“The Hex” by Daniel Mullins, Jonah Senzel, Brendan Sullivan, Michael Mola, Enzo Doyen, Marcello Brancaccio, Luis Redin Ochoa, Farhad Alishov, Blue Bowling Translators (Michelle Finholdt & Jefferson Santos), Christian Hecklinger, Berke O. Yilmaz, João Pedro Uhry Gonçalves & Kamila Makowska.
“The barkeep gets a patchy phone call[: … S]omeone in The Six Pint Inn is planning a murder. There are six patrons; all of them are video game protagonists trying to escape their past… But The Six Pint Inn has a way of bringing back old memories. Each flashback plays out in an entirely different genre, sometimes blending multiple. By exploring these memories you may discover the identity of the murderer… [O]r you may learn much darker secrets.”
Many of you will know Daniel Mullins for his popular and mysterious indie title “Pony Island”, (which started out as a submission for the 31st Ludum Dare, by the way). After this success, he worked with a bunch of other people on another game called “The Hex”. And what can I say? If you liked “Pony Island” already, you will love “The Hex”, as it is an exciting and intense meta experience, which bundles the elements of many different genres together.
It all starts with a suspicious phone call in the Six Pint Inn: Somebody is planning to murder someone, but both the murderer and the victim do not get named. Besides the innkeeper, there only seem to be six other persons in the building. Each one of them resemble characters of different video game genres – the former platformer hero Super Weasel Kid, muscle man Bryce who actually prefers cooking games, the enchantress Chandrelle who is capable of using black magic, the slightly confused Rust who comes from a strategy game with a post-apocalyptic scenario, the honorable space shooter character Lazarus and a cloaked shadow figure whose name are simply three question marks.
Each of these characters have to endure flashbacks to their past, which allows the players to get in touch with the six different main genres (jump’n’run, fighting, RPG, strategy, shooter and exploration). This choice of design is a very interesting one in my opinion, as the change of game mechanics produces a great feeling of variety and also fits in well with the story. Six different main characters, six perspectives, six different games. But all of them are connected in some way, and that is where the meta experience starts.
Only on the first glimpse “The Hex” is a game about video game characters; in reality, it is also about the reception and development of video games in general. You will be the witness of stories about failed sequels and ports, tales about the boredom of always repeating plots as well as reports about unfinished projects. But that is just one side of the coin, as the last chapters will reveal. After all, creations never comes out of nowhere, does it?