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The Sexy Brutale Review

June 1st, 2017 by

brutale 001We’ve all played Cluedo right? That childhood whodunit board game where everyone is mysteriously named after a colour. Now imagine that Cluedo told you who was murdered, where they were murdered and what weapon was used. Doesn’t sound like much of a game right? How about if you included the time travelling dynamic of Groundhog Day, that film with Bill Murray where he relives the same day over and over again until he gets it right. Now you are starting to get close to The Sexy Brutale.

The Sexy Brutale isn’t just a Cluedo rip-off, which would be doing it a huge dis-service, for starters calling it a whodunit or murder mystery isn’t quite right as there is little mystery in the murders and it is more a howtostoppit. Every guest in the magnificent hotel/casino is going to be killed off in some gruesome merciless way by the very staff of the Brutale Hotel. The gas mask wearing staff commit their crimes without any remorse or thought about how it is going to affect their tip jar.

As aging priest Lafcadio Boone, your job is to witness, from the shadows, how the victim was murdered, reset a clock to rewind time and then make a subtle change that will alter the outcome of the murder attempt for the better. For example, the very first murder is a man being shot in the chest with a rifle, after the staff check the gun is loaded of course. As the staff check the weapon you can’t just simply remove the ammo, however replacing the bullet with a blank that you have found will remove the fatality of the situation.

Of course, the other murders are far more complex and some will often require multiple rewindings of time whilst tracking the movements of both the victim and their killer until you know exactly what happens and how to stop it – again I stress from the shadows.

For some reason, that I don’t feel was made clear, is that Boone isn’t actually meant to be at the hotel, none of the human guests or staff can actually see him or know that he is there, however the elaborate masks that they all wear do know when he is in the room. When Boone enters the same room as another character, the mask will rise from their head and chase Boone away, sapping his strength if it does catch up with him. It’s an interesting dynamic that stops you from running into a room and directly interfering with the events leading up to and during the murder.

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At its heart, The Sexy Brutale is a puzzle game but as the puzzles are based in observation, they become very organic and tricky to solve. Once you look at the events logically, and keep a keen eye for any clues, the answer is always cunningly simple and hidden in plain sight. The trick is to mentally process and sort the information you are given.

Each murder scene is an amazingly scripted sequence with its own little backstory. Whilst the gamer in you will be tempted to rush head first into saving the victim, I highly recommend watching their murder passively before beginning, firstly for the clues and secondly for how well constructed and darkly humorous these sequences are. The murder of Tequila Belle stands out for me and whilst I’m not going to give anything away, it’s funny, chilling, dramatic and vicious. All of which sums ups The Sexy Brutale as a whole as well. Finally, each victim that you rescue leaves behind their mysterious mask which Boone absorbs for a new power ranging from super hearing to speaking to ghosts.

It is very rare in this day and age that you struggle to find a flaw in a game and if I was being picky, I would say some people may find the constant time rewinding a little frustrating, for the majority though it will be used as naturally as solving a puzzle.

The design is top notch in The Sexy Brutale and this hides the fact that it is no technical powerhouse and apart from a small loading delay on a couple of rooms the game runs exceptionally well with no bugs or glitches – Mainstream Studios take note, this is how you are supposed to release games. Another small drawback to some is the lack of voice acting, whilst the game moves along nicely being wholly text driven, you can’t help but think that the right voice acting would take this to the next level. I suppose on the flip side of this argument, no voice acting is better than bad voice acting and I guess we will never know if it was a design or monetary decision

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When the only small, and I stress the small, negatives are a small amount of repetition and the lack of voice acting – two things that may not even be noticed by some – then you have to say the game is doing a hell of a lot right. The Sexy Brutale would have been a great game if it had just been a morbidly comic puzzler but it’s writing and atmospherics turns it into something much more as the story unfolds. You know what? I’m gonna say it; this is an impeccable release in a year of greatness for gaming. Will it get lost in the shuffle, most likely but The Sexy Brutale deserves just as much, if not more, respect and attention as Mass Effect Andromeda, Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda, Nioh or Mario Kart.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 10/10     Format:  PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC      Release Date: 12th April 2017

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a review copy of  The Sexy Brutale for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of  two weeks. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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One Response to “The Sexy Brutale Review”
  1. avatar craigieh says:

    Just finished this and completely agree with your review. Can I just mention the absolutely superb soundtrack and the surprisingly emotional payoff of an ending….

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