Cavalier Game Studios and Tequila Works have joined together to bring us “The Sexy Brutale,” a delightful murder mystery that features stylish cartoon violence. You’ll relive the same day where the guests at the casino mansion (The Sexy Brutale) are murdered by the staff in a “Groundhog’s Day” sort of fashion.
The story is told in vignettes, all of which are very entertaining. In the game, you have a story that lasts around 7 hours and takes you through the day’s events over and over again. You’d think it would get tiresome, but with the sharp room designs and the intriguing characters that fill the hotel, you can’t help but want to spend more time exploring everything.
Furthermore, each location in the casino leaves you with a unique set of clues to uncover. Solving each murder will come down to the same thing; you investigate the area in which the murder took place. Then, you sneak around learning what everyone was doing in the area that day.
While exploring the area, you’ll need to come up with a plan using the environment around you in order to catch the murderer in action sabotaging their nefarious scheme. This is where the time rewind mechanic comes into play. As protagonist Boone you must hide, watch, and learn the riveting stories of the other masked guests in order to save them from the maniacal staff.
Each murder is different, so there’ll be a nice assortment of variety when trying to work through preventing each one. For example, one of the guests is murdered with a rifle, leading you to spot the staff member loading the gun. All you have to do is remove the live ammunition and replace it with a blank in order to turn the tides.
In doing so, the staff member comes back for a second go when you rewind time and believes the gun is loaded. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot commit the murder as you’ve successfully thwarted his scheme. In comparison, other assassinations are a bit more complex in “The Sexy Brutale.”
At this point you may be thinking to yourself, why can’t Boone come back and just stop the murder from taking place by warning the guest?
Well, for mysterious reasons, Boone isn’t allowed to be at The Sexy Brutale. If Boone were to occupy the same room as another character, the masks worn by guests lock onto Boone’s shadowed presence and deal direct damage. While this is happening, you can’t interact with any character.
This ensures that you keep to the rules of the game and only interfere with other characters by spying and sabotaging. Every life that Boone saves gives him a new power such as super hearing, lock picking skills, and so on. These powers help open other areas in the world. Many of the puzzles in the game require collecting and using items. Although, each time you reset you’ll lose the item you once had.
Fortunately, whatever you learn during your day you do get to keep with you, like secret passage locations and passwords. The game is overflowing with style, and every room looks like a diorama infused with a gothic atmosphere and jazzy musical track. The writing and the devilishly detailed stories surrounding the deaths of each character made me feel extremely engaged.
I was only disappointed that there weren’t enough murders to prevent and culprits to apprehend. If you’re a puzzle lover, this game is definitely for you. Although, if you don’t like the idea of a little repetition and spending time following characters around in the shadows of the Sexy Brutale hotel and casino, you may want to sit this one out.
Nevertheless, the tightly woven narrative and the fact that all these stories play out at the same time boggle my mind at just how polished this game is. Cavalier Game Studios alongside Tequila Works have made a game that is truly one to gush over. This game may be a nightmare loop for the guests, but is definitely a dream come true for puzzle lovers like myself.
The Sexy Brutale is available now on Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. To learn more about The Sexy Brutale, be sure to visit the game’s official website.
Platforms: Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
ESRB rating: T
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