The Sexy Brutale Review: House of Horrors

April 11th, 2017 -

Sweat begins to drip down your brow, you open your eyes to the dusty coldness of a floor, yet your face is radiating heat. You realize you have a mask on, and you see a figure in the distance as you roll on your side, regaining consciousness. It appears human, but is covered in an oozing red liquid. Surely, this must be a fever dream. You see a bright light, and soon after the figure disappears into the floor. You arise to a room you’ve never seen before. Where are you? It’s lavish, overly so. Gold everywhere, expensive figurines, and you hear a man in the distance worried about being found. What could possibly be going on? Welcome to The Sexy Brutale.

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It doesn’t take much time for the beautiful isometric game to pull you in, with the goal of saving the guests of a party from being killed in horrible manners. With the help of your mask and a pocket watch, you are able to explore the mansion over the course of 12 hours (once the watch is fixed) without being seen. This is important, because the guest’s lives depend on you, and you need to save them for their powers.

Each character is bound by their mask, which contains a power. By saving each guest, you’re granted the power that is tied to their mask, almost in the way that you’d collect a boss’ power in Mega Man, or more currently, a new persona in Persona 5 (because you hold them in your mask… it’s relevant). These powers will be essential in saving the other guests, as well as finding the secrets that the brutale holds.

It’s difficult to talk about the game without giving too much away, as many of the elements of gameplay are also story related. There aren’t too many games that utilize the time loop like this though. There is one that always sticks out in my mind; despite the mediocre reaction it received from people was Ephemeral Fantasia. Like that, you have a world to explore, and events to see from different perspectives. You’ll be learning the paths that everyone takes, and finding out their motives. You’ll see how people are to be killed, and you’ll be tasked with making sure their doom doesn’t come to fruition.

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The game lies within the puzzle genre, but far from something you’d see from the likes of Tetris or even the point-and-click adventures from Tim Schafer or Ron Gilbert. The solutions are anything but obtuse, and present themselves naturally if you only let them. Within the brutale is a scripted series of events that happen in real time. The environments change and present different options as time moves forward, after being tampered with. You’ll know what you can interact with, as the pieces of the world are pointed out with color coded circles. The only real rule in saving lives is that you have to do so in the shadows – you can’t do so face to face.

The aesthetic of the game is fairly stylized, and while it won’t be winning any awards for prettiest looking game, it provides the feel of the world very well. The music is also an excellent addition to the events that unfold in the world around you, with a very upbeat swing to a haunting sense of urgency as death becomes imminent. The game itself may seem novel at first, but the further you go in, the more deep it becomes, and you realize just how in-depth the devs went with the game. If you take the time, there’s a lot of lore here, in addition to collectibles – 52 card pick up, anyone?

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It’s games like this that make writing reviews difficult. As much as you want to gush over how parts of the game are done, you also don’t want to for the sake of someone else being able to experience it for themselves. After only playing through the tutorial my first go with the game, I knew it was something special. I had no idea just how special though. If you enjoy puzzle games, I implore you to pick this up. If you don’t, but you like dark comedy, and aren’t bothered by the likes of gruesome deaths, chances are you should grab this as well. This is a hidden gem that should not be hidden, yet likely will be.

BUY

Pros

  • Time Travel
  • Interwoven Stories
  • Fun Puzzles

Cons

  • Graphics?

The Sexy Brutale was developed by Cavalier Game Studios & Tequila Works and published by Tequila Works as well. The game launched on PS4, X1 and PC April 11th, 2017 for $19.99. The game was provided to us for review on PS4. If you’d like to see more of The Sexy Brutale, check out the official site.

 

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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