The Sexy Brutale Review
The Sexy Brutale is at its core, a puzzle game, masquerading in an isometric, time-traveling murder mystery adventure game. If this sounds complicated, the game is not as complex as it might seem, but it does work best as a sum of its parts rather than qualifying these individual gameplay elements. The influences behind the title are quite apparent, and The Sexy Brutale takes great qualities from these various sources and creates an experience that is completely their own.
“The Sexy Brutale” is a contrastingly titled casino-mansion owned by the enigmatic Marquis, who hosts a grand party at this fascinating locale. The party takes a dark turn as the staff sets out to kill all the guests. Players take on the role of a priest, Lafcadio Boone, to save lives and find out why things are happening the way they are. Not complex enough? Well, Lafcadio is also trapped in an ever-repeating day, re-living the deaths of his fellow partygoers lest he saves them.
The game takes place in a series of “stages” in which the player navigates a time-sensitive mansion, following staff and guests to ascertain the time and place of the murders, then figuring out how to stop them. The player navigates from room to room utilizing a variety of skills such as super-hearing, peeking through keyholes, hiding in cabinets, and interacting with a variety of objects. In doing so, the player can foil the plots of these staff members, save the other guests, earn more powers via their masks, and access further parts of the casino. However, failing to save the guests by the time limit results in Lafcadio restarting the day.
“Much like the melting pot of genres and gameplay elements in the game, The Sexy Brutale shines the most when everything comes together.”
The game’s puzzles vary in difficulty, with some taking much longer than I would like to admit, and a couple that I solved when I was simply trying to scout the level. While puzzle games often vary in difficulty, the added layer of time sensitive actions makes The Sexy Brutale stand out. Oftentimes, there are many moving pieces across the level, and it is up to you to keep track of who is where, and what they are doing in order to save the guests.
Despite the game’s at-times clumsy controls, The Sexy Brutale feels like a relatively fresh experience. In addition to the game’s various levels, The Sexy Brutale offers several collectibles in the form of playing cards and party invitations. As someone who likes collectibles but often gets overwhelmed by the sheer number of them, The Sexy Brutale finds a good balance between too much and too little. In addition to saving characters, learning the backstory of these colorful characters is equally as pleasing. Much like the melting pot of genres and gameplay elements in the game, The Sexy Brutale shines the most when everything comes together.
What The Sexy Brutale lacks in the technical department, it makes up for with the artistic style. The Sexy Brutale features a sort of gothic, dark, yet charming setting in the titular casino. The characters, story, and mood felt like a perfect fit in this setting, which felt somewhat like other fictional mansions. Though the setting itself is great, there were a few graphical hitches, especially when approaching different doors. Lastly, the map as well as environmental indicators were an essential and useful part of the game to ensure that players were not completely blind when thrown into this murderous Groundhog Day.
Besides the intriguing story line and importance of time, The Sexy Brutale’s soundtrack stands out as one of its major positives. In addition to mood appropriate music, The Sexy Brutale features strong environmental cues to make you aware of approaching NPCs as well as time related sound effects. Perhaps its most intriguing use of music is how different the music and mood can be from room to room in almost abrupt changes in the soundtrack, yet still completely nailing it in terms of musical atmosphere.
Overall, The Sexy Brutale is an intriguing title where its mood and narrative stand out the most. While artistically sound, the technical prowess of the title is somewhat lacking. Though the various elements of The Sexy Brutale have been utilized in games past, The Sexy Brutale takes them and makes its own game. The Sexy Brutale is creative, interesting, challenging, and fun. Almost living up to its exceptional name, The Sexy Brutale is a must play title for puzzle and adventure game fans alike.
*** PC key provided by the publisher ***
- Interesting narrative and characters
- Great soundtrack
- Solid use of gameplay elements
- Less than stellar controls
- Framerate drops