The Sexy Brutale may sound like the name of an anime but it is far from it. In fact, The Sexy Brutale is the name of a casino, but this is no ordinary casino. This thrilling groundhog day mystery is all about solving the impossible. Of course it isn’t impossible otherwise you would never finish the game. This one was certainly a surprise in my books. Having no clue what to expect when I stepped into the doors of the quirky casino mansion, I was prepared for anything. And that is exactly what The Sexy Brutale offers you. Forget about the jackpot, our prize lies in rescuing the guests.
This is the story of remorse and resolution. You play as Lafcadio Boone, a preacher with a hidden past. When he awakes, he finds himself amid the chaos of a masquerade party at the Sexy Brutale casino. But, this is no ordinary party because all the guests are being killed before his very eyes by the staff. Fortunately, he befriends a strange but familiar Red Lady who decides he is the only one who can save the guests from their gruesome fates. The only way he can save them however, is to replay the same day over and over again until he gets it right. But, all is not what it seems.
At first, this story can seem confusing and a bit vague but I was instantly hooked. I had to know what was going on. I imagine it like a murder mystery except instead of finding the murderer, you are trying to figure out how to save them before the day restarts. As you get further through the game as well, more things about the casino are revealed. The best part is that they didn’t try to make the end super abstract. Everything is nicely tied up in a pretty little bow and you feel like all the hard work was worth something.
Again, this was a surprise for me. The gameplay was actually fun and despite some set backs, I really enjoyed playing. The use of time manipulation was what made this game unique. But, that wasn’t all. Each room is a separate space so even though you play from an isometric POV, you can only see the room you are in. The spy mechanic was great and allowed you to find out more about the situation you were in at hand.
Essentially, each “chapter” you have to save a different guest or guests. As they are all strewn about the mansion, you are nicely guided through to each area. All the information you need to gather will be in that area somewhere and that is where the fun comes in. You have to explore and sneak around without anyone seeing you. If they do, their mask will chase you around the room and if it does enough damage, you have to start the day again. But, this isn’t really an issue. At the start of each level you have no idea where to go or what to do. I found that the guests would die several times before I finally figured it out. Although it can be frustrating when you can’t figure out the sequence, when you do eventually solve it, it is exhilarating.
For every guest saved you also gain their powers which will then help you to solve further puzzles throughout the rest of the game. Sexy Brutale may be full of murder but it was the most fun I have had in a game for a while.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically, this game looks beautiful. It has a really unique art style and it really worked well with the story and gameplay elements. Every object had a great amount of detail. The isometric view was very reminiscent of some retro games alongside the cartoon-like visuals makes for some pleasing aesthetics.
The sound for the most part is not terrible either. Except for some rather annoying sounds on occasion its actually quite pleasing. The soundtrack isn’t half bad either. Perhaps nothing award winning, but certainly better than most out there. The music definitely sets the scene for each area. From the soothing tones of the music room to the jazz playing ghost bar, everything just fits.
Unless you have your hands on backwards, you can’t really go wrong with the controls in this game. They very simple and are super intuitive. You have a simple inventory system that you use R1 and L2 to cycle through. Movement controls are as standard as they come. The only other thing you really need to learn to how to restart the day and all that takes is to press L2. As I played this on PS4 alone, that’s all there is to it. These controls are so simple you’d have to have terrible motor skills to get this wrong. I only got confused a few times but that’s because I’m dumb and don’t know my L1 from my L2. I’m sure you’ll be fine.
As with any game, there is a learning curve with this one. Each rescue is on a time limit and each puzzle to solve it gets progressively harder. But, this is to be expected. Aside from the usual difficulty increase you would expect from this sort of puzzle game, honestly it’s fairly easy. Initial frustration may make it seem harder than it actually is. But, once you figure it out, you realise how simple it was and you can solve it in ten seconds flat. It isn’t super easy but it isn’t super difficult either. I would say its a nice happy medium.
I can’t see there being much replayability for The Sexy Brutale. Having said that, there are a couple of different endings so it might be worth playing it through to see what the other ending would be. There is also a collection mechanic with the 52 playing cards that you can find. Unless you found them all in your first play through, which is entirely possible, you may want to play it again to get them all. Or you could play it to see how fast you can complete each level. I feel that once you’ve played it through, the fun of the mystery is over. You can’t really recapture that. Once you know how to solve the puzzles, it very much loses it’s charm.