When I reviewed The Sexy Brutale on the PS4 when it was first released, I remember working my way through it with the kind of wonder that often accompanies games that truly accomplish something different. Something exciting and unique, even. Playing as the rather lavishly named Lafcadio Boone, the aim of the game is to explore the titular casino, which appears to be stuck in a loop of grizzly murders that must be solved one by one.
As Lafcadio progresses through the mixture of gaming floors, show rooms, suites and bedrooms, the murders he discovers become increasingly elaborate (and often more complex) for him to solve, often including multiple killers and at least a couple of victims. Thankfully, Lafcadio receives a magical timepiece early in the game which allows him to manipulate time in various ways, with new powers unlocked after each murder is successfully avoided.
In order to achieve what he must, Lafcadio first explores the rooms around the murder scene, listening to sounds behind closed doors and peering through keyholes. Should he ever enter a room at the same time as one of the various characters that act out the scene, the screen turns a deathly red and he must immediately retreat to safety. He therefore plays no direct role in the intervention of each murder, except to change the environmental parameters around it.
The first murder, for example, acts a tutorial and features the cold-blooded execution of a man in a chapel when he is shot in the chest by the butler. On this occasion, Boone must learn the routes that the murderer and the victim take and in the process of doing so, change a live round for a blank one without the murderer finding out. Upon completing this mission, he earns the ability to rewind time, which means that during the next mission he has the opportunity to learn where everyone moves and when, which fills out a handy little living map as he goes.
Essentially a series of puzzles built around timing and deduction, The Sexy Brutale remains as interesting a core concept on Switch as it ever was on other consoles or on the PC, if not more so. Playing on the small, clear screen enhances the already excellent visuals which have a particular rich charm all of their own. The sound is fantastic through headphones too, which means that the combined experience has the power to be quite engrossing when on the move.
Unfortunately there were a few major, gamebreaking problems at launch, which is one of the reasons why this review is several weeks late. During prolonged periods of gameplay in certain sections, the game simply froze to a halt and ceased to function, completely ruining the experience during those moments. There have been at least two patches since then, improving things dramatically to the extent that I am now comfortable in saying that The Sexy Brutale is worth a purchase.
On that note, whilst I’ve played it on two consoles and the PC now, I can’t help but think that the Switch version is the one you might as well go for. After all, now that it’s fixed and in good condition, the Switch version offers exactly the same experience on the big TV, but of course that’s only half the story. The Sexy Butale is the perfect mobile experience. It looks and sounds good, it offers deep yet bite sized gameplay and now, finally, it runs really well. That said, I’m taking a point off, because frankly it should never have been released in the state it started out in.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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