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Review: The Sexy Brutal

by on May 26, 2017
Details
 
Release Date

April 12th, 2017

Developer

Tequila Works

 

 

Have you every been to one of those murder mystery dinners? Some times with the correct group of friends they can be fun. Most times people take them way to seriously and the night turns into a over the top role playing cringe fest. So what would be better than making you live that night over, and over and over and over in a video game?! I think it would be easier to make that list than review The Sexy Brutale.

This evening of murder mystery takes place in The Sexy Brutale, a Casino Mansion get away for the upper class. The catch is that the hosts of this evening of fun and debauchery are actually trying to murder the guests. Like a sick and twitsted Ground Hog Day, the evening plays out over and over, over the course of 12 hours (about 10 minutes of real world time). You play as Lafcadio Boone, the resident priest, who was given the ability to not be stuck in repeating the night over in over like the other guests. You were given the mask, which holds the power, by a ghost named The Bloody Girl (oh how original!).

Like Clue, you must figure out who killed who and with what, but instead of just accusing them you must figure out a way to stop the murder from happening. This is the core gameplay of The Sexy Brutale. After you witness the death of a guest it is marked on your clock at what time their death took place. You then rewind time and investigate to try and stop it from happening. The catch is that you aren’t exactly present in the mansion. You are ethereal, but still can interact with objects you find in the game world. An early example is the tutorial, which in my opinion is the most rewarding guest saving “puzzle”. Reginald Sixpence is going to be blown away with a shotgun wielded by a murderous member of The Sexy Brutale staff and you must save him from this fate. You peek through keyholes to spy what is unfolding inside the room and eaves drop while hiding in cupboards and wardrobes, all while piecing together the what/why/how of each murder mystery. You will watch, in this case, Reginald get gutted by a shotgun blast a handful of times, rewinding and reliving the day until you solve the puzzle of how to stop his murder. It’s a rewarding experience when you figure out what you have to do, and you are aptly rewarded for saving a guest. They will then give you their mask which grants you a new power, of course they have a mask, its a masquerade…for some reason.

I enjoyed this first “puzzle”, you only had a handful of rooms to explore and after about 15 minutes or faster you had the puzzle solved. But there are 9 guests, or as I looked at them, puzzles to save/solve. So you will be rewinding and replaying over and over. I understand this is the mechanic of the game, but it gets boring. Waiting around for a guest to go where you need so you can procedure with your plan, or get the item you need is just as fun as standing around twiddling your thumbs. Some of these puzzles suffer from “point and click” syndrome, where the solutions are the most abstract and off the wall answers. I got around to attempting to save the third guest on my first night of playing before I quit after spending 30 minutes just walking around trying to figure out what to do. And I do mean walking, because Lafcadio walking with a limp and can only move as fast as a snail, because when I play a game with a limited time to get things done I want to play as the slowest possible character.

The bright side to The Sexy Brutale, and the reason for me wanting to play it, were the beautiful graphics. The first scene, in the cathedral is breath taking. Looking like something straight out a Tim Burton film, or maybe hand painted, the environments can been stunning. But with the isometric view, it can make it hard to make out the tiny details of the rooms. Characters all have a unique style, and are crafted perfectly. The supernatural, occultish vibes flow nicely, and you feel it through all the rooms and environments of the mansion. It starts to feel more like a haunted house than a casino the more you explore.

 

The story can be interesting. But the slog of repeating actions over and over leaves me forgetful and frustrated more than excited to see what’s through the next door.  Each character has a unique story and purpose at the Casino. Combined with the over arching narrative regarding why The Bloody Lady is trying to help you defeat a darker foe, the story could be enjoyable. I felt I had more fun my second play through, when I used a walk through to get all the collectibles and to finish all the puzzles as quick as possible. Hiding in the nooks and crannies of The Sexy Brutale are 52 playing cards that you can collect. Most of the time they are easy to spot, but some are tucked away, and maybe my color blindness didn’t help me see them. Regardless collecting these cards is just for the thrill of it, I didn’t really care about the extra lore it lead me to. I didn’t care for any of the characters and more times than not I didn’t see the point in saving me. I hated that to get to know the characters I would have to sit through long, slow dialogue while I would be eavesdropping, burning my priceless time. Or I would walk into a conversation half way over and have to rewind and rush to that door so I could listen from the beginning. More times than not, I just didn’t care. I felt like a I was being forced to watch a movie against my will, just to figure out the next random plot device to move the story forward.

The Sexy Brutale falls short in almost all categories. The gameplay is boring, the story is dry, and the end of the game is lack luster. The environments are pretty, but the beauty is loss the Nth time you walk through it’s halls. If you enjoy doing the sames thing over and over then buy The Sexy Brutale. I could understand maybe if this had a Fire Watch caliber story or something, but it doesn’t. Thankfully I am done with this review, so I can stop living the waking nightmare of reviewing The Sexy Brutale over and over and over and over……..

 

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Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a code for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.

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Positives

+ Art style is beautiful
+ Game is short enough to finish in one sitting

Negatives

- Gameplay hook is boring and repetitive
- Gameplay hook is boring and repetitive
- Gameplay hook is boring and repetitive
- Story is extremely cringe inducing
- Suffers from major "point and click" syndrome

Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
D

 
Graphics
B

 
Story
D

 
Replay Value
F

Total Score
D+

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Bottom Line
 

The Sexy Brutale is bad. If monotony is thrilling to you, then buy this game. I give them credit for trying something knew, but am disappointed how it turned out. The beautiful environments loose their "wow" factor the 10th time you have to go through them.

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