Tequila Works The Sexy Brutale is a damn masterpiece of a point-and-click adventure.
What do you think of when you think of the words, “point-and-click adventure”? Do you think of Ron Gilbert’s Escape From Monkey Island? Do you think further back about ol’ Roberta Williams and King’s Quest? Or maybe more “new age” with the revitalization of the term through Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead (which was then subsequently followed by every single popular brand under the sun)?
When I hear point-and-click adventure, I can already feel myself falling asleep. Oh, good, it’s a bunch of static images where I’m going to use my mouse to desperately “pixel hunt” over the screen to find the specific widget I need in order to feed a tomato to this lizard, who will then give me a coat which I need to have on in order to….zzzzz…
And then I saw the trailer back in January for The Sexy Brutale, and I sat up in my chair a little straighter. Cue the trailer!
If that doesn’t get you mildly interested, then you probably need to have a doctor check your pulse, because what is wrong with you? Seriously.
So The Sexy Brutale is not just the name of the game, but it is also the name of the quirky little casino/mansion where a group of friends and guests have been invited to hang out, gamble, have fun…oh, and be systematically murdered off one by one by the staff. You play the role of the strangely-named preacher Lafcadio Boone, and using the Groundhog Day powers of time reversal, continue to relive the fated 12 hour period where all ten guests are killed and attempt to stop their deaths from happening. There’s a lot of murderin’ during that block of time, so Boone (or Laffy, as he’s affectionately referred to as) is busy running all over the mansion trying to influence events as best he can. As a child of the 80s, the movie Clue seemed an apt metaphor here to draw when talking about The Sexy Brutale.
The downside to Boone’s power of time travel is that if anyone in the present actually sees Boone in the same room as they are, The Sexy Brutale (the casino/mansion) would apparently detonate in a strange time paradox. So, the game comes up with all kinds of clever ways for you to eavesdrop, look through keyholes, and watch surveillance cameras without actually coming into contact with any of the guests. There are ten guests and eight staff moving around the mansion at any given time, so you have to do a lot of dodging around and hiding in places as guests are moving around their pre-ordained paths to their doom. Now pair that with the fact that the clock is actually SPRINTING towards midnight (seems like an hour of in-game time actually takes 30-45 seconds) and that you can see on a comically-sized pocket watch in the lower right-hand side of the screen when the current guest is scheduled to die, then add a soundtrack that is getting louder and more aggressive as it gets closer to the moment of the guest’s death…and you’ve got one exciting point-and-click action game on your hands.
And that soundtrack is wicked good as well. Every time I had any excuse to go to the casino proper and I heard that thumping bass riff (it’s the song in the trailer), I just smiled. But the rest of the soundtrack for the game is equally good as well. I’m not usually someone to take note of a game’s soundtrack, but seeing how it is incorporated into the gameplay of The Sexy Brutale is to be commended.
The game is not without its flubs. I’m not sure how a point-and-click game like The Sexy Brutale can be this laggy on a PC purring with an nVidia 1070 card and 16 GB of RAM, but every time Boone would get to a door, and I would click to open it, almost every time, there was a little hitch happening. Very strange.
Another nice thing for me was that the game can be blasted through in a dedicated night of gaming, should you so decide to do so. In a world of 100+ hour open-world games getting dumped onto the market, a tidy, narrative-driven puzzle adventure game is a breath of fresh air. There are some ways to extend your adventure after you complete The Sexy Brutale, including going back for collectibles among…other things. I only truly got stuck in one point in the game towards the end, so tantalizingly close to the final rescue, but my overall play time ended up being around six hours…but it was a tightly packed six hours, and when the game finally revealed its devious plot to me in the final minutes of the game, I wanted to stand up out of my chair and applaud.
Well played, The Sexy Brutale, well played.