Cavalier Game Studios / Tequila Works (studio)
11 April 2017 (released)
25 April 2017
Everyone loves a great murder mystery, the complexity to the crime, the execution, the motives and the dynamic twists to a conclusion. But what if you were able to prevent such murders rather than just solving them? The Sexy Brutale is what you could consider the reserve Hitman, where instead of causing conflict and death, you prevent it through investigation and lateral thinking.
The Sexy Brutale throws players into the middle of a mass murdering conspiracy taking place at a lavish masked ball. The casino known as the “The Sexy Brutale” is gathering some of society’s brightest and finest all in one place where they can drink, gamble, dance and die in a variation of colourful ways. There’s murder afoot and the key suspects in this crime are the staff at the main event. Those who are driven to kill are doing so due to the influence of the masks they wear. What evil force is behind this conspiracy and can save the guests before they meet their horrific fates.
You play as an elderly priest Lafcadio Boone, who has a connection to all the guests at the Sexy Brutale. Boone is tasked and guided by a supernatural; blood soaked woman to save all 10 party guests from being murdered. The advantage Boone has over the murderous staff is that he is able to relive the same day, giving him 12 hours (or roughly 10 minutes) to protect each of the guests. With the use of a special pocket watch, Boone is able to start over the same day in order to figure out who the next victim will be, gather clues and vital items that will protect the guest in question.
What we have here is a very cleaver, charming and enjoyable murder mystery that incorporates elements of stealth, problem solving and adventure. Boone will have to explore the beautiful casino while avoiding detection from the staff or guests as their possessed masks will come to life and attack him. The stealth mechanics are easy to grasp as you can peek through doors, listen out for footsteps and hide in cupboards to avoid detection.
The core of the game focuses on deduction, item gathering and figuring out the correct order of events to follow in order to foil each grisly murder plot. Each murder reveals a little more about the complexity behind the overall plot and the sense of mystery, pacing and the bizarre nature is compelling in this original setup. The game’s core mechanic of starting the day again allows a natural sense of trial and error as players will gather more Intel on the upcoming murder. Reliving the same day helps to gather clues and grasp the working of each guest’s demise in a natural, non-repetitive manner.
The main objective is to discover the solution on preventing each murder. This may involve loading a gun with dummy shells or locking the murder in storage closest. With saving each guest produces a new mask that grants Boone a special ability that’ll unlock a new segment of the casino. This opens up further exploration and thankfully dismisses any repetition that might’ve come about playing out the same day again and again. With each new guest comes a more complex manner to the murder and you’ll be even tasked a few occasions to save two guests at once. Each murder is vastly different from the one before it as the Sexy Brutale has an effective manner to keeping players engaged. I was completely enthralled by the fantastic plot along with the captivating complexity and brilliance of the gameplay.
This concept is utterly brilliant if not a little confusing to begin with as the game does start will giving you little information. But thankfully the game is easy enough to grasp once you’ve completed the first main mystery and everything comes very naturally to a keen player who’s invested. There’s also some light guidance for those who may become stuck during certain events without giving away too much that it ruins the sense of challenge.
The only difficulties from my experience were the slow, clunky movement of the main protagonist. This didn’t help when outrunning the haunted masks when caught by various NPCs or that a simple task of opening a door felt difficult at times. These were minor technical issues that didn’t impair the journey overall and left me by the end with a wonderful experience. The world of the Sexy Brutale is also very beautiful, with the art style, the perspective and different styles of the immense Casino Masion keeping my eyes glued to the screen.
The Sexy Brutale is by far one of the finest, most original games to come out in a long while. The gripping complexity to this murder mystery will keep players gripped, with great lateral and stealth based gameplay which anyone can enjoy. I can’t recommend this game enough and should be highly regarded among some of the great titles we’ve got so far this year.
++ Great murder mystery style of gameplay
+ Looks and sounds wonderful
+ Highly gripping and engaging
- Some minor technical issues with movement and frame rate
A PS4 review code of The Sexy Brutale was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review