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The Sexy Brutale Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While the poor frame rate, clumsy controls and simplistic puzzles are certainly a problem, they didn't distract too much from the otherwise incredible concept. I really love the way the game wraps up and can see myself going through it again in the near future. There's so much about The Sexy Brutale that I love that it's a shame it's ultimately undermined by the execution. Forget rewinding the clock, I want to fast-forward to a time when the game is patched and I can wholeheartedly recommend The Sexy Brutale without qualifications. Rating: 71%
The Sexy Brutale
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  • Review Score:

  • B
The Sexy Brutale has one of those crazy concepts that you can't help but fall in love with. It's a clever adventure where you're constantly replaying the same day over and over in hopes of saving a bunch of murder victims and making everything right. But while I would love to spend the next few minutes doing little more than gushing over the time-bending mechanics and incredible story, I can't help but feel a bit let down by the sloppy execution and lingering technical problems. Perhaps I should rewind and start at the beginning.

You play a man named Boone who wakes up in a large mansion filled with people who are only a few hours away from being murdered in a number of unfortunate ways. Like everybody else in the mansion, our hero wears a mask that completely hides his face. What sets him apart, though, is that he has somehow broken free of linear time and is able to relive the same day repeatedly until he either gives up or saves everybody from a gruesome fate. It's like Groundhog Day meets Clue, only this time there's a much more sinister plot afoot.


Thanks to a long-haired woman soaked in blood, we're instructed to sneak around the mansion and look for ways to thwart the deadly crimes. We do this by peeking through keyholes and listening in on conversations, waiting to see how each victim is going to die and then rewinding time to make sure that doesn't happen. Boone will need to pick up useful items and use them at the right times, always staying out of sight and keeping a close eye on the time. If he fails, the victim will die and he'll need to restart the day all over again until he gets it right.

While this may sound daunting at first, there are a few things that give Boone the upper-hand. For one thing, the series of events always play out in the same way at the exact same times. Once we've seen the pattern repeat a few times, we'll be able to memorize what happens and rush through the mansion to intervene. He'll also remember certain clues he sees and overhears, which makes each repetition a little easier to navigate. For example, once he knows about a hidden room, Boone won't need to bother discovering it again and can just open it up without going through the steps.

But this isn't always as easy as it sounds, since the mansion is teaming with gas-mask wearing bad guys who are looking to stop your meddling. In order for the plan to work, Boone will need to stay hidden, always avoiding being in the same room as either the killer or the mark. If you do find yourself face-to-face with another guest, time will stop and the masks will attack. The trick is to sneak around the massive estate without being noticed and intervene when nobody is looking.

The Sexy Brutale (Xbox One)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Between picking up items and looking for the best place to use them, The Sexy Brutale reminds me of a traditional point and click adventure game mixed with a MetroidVania-style experience. Beyond simply saving the victims, Boone will collect a series of masks that come with new abilities. He'll be able to listen in on quiet conversations with one mask and pick locks with another, ultimately opening up new parts of the mansion to explore. There's a nice balance between picking up items and using these masks to solve life or death puzzles.

As a concept, The Sexy Brutale is one of the most creative games I've played this year. I absolutely adore the idea of reliving the day over and over until you get it right, and the story here is both compelling and emotionally stirring. In fact, I have a hunch that of all the games I'll play in 2017, this will be one that actually sticks with me. I kind of love the way it ends and really got into the various puzzles and murders. This really is something special.

Unfortunately, the incredible concept is ultimately undermined by some gameplay and technical hiccups. One of the biggest issues is the frame rate, which will chug to a crawl more times than I would like. There are a few rooms where the animation will sputter around in an unhealthy fashion, something that will occasionally impact the gameplay. And on that topic, I found that my character wouldn't always do what I wanted. There were a lot of times when pressing the button to open the door wouldn't actually open the door. I would have to press it again and hope for the best. The gameplay is, for lack of a better word, clumsy. It often felt like the game was a patch or two away from being where it needed to be.

The Sexy Brutale (Xbox One)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Aside from the technical issues, I was also a bit let down by the simplicity of some of the murders. While it was always fun figuring out what happened, I was surprised by how basic a few of the cases were. There are a couple puzzles in particular that are little more than picking up a single item and finding the right spot, something that I solved almost immediately. Perhaps it's because I just came off of playing through Thimbleweed Park, but I was expecting the scenarios to be a little more involving. Thankfully, the game's final few mysteries are a lot deeper, but it would have been nice to see more put into the earlier cases.

While the poor frame rate, clumsy controls and simplistic puzzles are certainly a problem, they didn't distract too much from the otherwise incredible concept. I really love the way the game wraps up and can see myself going through it again in the near future. There's so much about The Sexy Brutale that I love that it's a shame it's ultimately undermined by the execution. Forget rewinding the clock, I want to fast-forward to a time when the game is patched and I can wholeheartedly recommend The Sexy Brutale without qualifications.
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