The Sexy Brutale

Tequila Works

 

Format: PC

Reviewed: 20/05/2017

 

The Plot: The enigmatic Marquis – owner and maestro of the mansion – appears to be missing from his own party. In his absence, his guests are being murdered by mansion’s staff in a range of bizarre and horrifying ways. As elderly priest Lafcadio Boone, you seem to be protected from some of the worst dangers in the mansion. It falls to you to explore deep into the mansion, saving the guests and uncovering the terrible secrets in the darkest heart of The Sexy Brutale…

 

 

The Review: If you can't get excited about the prospect of a Groundhog Day style, time travelling murder mystery in a creepy casino populated with an eclectic cast of victims then I'm sorry but we can't be friends, I demand that you stop reading and go away now...

 

Have they gone? Brilliant let's get this review started...

 

The Sexy Brutale is a beautiful game; Tequila Works have outdone themselves building a world packed with character and intrigue. They've also managed to take a game set in a casino and give it some fantastically varied locations. Beautiful gardens, majestic libraries and tranquil chapels are just a few of the gloriously varied rooms that you'll explore in your quest to save the poor guests from their horrific fates. Well you will after you've watched them once or twice anyway because these are some of the smartest and coolest death scenes I've seen in videogames; there is something delightfully perverse about watching through a keyhole as the murders happen.

Boone peering through a keyhole

Tommy, how’s the peeping? Tommy, how’s the peeping? Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy...

 

The crux of the game involves you tracking the guests and their assassins round the halls of The Sexy Brutale, watching as the schemes come together and trying to identify the one hole in their scheme that you can jam the spanner into. You can peep through keyholes and eavesdrop on conversations but you can't interfere directly with the guests or the killers, if you go in the same room as them their masks will fly off and chase you from the room. It's hard to explain without giving it away but for example in the tutorial you see the first victim get blown away with a hunting rifle; so maybe you can get to the gun before the killer and stop it that way?

 

Obviously it gets more complex from there but one of the things the game does really well is signposting, not enough to make the solutions obvious but enough so you know what things you should be interacting with to foil the various plots. The puzzles are really well thought out and some are ingenious but you're always working in a relatively small area and with a small number of variables so you're never at a loss or wandering the halls in desperation. When you do stop a murder you're rewarded with a new mask that gives you a new skill to play with allowing you to further explore the casino.

The rogues gallery of victims 

 That's a lot of folks you've gotta save there Boone... You better get cracking.

 

While the game starts off simply enough as you start saving lives and getting deeper into the casino the story starts to flesh out into a really interesting tale and by the end I was hooked. A misstep at the end could have really ruined it for me but once again Tequila Works came up trumps sticking the landing like pro's; bravo!

 

I only really had a couple of niggles. The game sometimes glitched when going through doors, either taking ages (in an original Resident Evil style) or sending me through to a black room that took five or six seconds to render. While you can control time it's just to rewind or skip ahead to set times, it would have been nice to have a fast forward function when you're waiting for someone to leave a room or to get through some dialogue you've seen a bunch of times. Neither were enough to seriously annoy or make the game not worth playing but kept it from being a 10 from me.

 

The Score: 9/10 - Beautiful, slick and stylish The Sexy Brutale is a fantastic time travelling puzzler from those fine folks at Tequila Works. The puzzles are fun and interesting, the deaths gruesome, but it's the story that is the star of the show here and as you get closer to the secrets at the heart of the mystery you'll find this one impossible to put down.