Backlog Attack- January Challenge Update.

Hi guys! I know its been a little while since I posted on this site but if you read Khinjarsi’s post about this video game challenge she created, you’ll know you’ll be hearing a lot more from in 2019… you’ll at least get twelve posts from me! So without further ado, let’s take a look at how I’ve been doing with the backlog challenge in January.

Out of the three games that Khinjarsi picked for me for the first three months of 2019, I decided to go with The Sexy Brutale for January. I loved the whole concept of resetting time as a game mechanic and looked pretty quirky. Plus, its actually a game that’s been sitting in my library for a long time, waiting for me to play it.


Image source: The Sexy Brutale’s Steam store page.

Stats:

Play time: 12 hours.
Achievements: I earned 14 out of the 18 possible achievements.
Steam Trading Cards: Yes.
Enjoyed: It was OK, but not a game I would play again.
Would recommend?: Only if the game was on sale.

The concept of The Sexy Brutale is an intriguing and unique one. You play as Boone, a masked man tasked with saving the guests of the casino hotel, The Sexy Brutale. In order to do this, you must use your pocket watch, amongst other abilities you later unlock, to turn back time and alter events through the day. Think it like Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day.


Image source: The Sexy Brutale’s Steam store page.

My early impressions of the game were really positive and I was enjoying the game. Being able to follow around the guests, watch their unfortunate demise and then try to work out to save them was fun. It helped that each character was quirky and the murderous casino staff were amusing. The first couple of guests were easy to save and it didn’t take that many resets to work out what you needed to do. After you saved each guest, you were given their mask, which in turn gave you a new ability to you use. And that was where I reached my first negative point.


Image source: The Sexy Brutale’s Steam store page.

Now, the masks are a fantastic idea and each guests’ ability is unique and linked to their personalty, for example, there is one guest who is a singer and her mask’s ability can let you shatter glass. My problem comes from the order in which you receive these abilities.You receive the more interesting ones early in the game, whilst the more mundane, albeit useful, ones much later. You would think the ability to unlock doors and chests would be one you would receive in the first half of the game but its actually the fifth ability!


Image source: The Sexy Brutale’s Steam store page.

As I played more of the game, I realised how restrictive and linear it actually was. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can only acquire masks in a certain order, which means you can only save guests in a certain order. This feels like a missed opportunity to increase the games replayabilty and allow the player to feel like their actions are their own and not simply the game forcing them down a particular path. This is further highlighted when you realise there is only really one true way to save each guest, which is a shame and only increases the feeling of repetition as you play.

There is a story in the game but the pacing of the plot is all over the place. The Sexy Brutale teases you with hints of what is going on for the best part of half of the game and its only in the second half, that it seems to realise its needs to tell its player what on earth is going on. I dislike any story that creates a mystery and then dumps exposition the audience in the last twenty minutes, which is exactly what The Sexy Brutale did. What makes it even more disappointing, is that last revelation is an overused trope that cheapens the whole story.


Image source: The Sexy Brutale’s Steam store page.

What started out as a unique and intriguing concept, turned into a linear experience with very little pay off at the end. It sounds like I’m really tearing into The Sexy Brutale, but actually, I’m just feeling rather disappointed. Its quirky art style, creative setting and unique time manipulation mechanic, offered an opportunity for an incredible game. I really want to recommend people play this game, but with only just over ten hours of gameplay, no real replayability and just a few too many frustrating moments, I can’t recommend this game at full price. If this was on sale and you love puzzle games, then it may be worth a look.

Well, that was my January game and it a shame it wasn’t a more positive start. Still, February is just around the corner, which means its almost time for my next game, Maize. Join me at the end of February, when I’ll be sharing my thoughts on it. See you then!

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