The Rookie Plays…The Sexy Brutale

Hello readers and welcome to the first edition of The Rookie Plays – a regular new slot here at Shoot the Rookie!

In this series I will be doing in-depth examinations of the games I’m playing right now in an attempt to add a more relevant and up-to-date feel to the blog *nods knowingly*.

In this, the inaugural edition, we are going to be delving into the glamorous but murky world of The Sexy Brutale.

tsb key art

Title: The Sexy Brutale

Developers: Tequila Works / Cavalier Game Studios

Release Year: 2017

Platforms: Nintendo Switch (version played), PS4, XBox One & Steam

Genre: Adventure/Puzzle

All pictures, except where noted, from The Sexy Brutale’s Official Website

 

The Sexy Brutale is a beautiful game set in a flamboyant mansion that exudes horror and glamour in equal measures. Your character, Lafcadio Boone, has been invited to a party by the mansion’s owner, ‘The Marquis’, along with many of his talented and well-to-do friends. With the party due to begin at 7pm, you are magicked to the mansion’s chapel by a mysterious figure who has uncovered a terrible secret. There is a plan to murder every one of the party guests and you are the only one who can stop it.

screenshot 01

This scary premise drives the gameplay. You are tasked with saving each guest and in order to do so you must work out how they will be murdered and prevent it from happening. Each murder occurs within the same 12 hour window, and when it is over you are taken back to the start where events begin all over again. When you solve a murder, you return to the start of the day immediately and your investigations can move on to the next victim.

Each time around events play out the same and only your actions can change the outcome. In each 12 hour section you can learn a lot. You can spy on the guests through keyholes and listen in on conversations. This is the key to the game. You have to slowly watch, listen and learn in order to work out when and where you need to be to prevent a murder. You would think that perhaps you could just go to the room where the murder takes place and somehow intervene. That leads us however to the second gameplay element, which is that you cannot occupy the same room as another character, whether it be the guest you are trying to save or one of the mansion’s ominous staff members. If you enter an occupied room everything goes to hell and they chase you away. This is absolutely terrifying and best avoided.

the sexy brutale chase
Terrifying! Pic from WindowsCentral.com

The reason I found that aspect particularly scary is because it reminded me of another game, namely Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, in which you are chased around a sewer by an undead pirate. However, that isn’t the only way in which The Sexy Brutale is reminiscent of other games. Although it doesn’t use the point and click gameplay mechanic, it is particularly evocative of classic point and click adventures. The types of puzzle you have to solve, the design elements and even the humour bring games like Monkey Island and Grim Fandango to mind.

In a completely different way, the game is also reminiscent of Majora’s Mask due to its time based mechanics. With dashes of Resident Evil and a helping of Metroidvania, the game’s nods to video game history are plentiful.

screenshot 05

Despite the references to classic games, The Sexy Brutale never feels unoriginal. The time mechanic has its own nuances and the visual design and use of sound feel unique. Vividly coloured stained glass windows sit comfortably alongside more macabre elements, such as tanks of colourful but deadly fish and paintings depicting ghost stories from Japanese legends. It makes interesting use of light and shadow, with the characters you are spying on disappearing from view if they step out of the light.

screenshot 04

The soundtrack also adds a lot to the experience. The music harks back to the first half of the 20th century with several jazz numbers interspersed with slower, more menacing tracks. Sound is actually an interesting element in the game as a whole and there are various uses of it outside the soundtrack. Many of the actions which take place have accompanying sound effects. What was that gunshot? And that crash? And…I don’t even know what that was! As you work your way through the game you begin to learn what each sound represents. There are also a number of gramophones which create a puzzle all of their own, but I’ll leave that one for you to discover yourself.

The music and visuals create an atmosphere full of mystery and trepidation. You are aware right from the start that things are not right in the mansion, but it is only through methodical exploration and taking time to figure out the puzzles that you begin to realise the true horror of what is happening.

screenshot 02

The story itself unfolds slowly as you go from simply trying to save each guest to questioning why on earth this is happening in the first place. These thoughts lead you to a truly compelling end game, as mystery and tragedy merge into a fascinating and disturbing conclusion. With a play time of around 8 hours the experience is over all too quickly, but far from being a complaint, it is more a reminder that the best games will always leave you wanting more.

Although I don’t really want to, I must now point out a couple of issues I had with the game. I noted in my opening that I played The Sexy Brutale on Switch. The performance on Switch leaves a lot to be desired – slow loading times, frame rate drops and most frustratingly the music breaks up in busy scenes. The control system is also a little awkward and takes time to get used to. For me these things could be largely ignored, but if this is the type of thing which grates with you then I’d recommend buying one of the other versions.

screenshot 03

Don’t be put off by these foibles though. The Sexy Brutale is a fantastic game which stays in your thoughts long after the credits roll for all the right reasons. Top notch!


So what do you make of The Sexy Brutale? Does it sound like the game for you? Maybe you’ve already played it and have some ideas of your own? Either way let me know below in comments.

Thanks for reading,

Pix1001 x

The Marquis invites you to tonight’s show! 7pm in the Theatre!”

10 thoughts on “The Rookie Plays…The Sexy Brutale

Add yours

  1. I LOVED this game. The music was amazing, the art style was great, and the puzzles were complex without being annoying (although I solved one first time by pure fluke). I loved how utterly mad the story got towards the end, as the casino became more and more twisted as you entered its depths. I’d strongly recommend it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the idea and the concept. I didn’t love the slow loading and I really couldn’t be bothered to go round again and collect everything. I wanted to love it, like so many do, but I don’t and can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, it’s always good to avoid being murdered!

    It really is a great game. It isn’t too demanding difficulty wise, but it does require patience. Like I said, the Switch version is a bit laggy, which is a real shame, although having said that it didn’t stop me enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely didn’t bother with the collectibles, I never really do to be honest, I just wanted to play for the atmosphere and story. It is a real shame that they haven’t managed to sort out the loading times, it puts a dampener on the game even though I still enjoyed it.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: