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In a dark, forgotten corner of the video game universe, a storm is raging...
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One dark and stormy night, the bartender at the Six Pints Inn gets a phone call that one of the patrons is planning a murder. He announces this discovery to his six guests, and then the mystery begins as we spend time with each of the six guests, learn more about them, and try to piece together who's planning to kill who and why. The six suspects also all happen to be video game characters, each from a different genre, including platforming, fighting, RPG, and others. This may be some sort of game world, but the truth behind it may be far more complicated than that would imply.

The Hex is a 2018 PC game made by Daniel Mullins, the developer of Pony Island. There is absolutely No Fourth Wall like his last release, but it's a much more serious affair than Pony Island, having characters go through identity and existential crises. The game changes genre the longer it goes on, with a central point-and-click structure for the Six Pint Inn segments, and each flashback switching to a different genre of game for each of the different characters, managing to use a unified WASD and left click control scheme for every different style of play.

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It is recommended that you play the game first, as there are major spoilers below, you've been warned.

The Hex gives examples of:

  • Absurdism: A lot of the game's dark comedy comes from video game characters being aware of their lack of choice in their own identities and fates.
  • Addressing the Player: Happens several times.
  • After the End: The Waste World setting.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It's left ambiguous how much of Sado's behavior was programmed and how much is an accident. Carla hated Lionel and sabotaged bits of code in the games, but Sado's malice towards Rust goes beyond simple trolling. There's also the matter of her possible satanic connection...
  • Alternate Reality Game: Many of the game's secrets can only be found by first getting hints in it, and then exploring the net outside it. Finding the locket and getting it translated will eventually lead you to a completely different game with a hidden file, for example.
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  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Rebecha is a mechanic from a fantasy video game and has dark green skin. Rocky is some sort of irradiated mutant from a post-apocalypse world and as such is green from head to toe. Irving is an advanced AI and has blue skin. Lazarus has greenish skin after he gets turned from a knight to a space marine.
  • Apocalypse How: Planetary when Vallamir wins in Secrets of Legendaria. Multiversial if you free him in the Six Pint Inn.
  • Arc Number: Six. The Six Pints Inn. Six guests. Six game segments. Six sides and six angles on a hexagon. And in some instances Sado as a spider has six legs instead of eight.
  • Arc Words: "Sarsaparilla" pops up frequently throughout the games. It probably references how the protagonist of the cancelled video game Rootbeer Reggie is behind everything.
  • Asshole Victim: It increasingly turns out that Lionel has been a complete pain and terror towards everyone nearby and outright abusive towards his creations; all of the characters have ample and justified reason to hate him (with hating him being Sado's reason for existing) and eventually get the player to help them avenge themselves on him.
  • Audience? What Audience?: Rust doesn't realize he's a video game character, unlike everyone else. This may be due to his game being unfinished and all the tampering from modders he had to endure, not to mention Sado.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Rocky and Rust share a joke after beating the Vurm, with Rust saying that a bit of "clowning around" is exactly what they need for morale right now. Sado shows up in the very next fight, curbstomping them both and deleting Rocky from the game.
  • Black Comedy: Everywhere, often by paralleling the stories of the various characters with real world game franchises and putting in a dose of reality along the way (such as Weasel Kid burning out after his terrible '09 reboot).
  • Black Mage: Chandrelle, who uses almost exclusively offensive magic.
  • But Thou Must!: You have to harm or kill a few characters to progress or you'll be stuck in an endless loop, like making Bryce hit Cooking Granny by accident and using Vallamir's tome to power up and kill the tutorial not-moogle as Chandelle. Inverted in Vicious Galaxy, as Lazarus' not-moogle partner slaughters surrendering enemies if you refuse to.
  • Computer Virus: Sado is actually the avatar of one made by Carla to get back at Lionel for his mistreatment of her.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Irving, the representative of The Gameworks. Subverted, he's actually a programming assistant for a game creation toolkit.
  • Creator Killer: An In-Universe example. Lionel, the developer of all these characters and games, ended up losing most of his credibility upon releasing Secrets of Legendaria and Waste World, the first because of a complete game breakdown during a live stream premier, and the second due to it being unfinished.
  • Dark Secret: Lionel made a game before Super Weasel Kid called Rootbeer Reggie and became ashamed of it after his second game became a huge hit. So, Irving crippled Reggie and buried his game so nobody would find out about Lionel's earlier work.
  • Dead Man Writing: Following a long trail of clues throughout the game reveals the victim's final words to the other characters. Carla buried it in the files of Beneath the Surface after he died, per his request.
  • Deconstruction Game: Well, it was made by the people behind Pony Island. Here, the topic is the old Creepypasta idea of game characters who become sentient and murderous towards their creators; it examines exactly how a game character might become lethally mutinous and what kind of jackass a programmer would need to be to make his creations essentially want to Kill the God, making them all out to be Sympathetic Murderers.
  • Developers' Foresight: In the Walk section, you can learn of a built-in Classic Cheat Code in Wasteland, that allows you to cover the field in mines, clone friendly characters, and instantly kill enemy characters. These new cheats are always available, even during the Hardcore Mod section where you don't have access to your normal cheats, and they're meant to be used to obtain the achievement for crashing Wasteland. If you use this cheat to make a clone of Rocky in the first fight against Sado, the second Rocky will express confusion when the first one dies. However, Rust himself will remain oblivious to the fact that he has at least one other Rocky still left- after all, we do need to keep the plot going.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: All over the place during the Sado boss fight in Vicious Galaxy. The most notable occurs when you grab a frying pan and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a battle royale...
  • The Dog Bites Back: Bryce tries this against Irving...and it doesn't go well. Lazarus succeeds. Clara also succeeds in getting back at Lionel through Sado, her actions possibly creating the situation Rootbeer Reggie needed to make his plan succeed.
  • The Dragon: Two, on opposing sides.
    • The straight example is Irving. He reports directly to Lionel, whose wishes he carries out without question. He appears to directly oppose or punish the protagonists at many points in the story.
    • Inverted with Jeremiah, Rootbeer Reggie's old janitor. He handles all the field work and appears as a cloaked figure to every character throughout the game, but his goals align with the player's.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: Lazarus' segment has a part in an research lab where he has to switch between top down shooting and the RPG graphical style he had in Secrets of Legendaria in order to progress.
  • Easter Egg: Plenty, both big and small.
    • One example: You can fish up a bottle in Secrets of Legendaria that has a line of code in it which, when entered into your save file, launches a brief Dating Sim parody called Fantasy Island.
    • Also in Secrets of Legendaria, if you complete the ankh quest without cheating (which is quite time consuming), the quest giver is so impressed that they reward you with a new skill, and later a boss fight against them is skipped.
      • Funnily enough, the game doesn't check the locations of the actual ankhs, but instead checks how many you have- if you have exactly the requested number, it thinks they're legit. This can lead to hilarious instances where the door says they're all legit, Lazarus comments on how it took forever to get them, and all the while, there's an uncollected ankh right at the player's feet that should be a smoking gun.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Simply because the crime doesn't actually happen until a ways into the game, leaving everyone suspect early on. Becomes Everybody Did It, when every character in the Six Pint Inn works together to open the hex and kill Lionel.
  • Existential Horror: The Waste World segment ends up devolving into this.
  • Face–Heel Turn: From the perspective of the player and streaming audience of Secrets of Legendaria, Chandrelle is this, having helped Vallamir succeed in his evil plans.
  • Featureless Protagonist: ???, who only has defined feet and arms. Justified as he's the player character of an Environmental Narrative Game.
  • First-Person Shooter: A small segment during Walk.
  • Foreshadowing: There are some pretty big ones if you unlock the soda machines and do the side quests for the cat woman during Super Weasel Kid, but there's also some of Weasel Kid's early dialog. He recognizes Lazarus, and he seems to recognize a crashed ship in the basement as belonging to someone named Jeremiah we haven't met yet. It makes far more sense during Vicious Galaxy.
    • The order you play the characters is the same order as their games were published. You control Reginald briefly at the very beginning before switching to Weasel Kid.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Lionel, as his characters and the player open the hex and allow Reginald to kill him.
  • Gainax Ending: Following The Reveal, the patrons and you complete a ritual to kill their creator Lionel for all the shit he did. However, after the credits roll, Sado rises behind Lionel as the screen crashes.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Each segment has a glitch in it you can exploit to crash the game and get an achievement.
  • Game Mod: The Waste World segment has modders changing and adding to the game as it goes. Mods even become a mechanical feature, as you gain six you can switch between, two active at a time, to win battles strategically.
  • Genre Roulette: The game constantly switches game genre and play style, with everyone using a point-and-click set up during the Six Pint Inn sections, and switching to their game's style of play upon starting their given flashback.
  • Glory Days: Weasel Kid's segment shows him at his most popular, and then the decline after. Lionel is also pretty obsessed with his old fame and power.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A few In-Universe examples, like the glitched ankh in Secrets of Legendaria that grants infinite ankhs, allowing you to bypass an obnoxious fetch quest.
  • Gorn: There's a gore mod in the Waste World segment that makes enemies explode into gory chunks, much like in Fallout 3 and on.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Lionel Snill, he only appears physically in the ending getting killed by Reggie, but Irving was following his wishes and his actions shaped the lives of the patrons as well as Reggie. His falling out with Carla led to her creation of Sado.
  • The Heavy: Sado is only a tool of Carla's revenge on Lionel, but ultimately the instigator for a large portion of the plot as Lionel overcompensates.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The bartender is Reginald, aka Rootbeer Reggie, the first character Lionel ever made, and the mastermind behind everything. This also counts for Lazarus and Weasel Kid, who were both in on it before the game started, and possibly the entire cast as they could all be lying to the player.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Sado fight during Waste World. Rocky will disappear, and Rust will lose his mind.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Chandrelle wants nothing to do with The Gameworks deciding what role she has to exist in, so much so that she helps the villain of her own game.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Bryce, who originally came from a cooking game, wants to stop being a character in a fighting game roster.
  • Interface Screw: A few, like the option to subvert jumping and ducking controls in Combat Arena X. Most notable example is during the Rootbeer Reggie segment, as the graphics break down once Irving arrives and the gameplay is interrupted by conversation cutscenes and eroding music.
  • It's All About Me: Lionel's commentary during Walk is almost nothing but him whining about everyone he perceives as an enemy and talking about how great he is or how misunderstood his genius is.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Chandelle feels like this in Secrets of Legendaria, because being the chosen hero in this case just means constantly going through the same events over and over for the entertainment of an audience who doesn't even realize she's a sentient being.
  • MacGuffin: It's not clear for most of the game, but there is one in play: the hex.
  • Manchild: Lionel. His disinterest in his pets and shame over Rootbeer Reggie can be somewhat justified by his young age, but his childishness only gets worse - it culminates with him defrauding his company's severance money to run away to the other end of the country after Legendaria bombs.
  • Meaningful Name: While it's also on display in Combat Arena X, the meaning of Sado's name is put on full blast in Wasteland, as she (or Carla) is the author of the Hardcore Mod and starts it off by killing off Rocky. She is, 100%, a Sadist.
  • Mind Screw: Rust. Maybe.
  • Missing Child: During the Waste World segment, Sado makes Rocky disappear, which results in Rust losing his sanity as the mods get more ridiculous.
  • The Missingno.: You can actually find the real deal in Secret of Legendaria if you go up and down near the first bit of lava you find. Sado is a deliberately coded version, as she was programmed with Carla's possibly occult computer virus.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bryce has this reaction when Irving goats him into accidentally striking Cooking Granny. Lazarus also has a mild version after he's sent to Vicious Galaxy as punishment for his role in destroying Secrets of Legendaria.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: NPCs you see throughout multiple games tend to have new jobs compared to their old roles. The mechanic from Secrets of Legendaria gets this most, later becoming the shop keeper in Waste World, and the new hero of the Secrets of Legendaria segment in Walk.
  • No Fourth Wall: Everyone is aware of you playing the game, and you are addressed directly on multiple occasions. In the end, you are as complicit in Lionel's murder as anyone.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Super Weasel Kid '09 is filled with them, as is any Sado encounter. Used during the Rootbeer Reggie segment as well, as the computer screen ??? is using starts to graphically break apart.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The aliens in Waste World, all enemies added by modders that Rust nor his son Rocky recognize or understand.
  • The Player Is the Most Important Resource: A much darker example than usual. Everyone needs the player to unlock the hex and kill Lionel.
  • Pop Quiz: The fight with the Spynix in Secrets of Legendaria is a series of riddles. Amusingly, the stream chat sometimes give you answers, and those who do get banned by the chat mods.
  • Prison Episode: A brief part of the Vicious Galaxy segment, where Lazarus has to break in to release Sado for a distraction.
  • Programming Game: The main gameplay of Walk.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Pretty much every bad guy is an employee for The Gameworks and just does their job as the bad guy in a given game. Subverted with Vallamir and Sado, the first simply just evil for the heck of it, and the other is a sort of virus that sabotages Lionel's games.
  • Rage Against the Author: Chandrelle chooses to destroy her own game to go against the desires of The Gameworks. Everyone ends up doing this against Lionel.
  • Reality Warper: Sado, the strange "performer" character from Combat Arena X. Justified, in that she's a vector for a bit of malware made by Carla that's meant to mess with the very code of every video game Lionel made.
  • Redemption Rejection: Lionel's hidden message in Carla's game Beneath the Surface is essentially too little, too late: he confesses the truth about Rootbeer Tender, expresses affection for Reginald (who he based on his own grandfather), and ends with an apology. But the long process of finding this message practically require the player to have completed The Hex first, meaning Lionel is already dead.
  • Red Herring
    • There appears to be blood on Bryce's bed. It's just strawberry from when he was making pie, his job at the inn.
    • Chandelle has a giant sword in her room, and a strange letter talking about a ritual. The sword is Lazarus' old blade and a memento, while the letter details a deal to get rid of the demon inside her.
    • Rust is clearly the most suspicious character, what with the knife he carries around. He is definitely not in on the deal until after his segment.
    • Lazarus might be on a wanted poster in the kitchen, suggesting he's been up to something. Subverted as he is wanted for his part in a horrible crime and kills Irving later, BUT those killings weren't the planned murders mentioned at the start of the game.
    • Unrelated to the main mystery, but the Super Weasel Kid segment suggests that Mr. Shrew was killed by Mr. Squarrel. If you manage to get Mr. Shrew's glasses through a three segment process, it's revealed that Mr. Shrew just died of old age, and Mr. Squarrel was his lover. He spiraled into depression because of this, resulting in his mean attitude in his other appearances. It's implied that Mr. Shrew was killed off by Lionel when his pet shrew died in real life.
  • Recurring Boss: Sado.
  • The Reveal: The first one is a fake out where Lazarus kills Irving. The second one reveals once and for all the bartender is Rootbeer Reggie and him and the other game characters are using the hex and you to kill Lionel.
  • Revenge: Rootbeer Reggie against Lionel, his creator.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rust goes on a very confused one after Sado makes Rocky vanish. Sado herself is this, a virus made by Carla to ruin all of Lionel's games.
  • Run or Die: After you free Sado, Jeremiah calls you up with a single word: "Run."
  • Scavenger World: Waste World.
  • Sell-Out: Lionel was called this when he sold Weasel Kid's rights to another company.
  • Shout-Out: TONS. Every single character, segment, and even piece of dialog is a reference to a different video game, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Cooking Mama, Hotline Miami, The Beginner's Guide, and so so much more.
    • A recurring character from a fighting game is a steampunk robot named Steambot Willie.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Lionel.
  • Space Marine: Lazarus.
  • Stealth Sequel: Satan from Pony Island may be involved, as Carla had a pentagram on her wall as she was designing Sado. Not to mention the document Lionel signs to sell his characters to GameFuna shows that that corporation's CEO is named Lou Natas. There's also a heavy amount of reused sound and visual effects from Pony Island, and on top of that, the most obvious link between the two games comes in Wasteland, where Louie himself makes an appearance- and if you have the Old Ticket item, a clear reference to the Tickets you'd gather in Pony Island, he allows you to change the graphics of the wasteland tactics game to something a bit more 'friendly'. It should be noted that Wasteland's overworld works almost identically to the Adventure Mode section of Pony Island...
  • Stylistic Suck: Present in most of the games.
    • Super Weasel Kid, Combat Arena X and Secrets of Legendaria all have very simplistic gameplay and compared to real games in their genre. They also all have an Excuse Plot.
    • Secrets of Legendaria is also riddled with bugs and would require tedious grinding if you didn't exploit them. It is also the only game that you explicitly play from start to finish, yet is quite short.
    • Waste World is free of this until the mods start activating. Almost every mod introduces something that clashes with the game's tone, some include sloppy dialogue or misspellings, they create plot holes, and most of the levels from that point on would be impossible or near-impossible without activating "cheats".
    • Walk features competent gameplay and production values, but the developer commentary undermines itself and presents the author in a poor light.
  • Sugar Bowl: The first Super Weasel Kid.
  • Surreal Humor: What if video game characters were alive? Turns out they'd treat being in games as a job they hate that they desperately want to escape by any means necessary. Cue cynical jokes.
  • Totally Radical: Weasel Kid's second game, Super Weasel Kid 2: Radical Road.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: During Secrets of Legendaria, during the boat ride, Irving appears to stop Chandrelle, forcing her into fighting him like she used to in Combat Arena X, while Lazarus continues to help through the turn based RPG combat you'd been using through the rest of this segment at the same time. These moments of genre mixing continue into each segment from here on.
  • Unreliable Narrator: During the Vicious Galaxy segment, it's revealed that Lazarus and his friends changed what the player was seeing so the player would help them break into The Gameworks.
  • Wham Episode: The entire Walk segment featuring ???, where you learn just who Lionel really is and how and why the games he made turned out the way they did.
  • Wham Line: The radio you turn on during the Walk segment says this;
    SUPER WEASEL KID WAS NOT MY FIRST GAME. THAT WAS A LIE. COME SEE MY FIRST GAME.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: Once we finally get their perspective, it becomes clear the story isn't about who murders Lionel, but which one of the people they victimized got to them first.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Walk is an extended one to The Beginner's Guide, but with Lionel's actions having much more dire consequences.

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