Murder Mysteries isn’t anything new to the world of games; while the same could also be said about preventing someone’s murder. It does feel like a motif that has been played up for the longest of times, and after a while, they all tend to blend together. So going into The Sexy Brutale, there wasn’t much to be expected of it at first. However, as the story progressed, it didn’t take long for the game to really shine through and to show that it wasn’t as straight forward as the genre may have you believe. What may start off as “preventing someone’s murder” does evolve into something much deeper as you unravel the mystery behind The Sexy Brutale.
A Party to Die For
Once a year, an extravagant masked ball is held at The Sexy Brutale, a mansion turned casino by its enigmatic owner and creator, “The Marquis.” The party invites a select party of guests to enjoy all that The Sexy Brutale has to offer: From the Bars and shows to exhibits and other mysteries The Sexy Brutale has to offer. The staff caters to all the guest’s needs and desires, but this year, something strange happened this year (if you replaced “something strange happened” with “everyone died under mysterious circumstances”).
You take control of an elderly priest named Lafcadio Boone. For reasons unknown, he finds himself in this mansion as he is approached by a bloody girl who warns him to never take off his mask. After witnessing a man getting shot and killed (twice), he receives a pocket watch from the woman that allows him to travel back and forth in time to solve the mystery of what happened that tragic Saturday and to save the guests from being murdered.
For the storytelling on its own, it is nothing short of brilliant. While you are taking the time to save people from being murdered at least once, it does bare to question why all of this is happening in the first place. Why are all of these guests getting killed in this time loop? Why are all of these supernatural things are happening around you? It is a mystery that will circle in your mind until the end and will leave you in shock when the truth is discovered. Another great thing about the story being told is how the game can go into deep detail to explain the history of The Sexy Brutale and the guests that are here.
A good chunk of the rooms each in the mansion have their own unique stories to them as you can be treated to a 0and talks about the purpose behind each one as it helps to build to the mystery of this Mansion turned Casino. It can range from items that you can use to help you out, to small tidbits of a background item’s backstory. Are these rooms just something to entertain the guests? Are is there really supernatural secrets inside? You’ll soon find out as the game proceeds forward, it will find new ways to grab your attention through its visuals, sounds, and music as much as its narrative. In each location of The Sexy Brutale, it provides its own unique feel as the music may start off as charming and delightful until it begins to move towards the evening when things begin to sound more dire and less whimsy. It helps to set the mood as you can hear all the murders happening around you.
An Endless Loop of Death
Because of this constant time loop that you find yourself in and the ability to control it, don’t expect there to be any changes in the movements of the guests and servants. From Noon to Midnight, each guest and servant will go through their day in the exact same way and die off in the same gruesome fashion every time (even those who you may have saved previously). While this may sound like it can get repetitive really quickly, it does help to lend itself to the game’s ability to track everyone’s movements in the pause menu and to see where they are in different parts of the day.
The best way to approach each guest is to study them as carefully as you can from the start of the day to when they are killed off so that you can tell where they are going to go, and if they talk about something of importance. There may also be times where you might have to do a bit of exploring on your own in the part of the mansion to try and find some clues to help you reach locations you might overlook. For example, say that you need to listen to a conversation (such as the picture above), but you need to be closer to hear it; you can either peek into the next room over with limited sight or you can sneak into a nearby closet when no one is around so that you can hear to what they have to say. Bare in mind that while you can observe everyone around you, you can not be in the same room and in visible sight as a guest or servant. If that were to happen, time will stop and their mask will begin to chase you down until you leave the room. While you can technically get killed by the floating masks, it can take several seconds for the masks to actually kill you, so you’re not really in any danger unless if you stand around and let the mask kill you (and even then, the only “Penality” is going back to the start of the day).
While many things can be said of The Sexy Brutale, difficult isn’t one of them. You may quickly realize that it isn’t as hard as you might think to prevent a guest’s murder as long as you pay attention to what’s going on. Even at times when it might not make sense at first, a few times of watching everyone involved with the crime (including the servants that murder the guests) can give you everything you need to do what needs to be done and can make the solution become laughably simple. Still, it isn’t to say that the game is a complete cakewalk since some do take a bit of trial and error to figure out and if you don’t follow the correct person, you will find yourself having to restart the day again.
Exploring The Sexy Brutale
When you’re not watching people get murdered, you can spend your time at The Sexy Brutale finding all the collectibles. There are quite a good number of things to find in the game, and while most can be found just checking every location or just in plain sight, others can be well hidden. Thankfully, it isn’t too hard to know what you can select as all places that are usually highlighted out for you to check while others may require you to have to come back at a later time when you have explored more of the mansion and found a new power. Speaking of which, for each guest you save, you can gain a new power from their mask to make it your own. While the powers don’t really do much to enhance what Lafcadio can already do, they are still nice additions to help him out, such as setting up a new respawn point when you go back in time, the ability to hear whispers and other fancy abilities that can help you find collectibles. They aren’t really used too often, but at the same time, you can at least argue that they don’t outstay their welcome either.
The game does performance runs well, although there can be a few stuttering issues that sometimes pop up. You don’t really have much of a means to move faster in-between rooms, but the bigger issue can show up in some rooms when the game’s frame rate take a noticeable hit when moving into other rooms. This could happen because you walked into a room where someone else is and having to immediately try and go back in the door you came in, while other cases can be at certain locations where when you walked into a new room or when you’re getting ready to open a new door, the game might not respond right away and you stand around a few seconds waiting around until it lets you move on. As mentioned before, it thankfully, this didn’t happen too often, but it got to a point it became quite noticeable which places of the mansion caused these issues more times than others.
There was definitely a certain kind of charm that was provided by The Sexy Brutale. It is the kind of game that once you get started with it, it can be hard to put down as it draws you in and does seem to let go as you explore the mansion and wonder about the mysteries inside. While one could beat the game in one afternoon, it can still provide a lot of enjoyment in what it provides. If you got the time, this is definitely one party to go enjoy.
- Engaging and Intriguing Story
- Brilliant Lore Building
- Mechanics Revolving Around Time Travel
- Performance can stutter a bit