Pinku Kult is an emerging UK-based, independently owned and operated fashion brand that boasts a bold, delightfully offbeat, creepy-cute anime-esque aesthetic that appeals to a subcultural demographic. Not content with just being a fashion brand, Pinku Kult and Valorware have created a Japanese-style RPG that brings personality to the various characters and creatures featured on their wares. I love the idea that when I buy a Pinku Kult shirt featuring, say, the girl in the fox mask, I’m not just buying a shirt with eye-catching artwork – I’m also buying a shirt with a badass character I’m with I connected via die Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis video game. And I like to say that Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis is a game of style and substance.
Similar to the comic book-inspired alternate universe Cyco City, where the music videos of the band Sumo Cyco take place, Pinku Kult: Hex MortisThe characters of live in a realized and living world called Razore City. You play as a hapless resident that you create using a character creation module. During a sleepless night of surfing the web, you come across a suspicious wanted ad from the Shokan Corporation. You apply on a whim and unexpectedly you are immediately called for an interview. It turns out you’re exactly the kind of person they need: not only are you an expendable nobody, but you haven’t been in Razore City long enough to form any connections or prejudices that might prevent you from to do your job objectively. These duties include missing-person investigations and the discreet — and permanent — elimination of threats (like the suspect girl in the fox mask).
Before you can ask any questions or even wrap your head around the gravity of what you’ve just signed up for, you’ll be 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 easily, so there’s no backing down from this high-risk offer. However, with high risk comes high reward, and since you’re behind on rent, the promise of massive cash has a certain appeal.
Although you are a protagonist of the blank slate, you are certainly not a silent one. The script doesn’t reference your character’s gender, so it feels like an extension of yourself no matter how you style it. The ability to change their attire and appearance throughout gameplay also allows for a fair amount of self-insertion. The writing itself has personality but could have used some technical sophistication. Some of the dialogue is stiff to read and there were isolated technical errors such as sentences with missing prepositions. It’s also worth noting that since the creative team is based in the UK, North American players may need to get used to different terminologies e.g. B. “elevator” versus “elevator”.
The game’s aesthetic, like the clothing line, converges styles that our natural inclinations believe shouldn’t go together. For example, seeing images of an adorably awkward “Moe” anime girl with the slobbering mandibles of a starving arachnid is captivating because it feels wrong, but it’s still right there. The graphics use lots of bright and vibrant colors, but the locations and residents exude an unsettling atmosphere that unsettles me enough to exercise caution with any (softly animated) movement. The character, NPC, and enemy sprites move like paper dolls, fitting with Razore City’s unconventional nature. Much like the graphics, the music’s sinister melodies have upbeat instrumentation with some delightfully dissonant sound textures in the background. I found the haunting yet poppy soundtrack spectacular, and I often spent time in the game just enjoying the music. In short, the graphics and sound make for an immersive environment.
This Japanese-style turn-based RPG was quite enjoyable to play. Enemy encounters are visible in dungeons, and I recommend eliminating them all so you’re properly leveled for the dynamic boss battles. Enemies hit a little hard to begin with, so just gaining a level makes a noticeable difference. You level up at a decent pace 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 don’t come cheap and shopping options are limited in some chapters. Aside from recovery items, successful regular attacks will also recharge some MP during battle. I found Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis‘Difficulty just right. Fights have challenged me but never been punished; Every fight was winnable without being served on a silver platter.
Outside of combat, I enjoyed exploring Razore City and speaking to the various NPCs. Whether you use a gamepad or a combination of mouse and keyboard, Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis can be controlled well. I found the interface intuitive to use, and while the menus look more PC-friendly, they’re easy to navigate with a gamepad. The fonts used throughout are large, clear and easy to read. The game uses autosave only with no manual save option. Normally I’d knock a game because it doesn’t have a manual save option, but since it’s not very long autosave is fine.
Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis is an engaging game that took me about 7 hours to complete and left me wanting more. Those 7 hours were all substance with no padding to artificially lengthen the game. The game respected my time instead of wasting it under the pretense “longer game = better value”. I compare Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis to a game like track memory. While track memory was only about 3-5 hours long, it was one of the most fulfilling experiences i have ever had playing a nintendo ds game. Aside from my concerns about writing, that’s the only other limitation I have Pinku Kult: Hex Mortis is that its macabre style and occult themes may not suit everyone. I personally loved it and would buy a Pinku Kult carry case in a heartbeat to store my instrument cables and other bass accessories in if/when my new band ever starts performing in preparation for our own World Domination tour.