Razore City long enough to make any connections or prejudices that might prevent you from performing your tasks objectively. These tasks include conducting missing person investigations and quietly – and permanently – eliminating any threats (like the suspicious girl in the fox mask).

Before you can ask questions or even understand the seriousness of what you just signed up for, you are given one of three mandatory animal masks to wear and thrown to the wolves. Shokan seems to know everything about you and could probably choke you down easily, so there’s no backing down on this high-risk proposition. However, with high risk comes high reward, and since you’re behind on rent, the promise of massive cash is attractive.

And we have only begun to spiral down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Although you are a blank slate protagonist, you are certainly not silent. The script makes no reference to your character’s gender, so it feels like an extension of yourself no matter how you style it. Being able to change clothes and appearance throughout the game also allows for a good level of self-insertion. As for the writing itself, it has personality but could have benefited from a technical refinement. Some dialogue reads rigidly and there were spurious technical errors such as sentences missing prepositions. It’s also worth noting that since the creative team is based in the UK, players based in North America may have to get used to different terminology, like “elevator” vs. “elevator”.

The game’s aesthetic, like the clothing line, converges styles that, according to our natural inclinations, shouldn’t go together. For example, seeing footage of an adorably clumsy “moe” anime girl with the slavering mandibles of a voracious arachnid is compelling because she feels bad but is still there. The visuals use lots of bright, vibrant colors, but the locations and people give off an unnerving vibe that unsettled me enough to exercise caution with every move (smoothly animated). The character, NPC, and enemy sprites move like paper dolls, matching the quirky nature of Razore City. In a similar vein to the graphics, the music’s eerie melodies have cheerful instrumentation with delightfully dissonant sonic textures in the background. I found the soundtrack both haunting and poppy spectacular, and I often sat idle in-game just to enjoy the music. In short, the graphics and sound create an immersive setting.

This Japanese-style turn-based RPG was quite enjoyable to play. Enemy encounters are visible in dungeons, and I recommend clearing each one so you’re properly leveled for dynamic boss battles. Enemies hit a little hard right off the bat, so gaining even just one level makes a noticeable difference. You level up at a decent rate, and it’s nice that leveling up restores your HP. There are no gear upgrades, but it’s important to manage your resources as healing items aren’t cheap and purchase options are limited in some chapters. Apart from restore items, successful regular attacks also recharge some MP during battle. I found Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis‘ difficulty just. The battles challenged me, but I never felt any punishment; every fight was winnable without being served on a silver platter.

Colorful, spooky and cute are apt descriptions for Pinku Kult’s style.

Outside of battle, I enjoyed exploring Razore City and talking to the various NPCs. Whether you’re using a gamepad or a mouse/keyboard combo, Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis control well. I found the interface intuitive to use, and while the menus seem more PC-friendly, they’re easy to navigate using a gamepad. The fonts used throughout are large, clear, and readable. The game uses autosave exclusively with no manual save option. Normally I’d kick a game for not having a manual save option, but given that it’s not very long autosave is just fine.

Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis is a tense game that took me about 7 hours to complete and left me wanting more. Those 7 hours were all substantial with no padding to artificially lengthen the game. The game respected my time rather than wasting it under the guise of “longer game = better value”. I compare Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis to a game like Trace memory. Whereas Trace memory only lasted about 3-5 hours, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had with a Nintendo DS game. Aside from my apprehensions with writing, the only other caveat I have with Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis is that its macabre style and occult themes may not suit everyone’s tastes. Personally, I was into it and would totally buy a Pinku Kult tote bag to keep my instrument cables and other bass related accessories in if/when my new band starts playing in preparation for our own World Domination tour.

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