The Sexy Brutale – A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other

reviews by Heather Terwilliger

Now that is a game title that makes you want to find out more isn’t it? The Sexy Brutale, I’m happy to say, is more than just an snappy title. It is a game that takes you deep down the rabbit hole into an insanely ruthless world of murder, gambling, and time travel.

The joint venture of Tequila Works and Cavalier Game Studios, The Sexy Brutale was a passion project that both were proud to be a part of. It was announced in August of last year, however, their short production time hasn’t affected the quality of the game at all. The graphics that provide the foundation of the game are haunting and charming all at once. I highly suggest that you watch the launch trailer above so you can hear the sparkling music that really rounds out The Sexy Brutale‘s environment. It has a soundtrack that I will most definitely be keeping my eye out for!

Above all, The Sexy Brutale has a story that is sure to hook you from the start!


The Sexy Brutale

The game centers around a mansion turned casino and bizarre hotel The Sexy Brutale. The eccentric owner, The Marquis, throws a masked ball every year for a few select VIPs. This year, however, something is askew.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


You play as priest Lafcadio Boone, awakened by a mysterious blood-drenched mistress who marks you with a bloody hand print on your crisp white mask. She shows you that the guests are being murdered one by one in the sprawling manor and it’s up to you to save each innocent soul. Keep your mask on because she has endowed it with some special powers.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


The challenge is that the day continually loops. Through using an enchanted pocket watch, you wake up at noon on Saturday each day and have until midnight before the clock resets. During that time, it is up to you to discover the many secrets that the hotel holds and find a way to save the guests. Remember to stay hidden or all will be for naught. If you are seen by a guest or hotel employee then you will have to start your day over again. This results in you losing all of the things you have discovered and collected during the day!


 Snooping Necessity

The only way you can guide Lafcadio into saving each guest is by nosing around the mansion and spying on the guests. This process feels a little bit forbidden but completely exciting! In my normal everyday life, I would never randomly peer into somebody’s keyhole to watch what they were doing. But in The Sexy Brutale, it is normal and encouraged.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


Watching can give you important information that you could never get otherwise. You can see what people are doing, witness murders, and uncover secrets to aid you in your quest. Despite what your mother may have told you about snooping being rude, it is the only way to gather the information you need to solve the puzzles and save the guests.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


A light bit of stalking is also helpful in finding out what is happening to each guest. The Sexy Brutale, like many games, gives you a map so that you can keep track of where you have been. The more information you cache on people, the more your map fills out. Your map will show where the people are within the mansion at any given time as long as you have witnessed it. This can be extremely helpful when you are trying to stay hidden.


Stay Hidden, Stay Safe

There is an element of stealth present in The Sexy Brutale, but it isn’t overly challenging. Rooms have been designed to give you wardrobe’s that you can easily hide in should you be expecting someone to enter.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


If you happen to be surprised by an unexpected guest, don’t panic! You can fairly easily outrun the mask that is chasing you down and duck into another room or hallway. Take that opportunity to peer through the peephole and gather some more information.


A Colorful Cast of Characters

The graphics are wonderful, the music is exciting, but what really brings The Sexy Brutale to life is its magnificent cast of characters! Each person that you encounter has their own voice, their own mannerisms, their own distinct personalities. Tequila Works and Cavalier Game Studios have gone to great lengths to make each person an individual.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


Throughout the time that you are spying on each character, you are learning about them as well. You learn what their hobbies are, their lifestyle choices, and any talents they might possess. When you save your targeted guest, you adopt their special talents. For example, Trinity is a blind artist who wears a bright green moth mask. After saving her life, you place her mask on yourself and acquire her ability to hear at great lengths with pristine accuracy. This power allows you to uncover more clues to help your next target.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


Despite the morose nature of the game, there is quite a bit of dark humor interspersed throughout the dialogue. These moments keep the game play fresh and interesting.


Time Traveling is Tricky

The puzzles in The Sexy Brutale revolve around the fact that your time is limited. When the clock strikes midnight, you travel back to noon of that day. Any items you may have been holding in your inventory disappear and you have to backtrack and remember where you found them. There are a few exceptions, collectible items stay in your inventory along with any secrets you may have uncovered. It’s not like traveling back in time can make you forget the code to those security cameras.

The clocks around the mansion serve as a sort of spawn point. After you uncover an ability when you save your first guest, you can choose which clock you would like to restart your days at. You also harness the ability to restart your day at any time if you realize you are on the wrong track. This is not only convenient, but necessary to aid you in your mission. Time in The Sexy Brutale seems to fly, and not just because you’re having fun.


The Sexy Brutale - A Masked Murder Mystery Unlike Any Other


Ah, yes, time flies. But not in the way you are thinking. Did I spend a lot of time playing The Sexy Brutale? You bet I did! But mostly because I was trying to beat the clock which seems to zoom at supernatural speeds. The game gives you a display on your screen of the pocket watch so you can see what time it is during your day, but it can take a disturbingly long time to travel throughout the mansion. Don’t get me wrong, I get that mansions are large. But Lafcadio taking 20 minutes to cross a room at an all out spring? That doesn’t seem likely to me.


An Indie Gem

If you can look past the wonky way that time passes then it is really a gem of a game. I could safely say, it is one of the top three games that I have played so far in 2017. The graphics and sound design are really astounding, creating a rich atmosphere that you can really get lost in. The puzzles were engaging without being overly difficult and the concept is unique and interesting. It reminded me of a mixture of the game Clue and the film Groundhog Day.  I loved this game and I think that if you like puzzle games that you will too.

The Sexy Brutale is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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