Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: The Sexy Brutale

What I want when I game

I’m in between games right now. I haven’t played Sekiro in several days, and I haven’t really had the wherewithal to pick up something else. I’ve been dealing with a cold/sinus issues, and it’s really wiped me out. I end up playing solitaire because that’s about what my mind can deal with right now. It’s also what happens after I play a FromSoft game. I get so drained by it, I have no desire to try anything else. I will say, I’m watching footage of the closed alpha for Nioh 2, and it looks really dope. I bailed on the original game halfway through even though I thought it was a good game for two reasons. One, I hated that if you left a level, you had to start it over the next time you went back. My MO if I’m getting my ass kicked by a boss is to go farm up shit (like Elixirs, the healing drinks, which is another issue in itself. I hate farming for healing items or buying them). The easiest way to do that is to go back to an earlier area in order not to have to use heals to get through it. If I did that, though, then I’d have to do the whole level up to the boss I was currently fighting again. Doing that for the last boss I fought was not something I wanted to do at all. I ended up farming on that level using Onmyo Magic for free heals (hey, it’s been ages since I’ve played. That’s the best I can remember) and tapping out when I actually had to use a heal. It wasn’t optimal, but it did work. I resented not being able to choose to go back to an earlier level, though. I really, really, really hope they make that change for Nioh 2. I did notice that they simplified some of the names of the level ups. Onmyo to Magic, for instance. I don’t have an issue with this because while I’m a big fan of obscurity, I’m also a big fan of not wasting souls. Or amrita, as I think it’s called in Nioh. But! There is a rolling cat ball in the Nioh 2 closed alpha demo, so I’m in!

There are two games I have my eye on that are actually in my pile of shame. One is Return of the Obra Dinn by Lucas Pope. I have talked about this game before and I’ll talk more about it later because I will be mentioning Papers, Please, the seminal game by Pope. It’s one of my favorite games of all time, which is why I’ll talk about it later. The second game is Unavowed, which is an adventure mystery demon game. It sounds right up my alley, and I am desperately looking for an adventure mystery game I can sink my teeth into. I’ve tried several, and this is made by the highly-respected Wadjet Eye Games. They are revered in the genre, which is part of the problem. I hated the Blackwell series they did, and it’s one of the gold standards of the genre. I had to use a walkthrough to get past the first chapter of whichever game I tried. I think I tried two–I have almost all of them because hope springs eternal and they were cheap and I’m an idiot. My biggest gripe about adventure games is that their logic is not logical. They have certain events you need to do in a certain order, and it’s not intuitive at all. I mean, it probably seemed that way as they were dreaming them up, but in retrospect, they aren’t at all. Maybe if I’ve played a million of them, the logic will be immediately apparent, but it wasn’t as I was playing them. I resorted to using the walkthrough for the rest of the Blackwell game I played. I’m hoping against hope that they’ve upped their game concerning logic, but given how much people swoon over their games, I fear they consider it a feature and not a bug.


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Applying Taiji to My Mental Health–and Finishing The Sexy Brutale

One of the hardest things about being sick is how depressed I get over it. It didn’t used to be this way. Or rather, I used to be depressed all the time, so getting sick didn’t really add to that depression. Also, I mistreated my body so badly, I really couldn’t expect it to be kind to me. I was a hot mess in general, so having bronchitis for months at a time (not an exaggeration) wasn’t that noticeable of an added detriment. However, two things have changed that. One, I hadn’t been sick in years. For about five years (during the middle of my taiji studies), I was blissfully cold and flu and bronchitis-free. Then, I got a cold or flu one winter, and it was hellish. This was three or four years ago, and it’s happened every year since. I get sick (undefined. The one year I went to the doctor, twice, she wasn’t able to pinpoint anything. In fact, I got even sicker after visiting her. Rightly or wrongly, I blame going to the clinic for getting even sicker. It was really awful), and it lasts for weeks. Even worse, I get better, go back to my normal life, and then I get sick again. That’s what happened this time, and it’s discouraging. I didn’t think I overdid it this time when I got well again, but I could be wrong.

I’m coughing a lot. I get this coagulation in my throat, and then I have to hork to try to get it out. It immediately settles back in again, and it’s infuriating. It’s better today as the ball of snot (that’s how I think of it) lodged in the back of my throat is smaller, but it’s still there no matter how much I hork. I have mentioned a time or a hundred that I am a huge control freak, and not being able to will away my sickness pisses me off. It’s not rational nor reasonable, but I still get irritated when I can’t hork out the snot ball for good. I get pissed that I tire so easily and that going to the store drains me completely. I wake up, and the only thing I want to do is go back to bed.

I know that being mad at my body isn’t helping. It’s not going to mend faster simply because I internally yell at it. It’s frustrating because in other areas of my life, I’ve been able to relax and not get so uptight about what’s happening. The example I pull out every time is when I got in my car crash. The second I realized that I couldn’t prevent it, I relaxed and suffered no more than a massive bruise on my abdomen from the seat belt and the airbag. The key was to realize that there was nothing I could do to prevent it, relaxing, and accepting that the crash was going to happen.

I wish I could do the same with being sick. Do the things I know that will help me get better, then just ride it out. Getting mad doesn’t help. Berating my body doesn’t help. You know what does help? The Sexy Brutale. OK, not really, but I finished it recently, and I needed a graceful segue into talking about it. Spoiler warning: I’m going to try my best not to spoil anything about the ending, but I can’t talk about it without a few minor spoilers. In addition, I want to include pictures from the end game, and if you’re going to play the game, you best just skip this all. Everything about the game is below the cut.


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The Sexy Brutale: An Underrated Gem

sexy sexy brutale!
All the world is a stage.

I’m a mystery aficionado, and I have been since I gobbled up Encyclopedia Brown’s adventures as a kid. I graduated to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, preferring the latter to the former because Trixie was a hotheaded teenager who oftentimes acted before she thought, which I could sympathize with. Nancy Drew wasn’t a real girl, but I do love Kate Beaton’s concept of Nancy Drew as a crazy woman who is making up all the mysteries in her mind (h/t Ian). I strayed into dreadful teenage romance novels (oh were they horrid), but I never gave up my true love–mysteries. I read every HerculePoirot story by Agatha Christie when I was a teen, each at least four or five times, and some up to fifty. My favorites are The Big Four and Curtain, by the way. I’ve seen all the David Suchet series, too, and he IS Hercule Poirot. I’ll have to see the Kenneth Branagh version of Murder on the Orient Express, of course, but it’s going to suck. He sucks as Poirot, and the trailer is devoid of everything that makes a Poirot story work. However, to be fair, all three previous versions of this movie are terrible (including David Suchet’s. His Catholic rant at the end destroys any credibility the movie might have). I think this is a Poirot story best left as a novel and not a movie.

When I started playing games, I wanted to find a mystery game that grabbed me the way a novel did. I played all the Poirot games. Atrocious. I played several Sherlock Holmes games. Disappointing. Lately, I played Kathy Rain, and while it started out strong, in the third act, it came crashing down around my ears. I will say even before then, I was done with adventure game logic. I like solving puzzles, but not when it’s ‘combine a twig, three pieces of twine, and a stone to make a key’. An axe, maybe, but a key? Or having to backtrack through several areas just to pick up that piece of lint you couldn’t pick up before, but knew you’d need. I tried the Blackwell series, and ten minutes in, I was following a walkthrough compulsively.

I admit it. I gave up on finding a mystery game that I actually enjoyed playing. It didn’t seem possible! The things that work in a novel just didn’t seem possible to recreate in gameplay. Then, I saw a review by Jim fucking Sterling, son. of The Sexy Brutale, and I was immediately intrigued. Now, as Jim Sterling notes, it’s difficult to talk about the game without ruining the brilliance of the conceit, so let me say if you’re looking for a good detective/murder game in which you have to prevent murders from happening, then this is the game for you. I bought it for $9.99 on Steam during the last of the endless Steam sales, and it’s normal price is $19.99. I’m not the best to ask about pricing because I usually wait for games to go on steep sale before buying them. I’d say The Sexy Brutale, developed by Cavalier Game Studios and Tequila Works,┬áis worth $19.99, but it is a short game, and the replayability is very low. It’s definitely worth the $9.99 I paid for it. I might play again just to smooth out the rough edges, but probably not. If that’s enough to hook you at all, I’d suggest you stop reading and pick up the game. The rest of the review is behind the cut (after the Jim Sterling review).


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