The cleaning job you never knew you wanted.
Serial Cleaner casts you in the role of a cleaner but rather than the traditional mop and bucket job you’re thinking of, your job is to clean up dead bodies from a crime scene. The game plays out as a stealth-lite game – you avoid detection from the police patrolling the scene and have to grab evidence and dispose of bodies. All the staples are here, vision cones, noisy distractions and hiding spots. So whilst the concept is very tried and tested it’s the smooth, stylish story and art direction that really makes this game shine.
The gameplay keeps it nice and simple and takes its time when introducing any new concepts. The main crux of the game is maneuvering around enemies and grabbing bodies and getting out, and starts you off with having to simply remember patrol routes. Soon though you have to alter the environment to create new paths and alter routes – slowly and surely the game successfully layers ideas to create complex labyrinths for players to progress through. To help keep things interesting the game places all the evidence and bodies at random locations in the level. Any time you’re caught or replay a level, everything changes places. This helps prevent there from being one set solution to a level and definitely forces players to think on their feet. The only stumble here is that the game is relatively unforgiving, getting captured forces you to restart the level. Later levels can require a lot of investment in meeting all the level clear requirements and having all these undone and being forced to start over can be frustrating.
Serial Cleaner has plenty to offer. Whilst the story is relatively brief and could be cleared in a single afternoon, there are several bonus levels as well as challenges to replay in all the story levels. These can be as straightforward as not being spotted to the more amusing playing a level drunk – which has your visuals warped as you try to navigate the level. Speaking of the story, Serial Cleaner somehow manages to tell a pretty intriguing tale. In between levels you’ll return home where you can listen to the radio, watch TV or even talk to your mom. All of these interactions, however small, add to the world building and slowly you find yourself invested and eager to learn more about the people you’re cleaning up after and who your mom has invited over to play bridge. To top it all off is the sleek 70’s inspired art style and a killer soundtrack. The game oozes style throughout and with all the varied locales in the game it does a good job of making each area feel unique and fun to look around.
Overall Serial Cleaner is a game that’s easy to recommend, it may lack grand innovation and can even frustrate at times but the core gameplay is fun and there’s plenty of content to get stuck into here that the few flaws present can be forgiven. Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got some blood stains to get out of my carpet.