The Sexy Brutale is one of those games that I’ve owned for a while but never really got into. I played it for a bit when I first bought it, but it didn’t initially grab me and I found my attention drawn to some of my other games.
Once those other games were completed and I had a few hours to play, I reluctantly decided to dive back into it.
I’m glad I did.
- Intriguing story and plot
- Fascinating puzzle solutions
- Stylish and striking visuals
- Can’t be played in short bursts
- Performance issues and slowdown
The game has you attending an evening of murder in a casino/mansion where you’ll be using time-travelling powers to change the course of history and save the guests from untimely demise.
Rather than having full control over time, you can only go back to a given time and re-experience the whole evening while retaining the information your gathered during previous loops.
It’s a fun idea but the gameplay loop does require a decent amount of your time and attention in order to be enjoyed. For me, as someone who has to just play games whenever they can get a chance, this meant that without regular sessions, I wouldn’t remember where I was, what I was doing, and, in some cases, what the game was about.
While the game won’t hold your hand, which is definitely a good thing, it would be nice if there was more to remind player of where they were up to when they reload a save. Infrequent players should consider taking notes as they play.
If you have the time, though, there are plenty of interesting characters to eavesdrop on and the fact that they’re not allowed to see you adds some delightful tension and challenge. Puzzles are generally solved by spying on the guests or murderer and finding something you can tinker with to scupper the murderer’s plans and change the course of history.
The cartoony-burlesque art style also manages to strike the perfect balance between cool and dark without making regularly viewing murder and death too depressing to play through.
However, in my last playthrough, I quickly remembered why I’d stopped playing. In certain parts of the game, especially when autosaving or entering larger rooms at a time when other events were occurring, the performance of the game was unbearable.
I don’t need 120fps on a 4K monitor to enjoy games but the slowdown on the Switch version that I was playing equated to a handful of frames per second for close to a minute at a time.
The Sexy Brutale is a wonderfully written and beautifully presented puzzle game that won’t hold your hand. While it does expect its players to dedicate a decent amount of time to it during each session, the reward is definitely worth it. While it’s a nice game to play on long trips, the technical issues on the Switch might make you stop playing.