Groundhog Day was a movie that had an interesting concept. A man, stuck in a time loop, trying to sort out his life. The Sexy Brutale has taken inspiration from this idea, and puts you in a similar position. You’re a man stuck at a never-ending masquerade ball, where all the guests are being murdered. You, however, are in a unique position. You’re tasked with sneaking around the place, out of sight of the other guests and staff, in order to help save the lives of the guests.
The Belle of the Ball
The Sexy Brutale sees you try to set things up so that deaths can be prevented, rather than you barging in and stopping them yourself. This is such a wonderful design, as you really have to use your brain to think about what is needed. At first, you’ll probably have to stalk the guests and see how they reach their untimely end, but once that is done, it’s time to come up with a master plan to save them, without them even realising it. There are some really nifty ways to foil the murderous plans of the staff, but you’ll really need to consider all the possibilities as you stroll around the map.
The map itself, the hotel and casino in which you find yourself, is absolutely fantastic. It’s massive, sprawling and filled with fun little things to find. You start off only being able to access a small portion of it, but as you progress through, you will open up more and more of the enormous building. It’s not just the building that is so impressive though, the universe that has been so tightly knitted together is a thing of beauty as well. As you save people, you gain a new ability which you can use to save future people – or just eavesdrop better on other people.
It may be a bit macabre, but something that was perfectly executed was the way in which the guests are bumped off in the Sexy Brutale. Every guest has a unique and special way of being murdered. Some are pretty straight forward, but the more intricate ones are wonderfully executed, if a little gruesome. Watching each character’s demise is certainly a harrowing event, but they’re always so interesting to watch.
Brutal, but not Beautiful
There are a few bits that let the Sexy Brutale down though. The biggest issue that I found is that some puzzles can be a bit inscrutable at times. The developers put a lot of effort into the start and the end of the story, but not so much in the middle. So each time you find a new person to save, you have to really dig deep to find something to help save their lives. It’s not in every part of the game, but the few that this was an issue it did cause some moments where you have to scratch your head and wonder how they expected you to figure it out.
I also found a fault with the music of the game. It is very well produced and created, but it doesn’t flow when you move from room to room, and it gets very repetitive. It’s especially noticeable if you move from one room that has a quiet theme, to a room that has a very loud theme. Moving between the two is incredibly jarring, as there isn’t really a fade-out-fade-in style to it. You open the door and the quiet music is replaced by some ear splitting theme. It seems like something that wouldn’t be tricky to get fixed, but for one reason or another, wasn’t thought of, breaking the immersion when you move around the hotel and casino.
The Final Word
The Sexy Brutale is not a bad game at all. You’ll get between 8-10 hours of gameplay out of it, and at a fairly decent price. While the issues I found are present in the game, it still has a very high degree of polish to it. Moving between rooms is seamless and the gothic-horror setting is absolutely marvellous. The puzzles, once you get into them, are really rewarding when you solve them as well, so it’s definitely a worthwhile game to try out.