Your main goal in Serial Cleaner is to complete each story contract. The concept is easy enough to pick up and the control scheme even easier. Each level has a certain amount of bodies to dispose of, incriminating evidence to pick up, and a specified percentage of blood to clean up. When you pick a body, you have to take them back to your station wagon and place them in the back. Blood can be cleaned up by pulling out your vacuum and walking over it until the floor is clean. Evidence items simply have to be picked up, no fuss no muss. Once you complete all the required objectives, you have to get back to your trusty station wagon to make your escape. There is one small issue, however: the police are always on the scene and if they catch you, you have to start over from the beginning of the contract.
Get caught too many times and the game will randomize the level. This means moving the hiding spots around, bodies, blood, and evidence. Luckily you have a special ability called “cleaner sense” that when used, gives you a bird’s eye view of the crime scene while marking out all the hiding spots, objectives, patrols, and other useful things that you can interact with. There is no penalty for using it nor is there and special requirements to use it. Be warned though, using cleaner sense doesn’t pause the game. Enemies still roam around so make sure you use it in a safe place or you’ll get busted while you’re checking out the area. Later levels will have plenty of useful things to interact with. You’ll be able to move certain objects and press buttons to open up or block off certain areas to create shortcuts, and sometimes block off patrols so you can get to a tricky piece of evidence. There are also shortcuts that can take you to another part of the crime scene quickly, and stationary items that can be activated in order to make a lot of sound to draw the guards in and distract them for a short amount of time.
When it comes to Serial Cleaner’s sound and odd graphical style, the influence the 1970’s has had on it shines through. And I’m not just talking about the main characters oversized sunglasses and epic mustache. The instrumentals are full of funky guitars and the occasional saxophone, and they sound just like something that you might hear in a show or movie of that time period. The art direction has a minimalist feel to it, and it may sound weird to hear me explain it like this but it is very angular looking. The artwork is made up of a lot of sharp angles and straight lines. I’m no art buff, so I’m not exactly sure what the style is called, but it is definitely unique and cool to look at.
If you enjoy games with a weird concept and a dash of morbid humor, then Serial Cleaner is definitely worth a look. Serial Cleaner’s soundtrack and style of graphics are a blast, and its stealth gameplay is easy to pick up, yet challenging enough at the higher levels. Thanks to the challenge modes and unlockables, there is enough gameplay to keep you dumping bodies for hours. I also found that Serial Cleaner is a good title to pick up and play whenever you have only a little bit of game-time. So if cleaning up after other people’s messes sounds good to you, give Serial Cleaner a whirl.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.
+ Cool art style
+Simple yet challenging gameplay
+A decent amount of replayability
-Can get frustrating getting caught over and over in the later levels