The Sexy Brutale mansion is throwing another masked ball, but this time things are not as they should be. All the guests are getting murdered! But it's ok because you, priest Lafcadio Boone, hold the ability to fix it all. Stop the murders at whatever it takes. Even if you have to rewind time itself.
The Sexy Brutale, developed by both Tequila Works and Cavalier Game Studios, is a 3D puzzle adventure game with a huge emphasis on murder and mystery. Every year, the "Marquis" throws a large-scaled masked ball in The Sexy Brutal casino mansion of his and invites a select few guests to attend. This year however, things are a little different as the guests begin dying one after another.
Every time the clock hits midnight, the day resets, and the horror is relived. Playing as a priest who goes by the name Lafcadio Boone, it's up to you to stop the staff from killing the guests, and solve the mystery behind why these strange events are happening. There's some kind of occult going on, and the pocket watch that allows you to rewind time at will is only the beginning. Oh, and there's something special about each mask that the guests have.
Everything from the menu to the actual gameplay was incredibly smooth. Granted there were a couple of technical bumps here and there throughout (nothing terribly bad) the whole function of everything felt natural. Playing in a nice angled 3D, you'll be able to easily see the entire room or hallway you're in, as well as all the available items or doors to interact with. The blue circles will indicate something that can be viewed or manipulated, while the green circles will show you doors leading to other rooms or even closets that you can hide in. The cool part comes in when you approach a door because if there is someone on the other side of it, your mask will glow fire red. I'm sure it will happen to you just as it happened to me on multiple occasions, you'll approach the door and see that someone dangerous is on the other side but before you can think they come into the room you are in. It's scary and will cause a bit of panic. The room will go black expect for your and the enemy's mask that will basically catch fire, and the music will drop into a strong heart pounding rhythm.
There is no real difficulty in the game however as escaping from these tense moments is ridiculously easy so long as you turn around right away and get out. Assuming the worst happens to you and you get caught in these moments, then you'll simply just restart (which you'll be essentially doing a lot of anyways). There are a few safety precautions you can take to avoid any trouble and make your investigations smoother. There's a way you can quickly view an overhead map layout which will show you icons in which rooms have people inside via noise detection. Also available to you is the ability to peek into keyholes and watch into the room and eavesdrop on conversations. When it comes to the puzzles, it will revolve around saving the guests. This is done by prevention and continuously stopping the secondary plans of the staff.I don't want to ruin any of them, but for example, the beginning willl show one person being shot with a rifle. When you rewind time, maybe you look for a blank round in one of the rooms so that way when the murder happens again it won't actually happen. The problems will unravel the more you involve yourself in ruining the events, and it's fun.
Sound and Graphics
I'm a difficult person to please when it comes to soundtracks for games; not so much because I'm picky, but because it takes a lot to make me feel amazed. The song, whatever the hell it is called, that plays during the intro/tutorial level is perfect. I immediately loved it. So much so that at the start of the day when I would rewind time, I would get a small little amount of hope that I would listen to it again. The whole game for that matter is actually very well done. At times it holds a strong classic casinos vibe, and other times a noir sounding mystery track. The sound effects extend beyond just building a nice atmosphere; if you listen closely, the whole story plays out somewhere in the background audio.
When you're exploring the rooms, you'll know when you're suppose to pick up the pace and make your way to a specific spot before someone else does simply by listening to where in the routine they are. Graphically the game looks creative and fun, but stays away from crossing over to anything goofy. Details are many, and the number of rooms and hallways are no different. They always have something unique to them that make you feel like you're actually exploring a mansion piece by piece. The moments of being in the same room with as someone else could have maybe used a different visual other than being closed in a huge furnace, but even that wasn't anything negative in my opinion, just some nitpicking.
It's easy to be dragged into the world of The Sexy Brutale with the intriguing mystery just waiting to be unravelled and enjoy it. Having reviewed it on the PlayStation 4, I can say there's very little games (none that actually come to mind) that have the same kind of dark plot while yet feeling lighthearted, almost mimicing the feelings of a murder mystery dinner party. The gameplay worked better than I had imagined, and the puzzle concepts were smoothly implemented throughout, which allowed all of your attention to truly be on the storytelling. After the first hour or so of playing, the puzzles grow in difficulty, making for an extremely satisfying completion. It's a gem that definitely came in under the radar.
+ Fun mystery to solve
– Lacks a true fear of dying
+ Fluid and easy to learn gameplay mechanics
– Somewhat linear when it comes to solving puzzles