by Joshua Russo
Developer: Tequila Works & Cavalier Game Studios
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Steam
Released: April 11, 2017
It’s not a party until everybody dies in The Sexy Brutale
There’s so much to do and so little time to do it at the hotel and casino known as The Sexy Brutale. Between the guests, the staff and exploring all that the hotel has to offer, this puzzle/adventure game left me wanting to leave the hotel a very nice Yelp review, even if all the guests ended up dead.
The Sexy Brutale has you playing as an old priest named Lafcadio Boone who awakens at noon on the day of the casino owner Marquis’ annual masked ball. But this year something is different. No one has seen Marquis and the staff are murdering all of the guests. Using a special pocket watch that allows him to reset the clock to noon, it is up to Lafcadio to figure out how to prevent the guests from being murdered and figure out the mystery of The Sexy Brutale.
While running around the hotel, it is necessary to remain out of sight of the staff and the guests. If they see Lafcadio their masks will begin to chase after him and slowly drain your health. There are several ways to remain in the shadows, whether it’s hiding in a wardrobe closet, peeking through a door’s peephole, or just listening to conversations from the next room over. Using these techniques, you’ll need to follow guests as they go about their day at the casino and keep an eye out for clues on how to save them. You can use the pocket watch to reset the clock back to noon at any point. The guests will always be in the same place at the same time of day, suffering the same fate until you figure out how to save them.
Figuring out how to save a guest is quite the puzzle and sometimes you’ll need to save more than one at a time. Each time you find a new area of the casino, you’ll be shown the target guest in that vicinity you need to save. You’ll need to tiptoe around and figure out the schedule of the guests as well as how they are murdered in order to work backwards and learn how to prevent the murder. The Sexy Brutale definitely incentivizes players to be thorough when checking spaces, as every nook and cranny has the potential to be the missing link to the solution. While it was never too difficult to save someone, it certainly presented a unique and fun challenge each time. Each situation is different and each area of the hotel has its own sort of theme.
Fortunately, as you save the guests their masks are removed and you receive a power-up unique to that character. One of the first power-ups allow you to choose which of the grandfather clocks in the hotel you want to spawn at when you reset the clock. This makes getting around much easier, because this casino is huge. These power-ups will also help you explore more of the hotel.
The absolute best part of The Sexy Brutale is its amazing soundtrack. The music is so catchy I found myself on more than one occasion swinging my head side to side in tempo with the more upbeat tracks. Different areas of the hotel have appropriately fitting music.
For the most part, The Sexy Brutal was an addicting and enjoyable experience during my five hours playing through the game. I did find myself getting impatient with Lafcadio’s walking speed, which I thought could have been a bit faster. Every once in a while, when trying to quickly move through the opening/closing door animation would stutter a tad. Although I had no gamer breaking bugs or crashes, I did find myself having to reset the clock once when I didn’t want to because Lafcadio was stuck in a certain scared animation that cause him to walk not only backwards, but incredibly slowly. There are a few collectibles to go back and search for once you complete the game but other than that, there isn’t too much replayability once you’re done with that.