Generally speaking I hate timed missions and events that you must complete before the clock runs out, it just stresses me to no end and when I play games the one thing I am trying to rid myself of above all is anxiety. So why is it I found a game all about that concept being incorporated into everything so much fun? How did I come to enjoy my time with The Sexy Brutale? Was it the awesome music? The eye catching graphics? Or maybe it was a story that featured twists that even I didn't see coming? Yeah, it was probably all of those things.
If you haven't seen it yet, Jim Sterling did a preview of this game and it was that video that got me interested. However, while I did buy the game immediately, I allowed it to sit and gather digital dust on my Xbox One until about two weeks ago when I finally decided to put Waifuwatch aside and see other games. I started with the Portal-esque Quantum Conundrum and finished with this game, and I must say that I ended up saving the best for last. From the menu to the ending credits, everything about this game pulled me in.
Loading up the game you're going to experience the very same OST I did, and I won't lie when I spent 15 minutes on the menu just dancing in my chair to the jazzy tunes. All throughout the game there is this sensual and seductive soundtrack making sweet love to my ears, a new song starting up as you enter specific areas of the Sexy Brutale, a casino-mansion run by a man known as the Marquise. Each song a new style that sets the mood, from the pumping and jazzy Casino theme to the dark and elegant theme for Willow. The game even features a few song that are fully voiced, with such deep emotion that you'll likely find yourself being caught up in the moment.
Of course there's an actual game to this soundtrack, and as the title implies, this is a game that features heavy use of the 'Time Loop' mechanic. At the start of the game you are given a pocket watch that allows you to set your spawn within the mansion at grandfather clocks, and it allows you to reset the day; though the day will still reset even if you don't use the watch. Your mission is to seek out the various guests and prevent their untimely deaths, doing this by studying the map, learning the tricks, and completing tasks before the hour of death is upon you. Every death is unique and can sometimes be a bit of a head scratcher to solve, but with each soul you save you earn a new power.
While the 'Time Loop' mechanic is your main power, you'll earn more abilities after saving a guest. By saving Willow, my personal favorite character, you get the ability to see ghosts and interact with them. By saving Trinity you get the power of super hearing, allowing you to hear footsteps and whispered words. Not every power is as useful as the others, like Thanos' ability to learn the secrets of a room you enter, which just gives you some unlockable information in the pause menu that works up to earning you an achievement. Even then though, every power does serve a purpose to aiding your progression in stopping the murders and learning the truth behind the deaths.
Speaking of which, the story in this game is stellar. It seems pretty simple at first, with a ghost-like lady called the Bloody Woman resurrecting you at the beginning and giving you the ability to remain unseen to the other guests and servants. She tasks you with stopping the murders and solving the mystery of the Sexy Brutale, but with every new piece of information you get you begin to see that this is not a simple game of death that the Marquise is playing with his guests. At first you might think this 'something' to be a sinister entity, or maybe even the ignorant and cruel mind of someone seeking power. However the truth is actually quite simple, and a great twist comes along with the truth and even had me wide-eyed.
This is not a game I'd recommend if you are the type who needs a happy ending, as all three endings you can get are depressing, sad, or just feel wrong. Two of these endings are available upon reaching the final big moment of the game, one of them however is locked behind a door that requires you to collect all 52 playing cards strewn through the mansion. This is not an easy task, and if you miss one you're going to have to spend hours scouring every nook and cranny, this almost happened to me but I got lucky and found that the one card I was missing was in plain sight. I'd suggest just keeping note of where each card is and not picking them up, then collecting them after beating them game to obtain the secret ending.
If you're in the market for a game that will give you about 20 to 30 hours of game play, features a pretty enthralling story, and has a bumping OST, then I implore you to give The Sexy Brutale a shot. The game is available for all major platforms, and only costs a Jackson. And you know what, I'll admit it, this is one of the few games that I liked enough to commission artwork of. (I think you know what kind.)
The Sexy Brutale gets an 8.8 out of 10