The Sexy Brutale is a unique murder mystery puzzle game which starts off with the main character, Lafcadio Boone, waking up during a party. This party is set at Lucas Bondes’ mansion and casino, named The Sexy Brutale.
Once awakening, you’re greeted by a character known as The Bloody Girl, a women dripping in blood but appears to actually help you. This party that you awaken at is stuck in a time loop, and The Bloody Girl gives you a mask to take you out of the time loop to help save the party guests.
These particular party guests are all murdered throughout the 12 hour loop, and it’s your mission to stop these deaths from taking place. You’re also given a special watch that will reset the time back to 12:00pm once you reach midnight to try again. You can reset back to the starting time whenever to need to in case you mess up.
Each mystery to solve starts off by revealing who needs to be saved, in which you need to seek them out and discover what’s killing them, and how to stop it. It’s a very interesting concept and basically the reason why I played this game in the first place.
Who doesn’t like time travel? It’s actually very reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, where the game also follows a time loop and you can help out certain people with their problems. For the movie fans, it also reminds me a bit of Groundhog Day.
I wouldn’t say this concept has been used very often throughout gaming but it’s great when it does. It obviously needs great preparation on the developer’s part, requiring them to create a routine for every single character, making sure they are no clashes and everything runs smoothly.
When you start each new mystery you’ll need to go through a routine yourself. I always started by walking around and unlocking each room of the map that’s now open to me. I’ll admit this was the most boring part of the game, but it was important so it needed to be done before every mystery.
I would also take note of any items I pick up that will help me solve the case. You lose most items once you reset the time, so you’ll have to remember where to pick them up again. Once I know the layout, it’s then time to search out the victim I’ll be saving.
This was probably the most interesting part of the game, simply spying from behind a door or inside a closet and watching what happens during the routine of the victim. It was always exciting to discover the full story of what happens, including the conversations they partake in.
The catch is you can’t be in the same room as anyone, so you must spy on them from the adjacent room or inside a closet. I really did like this because it adds tension and suspense to your investigation.
Though I’ll admit it does get a bit boring when you’re spying for long periods because you’re simply waiting for things to happen and most of the time they are just walking around the mansion.
Once you’ve done your investigating, it’s time to take action and solve the mystery! Unfortunately this was the biggest disappointment of the game where it should have been its strongest point. The solutions to solve each murder were so underwhelming.
Most of the time they just didn’t feel clever and were mostly nonsensical solutions. Most of the time the murder was prevented way before you expected them to. I thought solving them would be more elaborate, considering the process you go through from spying and exploring.
It usually involves you doing two or three things and the murder is already solved. I was left confused almost every time I prevented a murder because the game makes you feel that more needs to be done.
At least every time you do save someone, you’ll gain a new ability from them that helps you in future mysteries. They can give you access to new areas or even help with the investigation process. There were some abilities though that were ultimately pointless and only served to help with collectibles and not the mysteries themselves.
This was another disappointment because they were rarely used. But it was exciting to gain the abilities that did actually help you.
Another thing that annoyed me was the very slow movement of your character. Even when it’s clear he’s trying so hard to run, he still moves at a snail’s pace. I suppose it does create tension when trying to escape when you’re spotted, but when you want to go to a room that’s very far away, you’ll hear the inner groan inside of you.
The controls are not very responsive either, where I had to tap the button multiple times to get Lafcadio just to walk through a door.
The game’s art style is charming at the very least. All characters have over-sized heads which brings attention to their nicely designed masks. The art style does suit the location and the mood the game tries to give off. It also works well with the game’s camera, which is isometric to give you a full view of every room.
The music also suits the charming vibe of the game, but maybe wasn’t suitable for the murder/mystery aspect of it. I also found the music just a bit too loud and imposing, so I had to turn it down so it didn’t distract me so much.
Even though there has been a fair bit of criticism from me about The Sexy Brutale, I feel that it was all worth it for the ending and its plot twist.
Without any spoilers, the ending does shed light on all questions, even when you thought there weren’t many questions to answer. It didn’t really need any kind of plot twist, but it’s actually the part I’m going to remember most about the game, so I’m glad it was there.
The good thing is everything was explained really well, and I never felt confused about it, or felt the need to look up any explanations online.
Overall though, The Sexy Brutale was an average experience. There was a lot of potential for this to be great, but just fell short. The ending did make it all worthwhile, but the solutions for solving each mystery weren’t enough to enjoy it like I wanted.