One fateful day.
Going into Sexy Brutale, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
Before loading it up for the first time, I’d never seen a trailer, a screenshot or even heard a description for the game.
However, in the line of being a reviewer, I’ve had all manner of games thrown my way that I never would have touched otherwise. Some of those titles end up being gems that I feel fortunate to have experienced and others, well- not so much.
Sexy Brutale is a case in between, where it truly had the potential to be something special but falters due to lackluster execution.
Length: 4-5 hours
The basic premise of Sexy Brutale is quite simple and intriguing. There’s a mansion full of people and they all meet their end in a variety of gruesome ways during the course of one twelve hour cycle. With the help of a mysterious red woman, the player gains the ability to manipulate time, allowing him/her to restart the day as many times as required to save the lives of these unfortunate souls and get to the bottom of what’s really going on.
After learning the identities of the people in danger, it’s time to stalk them carefully as being in the same room as any other character will trigger a panic state where their mask attacks the player after a short delay. It’s an odd game mechanic that ends up making sense in the context of the story, but it nevertheless felt tacked on as a transparent attempt to stop any direct intervention the player could have on the other characters.
Since grabbing people by the shoulders and shouting, “YOU’RE GONNA DIE IF YOU GO IN THERE!” is out of the question, the player is tasked with finding more creative, indirect solutions to problems.
Without going into specifics, most of the solutions are actually quite simple, with only a handful of them feeling complicated and obtuse. Given the overall structure of locating a person that needs to be saved and figuring out how to stop them from getting murdered, I felt like I was playing some kind of a weird reverse Hitman, which was an amusing thought.
However, unlike Hitman there was only one solution to each situation, which was a major letdown, and confirmed my suspicion that this is a one and done title with very little replay value. This would be fine if the solutions were clever, but in all honesty, I found myself thinking, “that’s all?” after figuring out what needed to be for most of the situations.
At the very least, the game tries to keep things fresh by granting the player a new ability after saving a character, but they never really helped to make the puzzles any more interesting other than providing access to areas or items that were previously inaccessible.
Also, there is very little time spent delving into the back story of these characters that I’m trying to save, and given I don’t know them and they automatically try to kill me when I’m in the same room as them, I had a hard time really giving a damn.
It’s not until later when various text files are unlocked detailing the other characters that they feel a bit more fleshed out, but by then, it was too little too late.
Luckily, the overarching storyline felt quite interesting, as I was engaged trying to piece together what was really happening from the very beginning, and when all was revealed, I was impressed.
Sexy Brutale is a title with an intriguing premise, backed up by a story well worth experiencing. However, the lackluster characterization and singular, uninteresting solutions to its puzzles hold it back from greatness.
Fun Tidbit – If they could expand on the premise here where they spend more time initially introducing each character with more than just a title card and make it so that there are multiple creative solutions, it could be something quite exceptional.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.