Game Review: The Sexy Brutale by Tequila Works & Cavalier Game Studios

 
 

The Sexy Brutale is a unique, fun, detail-filled murder mystery game. Eccentric guests at the mansion of an equally eccentric host are being murdered in gruesome ways, but the day keeps resetting at midnight, and it’s up to you to spy, eavesdrop, and discover things around the mansion in order to stop them from dying.


The Sexy Brutale - Promo image showing chibi-like art of a bunch of partiers in fancy clothes and ornate masks

Official Description:

All the guests are being murdered — horribly! — at this extravagant masquerade party set all across the sprawling and bizarre Sexy Brutale casino mansion.

Then at midnight, the clock re-winds and the grisly pantomime all plays out again in exactly the same way.

You awake on the floor of one of the rooms wearing a mask with a bloody handprint across it. It protects you from the worst of the evil that lays across the mansion, but you can only watch, and spy, and try to learn each guest’s secrets so you can save them from their bloody fate.

More Info:

You can get more info and download the game here on Steam or here on the official website!

Long Review:

This is such a cool game! With immaculate eccentric millionaire mansion vibes. Once I started playing, I didn’t want to stop. And when I had to stop, I wanted to get back to it asap.

I couldn’t understand what the gameplay would be like from the description, so I’ll try to explain in my own words. The game is separated into what I’m going to call levels. In each level, there’s a character who gets murdered, and you need to save them. You save them by exploring the mansion you’re in, finding rooms, eavesdropping, spying through doors, and interacting with items until you figure out how they were murdered and how to stop it from happening. It’s ok that they were already murdered because, at midnight, the clock resets, and you start over at noon. So you can use as many days as you need to explore and figure everything out. It gets a little more complicated as you go through the game because you get different abilities, but that’s the gist.

Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing the player character peeking through a keyhole in a door to look at a beautiful masked woman on a stage in front of a large stained glass window

So it’s essentially a puzzle game! With really unique, fun, organic mystery-solving. You’re taught the game mechanics, then it’s up to you to figure things out each time a new level starts. Even the way you often don’t hear full conversations but rather start your eavesdropping while two people are mid-conversation makes it feel more organic and real. Things are just happening the whole time, and you are just wandering around, choosing where to go and when to spy.

There’s nothing super fast-paced or stressful. There are a few times when you have to quickly get from point A to point B, but take it from someone who does not like fast-paced games, it’s not hard, as long as you can use a keyboard+mouse or controller without issue. And the screen/sound turns a bit scary to encourage you to leave if you end up in a room with someone (you’re not supposed to), but nothing actually happens except the day resetting if you stay for too long.

Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing brochure entry for the butterfly house, text reads: The Marquis held a particular fascination with exotic, colourful - and above all - venomous creatures. He created this tropical room to house some of his most beautiful and dangerous specimens. In addition to using their toxins to flavour and spice the drinks he served at the mansion - a practice which thrilled and delighted as many quests as it horrified - he enjoyed nothing more than walking through this room, knowing that a careless step or misplaced touch could end his life. He kept the room safe under lock and key; but there were whispered rumours among the staff of a horrific creature, growing unchecked in the sweltering darkness...
(Hover over image to show plain text)

The game also just has a fantastic vibe. There’s a creepy mansion with secret rooms and gaudy decor and grotesque art and a bar that serves drinks with literal poison and stained glass windows and a casino and a theatre and a gorgeous library and occult items and trap doors and so many more weird things I’ll let you discover on your own. There are eccentric guests, all brilliant in their own way, wandering around in fancy clothes and ornate masks. There are ghosts and demons and a giant spider. And, of course, there are horrifying, gruesome murders—truly the kind of murders that live up to the expectations you have when you hear “creepy mansion murder mystery.”

There’s so much detail and lore too. It’s really worth using your powers later in the game to unlock all the info in the “brochure.” The characters and all the different rooms and things in the mansion—so fascinating and creative. It’s all so wild and weird.

There are also just some little fun things to discover, like a robot that explains the name of the game, and this horny ghost haunting the library:

Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing a ghost saying, 'Where is all the smut, sir?'Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing a ghost saying, 'Where are all the art books with the bosoms and the gentleman statues?'

There’s great music that changes to perfectly suit whatever section of the mansion you’re in, from fun and jazzy, to calm and relaxing, to spooky and ominous.

I don’t know how to describe the art style, you can see it yourself in images/videos, but I loved the amount of attention and care that went into every single room in this massive maze of a mansion. It was so much fun every time I discovered a new room.

Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing a pretty room with plants, paintings, and a statue, and sunlight streaming in through many large windows

And in the end, there is a story, an explanation for the time loop and the powers you have and everything. I’m not explaining anything, but in case you want to know sort of the tone, *SPOILER* it gets SO DARK, HOLY CRAP. But the secret ending lightens it up a bit. *END SPOILER*

The game included a bit of diversity among the characters. One was blind. One was in a wheelchair. A few were Black. One was a man in love with another man. I mean, they’re all being murdered, but, you know, equal murder for everyone! And again, they’re all fascinating and brilliant in some way or another.

My only complaint is the controls. It would’ve been easier on my tennis elbow to be able to change the controls, to have the option to use keys to walk around, or to be able to click once where I wanted to walk to, rather than having to press and hold the right click button constantly.

Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing brochure entry for Redd Rockridge, text reads: The Gentle Goliath. Though his brother, Clay, was the prizefighter in the family, it was never in dispute that Redd was simply in a different league when it came to sheer physical power. But Redd never had any interest in conflict. His skilful musician's hands and imposing stature made helped make him an extraordinary (and popular) head croupier at the Sexy Brutale. At the party this year, he is accompanying Greyson Grayson on his search For one of the Marquis' treasures. Redd might not approve of the plan, but he would follow Greyson to the ends of this world and the next.
(Hover over image to show plain text)

Some words of advice before you start! 1) Keep track of which cards you’re finding. The game tells you in the moment, but there’s no way to see later. If you keep track, near the end, you can look up a guide and see exactly where to find any cards you’re missing. 2) The map is your friend. However, the direction in which you view the rooms is not always the same way it is on the map. I found it best to navigate relative to the character. E.g. “Go through the door straight across the room from where he enters, then the door to his left, then the second door to his right.”

It took me 12 hours to finish with all the collectibles and both endings. You may finish in more or less time, depending on how long it takes you to solve the puzzles. (And the good news is, in order to see the secret ending, you just finish the game, then load the save and do the other ending without having to replay the whole thing. I imagine you can also find any collectibles you haven’t yet, in order to get the secret ending, but I’m not 100% certain. Just make sure you have all but two cards and all but one invitation before going back to the chapel near the end, and you won’t have to worry.)

Overall, this was a fun and unique puzzle game with so much interesting lore and detail and immaculate “murder mystery in the creepy mansion of an eccentric millionaire full of equally eccentric guests” vibes, and I really enjoyed playing it!

Source/Cost: I played this on Utomik with a monthly subscription.

Screenshot from The Sexy Brutale showing a room with a door and around the door are huge, ornate carvings of masks and playing card symbols and a very large, lit up sign with the words 'Welcome to the Sexy Brutale'

Short Review:

– Super unique and organic puzzle solving
– Immaculate murder mystery in a creepy mansion vibes
– Fascinating characters, lore, and backstory
– Lovely detail in the art and design of the mansion
– Great music
– Story that explains everything in the end
– Overall a fun and memorable game!

Accessibility:

(May not include everything)
– Not accessible for blind / visually impaired players.
– Requires use of both mouse and keyboard, or controller.

 
 
 
 

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4 thoughts on “Game Review: The Sexy Brutale by Tequila Works & Cavalier Game Studios

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  1. Greg

    I feel like we need more murder mystery games. And although I’m not always a fan of puzzle games, this sounds really fun. The part about only overhearing parts of conversations is neat. Secret rooms libraries… I want to explore that! The first spoilr cracked me up too.

  2. Jessica

    This game sounds like a movie I watched called No Escape Room. It’s made by SyFy network, but it’s on Netflix. You should watch it. It does have a cliffhanger ending though. I had read that SyFy may do a sequel when they talked about the origin of the house.