Title: The Sexy Brutale
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Tequila Works, Cavalier Games
Publisher: Tequila Works, Cavalier Games
Release date: Xbox One, PS4, and PC (out now)
Price: £15/$20 (PC) £16/$20 (Console)
TL;DR: A fun, unique puzzler that keeps you guessing
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
I’m not going to lie and say I had never heard of The Sexy Brutale before I started playing. For a while now, I had been hearing a hum of praise around this game, and I was not disappointed at all. Although The Sexy Brutale isn’t the greatest game I have ever played, it is most definitely one I would recommend to anyone who will listen to me.
I knew I was going to enjoy this from the moment I loaded the title screen. I was greeted, with much surprise, to an astounding electro-swing soundtrack, mixed in with the very retro art style that accompanies the music perfectly. I was a very happy man. The incredibly catchy tune follows the player as they traverse the mansion and explore the actually rather engrossing story of The Sexy Brutale. In fact, here is that soundtrack right now!
Ah, the story – I almost forgot! The Sexy Brutale is a game set during the events of the yearly gala extravaganza, which is the namesake of the game. But this time, the gala is different; guests are dropping like flies, one after the other, each being killed by circumstance, supernatural entities, or the strange staff that permeate the walls of this mansion.
Players take control of a grey-haired masked man, saved from apparent death by a young girl covered in blood (called The Bloody Girl). She gives you a broken pocket watch that seems to control time. The player uses this ability to relive the last 12 hours again and again, Groundhog Day style, as they attempt to stop the death of all the guests.
One problem I have with the game, however, is the gameplay, it’s not really a major issue, but it does detract from the game some. It’s a simple affair with the left stick and mostly the A and X buttons. As a result, it sometimes feels a bit dull to play and is mostly driven by the story. It is worth noting that as the game progresses, the player does gain some “superpowers,” that serve to make your player that more skilled in finding out how to stop all the deaths, but it doesn’t really change anything from the core experience.
As The Sexy Brutale comes under the moniker of an indie game, it’s to be expected that some elements of the game to maybe not be as polished as its AAA. But sometimes there are some problems that cannot be overlooked; continuing my topic of gameplay, here is an example of where it really grated on me. There seems to be some form of detection box around doors where players can open and go through them after pressing the correct button. Simple stuff, really? But for some reason, The Sexy Brutale seems to change where the detection box is EVERY SINGLE TIME!
I am running from an opponent (because of your magical powers, you cannot let anyone in the mansion see you, otherwise they will attack you), and I get to the door, because I am fast, but I cannot open the door! The button to do so is floating above my head, but it doesn’t open; it just doesn’t open! While I maddeningly smash the door open button, the nasty enemy gets close and then kills me horribly.
I reload, go back to the same room with the same enemy and the same door, I get through first try! Now, this could be easy to forgive if it was a one time thing, but no. This happened to me on and off throughout the entire game; guests died as a result of this! It became a running theme that most doors I came up against, I would proceed to tap the button as fast as I could just to make sure I definitely would get in. Naturally, this did lead to some very frustrating gameplay.
I know this sounds like nitpicking in what is actually a very strong game, but seriously I cannot even come close to describing how much this little thing really detracted from the game for me. I really do love The Sexy Brutale, but because of that odd hit detection, it did go quite a way in reducing the immersion.
Aside from the above, I honestly really enjoyed playing The Sexy Brutale; the strange retro world and dark story fit that perfect little electro-swing niche that I really do need sometimes. With a soundtrack that really rocks my world, and an amazing art style that is cartoony without being too cartoony, but also dark without being too dark, I can honestly say The Sexy Brutale should be in the “Best Games I Have Played This Year.” list. It is only let down by the too simplistic gameplay and that door hit detection that really killed my mood.
- Amazing soundtrack!
- Nice puzzle and time travel mechanics
- A blood soaked girl with a magic pocket watch
- Gameplay is a little samey
- Opening doors, man! Opening doors!
- No, seriously those doors!
This game deals with rather violent themes such as murder and suicide; best make sure the small kids don’t play this one. PEGI 12. ESRB T Rating.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a digital code of the game provided by Xbox UK for the purpose of this review.