Review: The Sexy Brutale – Full House Edition

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Going into The Sexy Bru­ta­le, I wasn’t qui­te sure what to expect. The name doesn’t give much away, and the stu­dio behind it was unknown to me. As I wat­ched the credits roll howe­ver, I rea­li­sed that I had just play­ed one of the most crea­ti­ve games of this year.

The ent­i­re­ty of The Sexy Bru­ta­le is set in the titu­lar man­si­on tur­ned casi­no, owned by the eccentric Mar­quis Lucas Bon­des. The guests of the man­si­on are stuck in a 12 hour time loop, fated to die over and over again. Resi­dent priest Laf­ca­dio Boo­ne wakes up and, with the help of the mys­te­rious ‘Bloo­dy Girl’, gains the abi­li­ty to free the vic­tims from their inten­ded fate.

Basic game­play revol­ves around obser­ving the guests you need to save, along with the staff of the man­si­on. By fol­lo­wing their activi­ties and lis­ten­ing in on con­ver­sa­ti­ons, you can find out the events lea­ding up to their demi­se and start working on fre­eing them from the time-loop. Wit­hout play­er inter­ven­ti­on, the guests and staff will always go about their days the same way during every loop. This means that even if you fail to save a guest after a few loops, you’ll even­tual­ly be able to gather enough infor­ma­ti­on to aid you for your next attempt.

Gathe­ring infor­ma­ti­on is fair­ly simp­le. To start with, Boo­ne only has the abi­li­ty to look through key­ho­les and hide in clo­sets to avo­id guests. Being seen by one of the other guests or staff cau­ses their mask to attack you, for­cing you to lea­ve the room befo­re you are caught. This pre­vents you from easi­ly being able to fol­low guests around as they move around the man­si­on, but it’s pret­ty easy to avo­id cap­tu­re.

Lis­ten­ing on guests allows you to find out more about them, along with important infor­ma­ti­on like lock com­bi­na­ti­ons or the pla­ce­ment of hid­den rooms. The guests them­sel­ves are varied and inte­res­ting, making it fun just to dis­co­ver new con­ver­sa­ti­ons or inter­ac­tions. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, the natu­re of the game’s short time-loop means that you don’t get to know too much about each guest, but extra collec­tibles that you find do offer extra insight into the inha­bi­tants of the man­si­on.

Sin­ce you’re unab­le to direc­t­ly inter­act with anyo­ne in the man­si­on, the solu­ti­ons to the res­cue of each guest reli­es in the mani­pu­la­ti­on of the envi­ron­ment. Guests gene­ral­ly stay in cer­tain parts of the man­si­on, limi­t­ing the amount of rooms you need to cover when try­ing to save them. This makes things a litt­le easier, espe­ci­al­ly sin­ce the game doesn’t give you too many hints on the solu­ti­on to each puz­zle.

After saving a guest, Boo­ne recei­ves a new abi­li­ty. This allows you to move on to ano­t­her part of the man­si­on to save more of the guests. In this sen­se, The Sexy Bru­ta­le is simi­lar to Metroid­va­nia style games, whe­re you can’t access cer­tain are­as until new powers have been unlo­cked. Later are­as will requi­re the use of many of your abi­li­ties, but the game never makes the solu­ti­on to puz­zles too com­pli­ca­ted. Even if you’re forced to loop many times in the attempt to save a guest, the rela­tively short amount of time each loop takes stops things from being too annoy­ing or repe­ti­ti­ve.

The man­si­on its­elf is fun to explo­re. The various rooms and are­as of the man­si­on have their own dis­tinct the­mes, the casi­no ent­ran­ce being an ear­ly high­light. While not over­ly detail­ed, the style of the envi­ron­ments and cha­rac­ters stand out even from a distan­ce, which is a good thing sin­ce the came­ra is usual­ly zoo­med far out to show the ent­i­re­ty of the room you are in.

Though the game looks nice when not in moti­on, once you start to tra­ver­se the man­si­on some tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties appe­ar. A lot of rooms are fine, but some of the lar­ger or more den­sely packed are­as cau­se the frame­ra­te to noti­ce­ab­ly dip. Frame­ra­te issu­es also extend to moving bet­ween rooms. Some­ti­mes you only expe­ri­ence a small frame­ra­te drop, but occa­sio­nal­ly the game had to free­ze Boo­ne in place for a few seconds befo­re allo­wing him to move into the next room.

Spe­cial men­ti­on must be made to The Sexy Brutale’s sound­track. Every song is a joy to lis­ten to, giving the game extra cha­rac­ter and charm. The sound­track also fur­ther enhan­ces the game’s atmo­s­phe­re, with musi­cal cues tying in to what’s hap­pe­ning on screen or around the man­si­on. The Full House Edi­ti­on inclu­des the sound­track in it’s ent­i­re­ty, which is a wel­co­me bonus.

The Sexy Bru­ta­le is the per­fect examp­le of how to have an inte­res­ting pre­mi­se while also making a good final pro­duct. Unli­ke a lot of pro­jec­ts nowa­days that fea­ture uni­que ide­as and mecha­nics, but fail to trans­la­te them into a fun game, The Sexy Bru­ta­le mana­ges to stay inte­res­ting for the majo­ri­ty of its (admit­ted­ly short) play­ti­me. I can only hope more games in the future mana­ge to learn from Cava­lier Game Stu­di­os’ suc­cess.

Game Tit­le: The Sexy Bru­ta­le

Gen­re: Adven­ture

Release Date: 11.04.2017




We took the screen­shots using the PS4 ver­si­on. This game was pro­vi­ded by the publisher for review pur­po­ses, check our review poli­cy for details.

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