Despite the slightly unsettling name, The Sexy Brutale isn’t especially sexy. Though to be fair, it can get quite brutal, albeit in a sort of cutesy, chibi way – violent murder carried out by adorable characters with oversized, cartoonish heads.
As the game begins, you wake up in the midst of a masquerade ball. The guests are being killed off one by one, and you’re tasked with saving them from their masked assassins without ever being seen.
Luckily, you’ve got an advantage: you can reset the day and work through events again. The Groundhog Day-esque setup means you can take your time exploring the mansion, discovering its secrets and slowly figuring out how to save the next guest by interfering in the natural chain of events.
To make things easier the map covers both time and space, recording every character’s movements as you discover them, so you can plan your strategy correspondingly. The result is a great system whereby you slowly amass knowledge of every character’s actions, and sneak around them to interfere – say by loading a rifle with a blank cartridge – without them ever even realising.
The characters and setting are richly realised, and bolstered by a great swing soundtrack. The story stumbles as it reaches its conclusion – its explanation for the increasingly weird and outlandish goings on doesn’t quite stand up – but The Sexy Brutale is brilliant fun along the way.