Murder scenes can be a real problem for criminals that don’t want to be caught, what with the whole fingerprint and forensics and stuff. So, to not get caught, they call in a cleaner. Think of “The Wolf” character in Pulp Fiction. This is where you come in. Criminals create a “problem” and need it taken care of, you need to get in, remove the evidence and bodies, and get out. You are the Serial Cleaner. The premise is simple, the execution is not. Hide in various pieces of the environment to avoid the gaze of the cops as you work to satisfy your murderous client.

Easy to Grasp

Overall, Serial Cleaner is a relatively simple game. Limited need for controls, no combos needed, no skill, just a nice clean easy game. While this is the case, don’t think for a minute that the game itself is easy. Even the very first level took a few attempts to get through as I learned the controls and got familiar with the game. There are four main commands in the game: pick up/drop bodies, clean blood, pick up evidence, and move. Each of the simple movements is tied to specific buttons, and that’s all you need. In a way, it’s kind of refreshing to encounter an easygoing game that doesn’t get you all worked up and button-mashing.

Often times part of the reason for single player games is to learn the story of the game. With Serial Cleaner, however, this isn’t so much the case. There isn’t much of a story, and the game can still be fully enjoyed if it’s ignored. At the core, it’s all about going into the crime scene and the challenge of not getting caught by the cops. The skill comes in remaining stealthy and learning patterns of patrol and efficiency of getting blood cleaned up and bodies moved. Keep in mind though, the lack of story doesn’t mean that it’s a bad game in the least.

Stylistic Environment

Set in the ’70’s, Serial Cleaner has some very stylized graphics. The developers stated that they specifically set the game during this timeframe due to several reasons, and one was in regards to the style. The world is a flat 2D environment, but you can still tell it’s clearly set in the 70’s. Some of these scenes that must be cleaned are based on actual murders and serial killers, some based on movies, and some created from the brains of the developers.

In addition to the look, each mission has it’s own 70’s themed music as well, and it’s pretty great. I found myself jamming to the beat just as much as attempting to navigate the map. Eventually, the songs do get a bit repetitive, as it just plays on loop for the duration of the level. But, it just means that there’s even more, motivation to finish the level and move on to the next one.

Finally, the character design is right there on the same theme, as your main character sports a ravishing mustache that would make Burt Reynolds blush.

Tricky Gameplay

It’s not all fun and games, there is real work to be done! The initial challenge in Serial Cleaner comes from attempting to navigate the map without entering the Police Officer’s line of sight. Wait for them to move, or at least look away, then swoop in and snatch the bodies to clean them up. To clean up the blood, you’ll have to use your vacuum to suck it up, but don’t do it too close or the sound will attract more cops. If you do, you have to very quickly navigate to a hiding spot and wait for them to lose interest. This can cause some very interesting situations where you’re racing against the cop’s patrols to get a little bit of the floor cleaned, then running back to hiding. There are different types of cops with different types of roles, but also different spots to drop bodies and different ways to distract them. It’s a high-intensity game of cat and mouse, sure to keep you on edge as you duck and dive around the maps.

Challenge Mode

If the base story wasn’t enough, Serial Cleaner has an additional mode which adds a few challenges to the mix. If you want to experience cleaning without the aid of being able to see the enemy’s vision cone, or while drunk, there are modes for you! They add some very unique and highly difficult pieces that will greatly elongate your play time. The base game is roughly 5 – 7 hours long the first time, but each time the game can be replayed a few different ways. Each challenge mode took about 45 minutes to an hour to fully get used to and execute. There should be quite a bit of content to be played, and shouldn’t leave you disappointed.

All Clean

In the end, if you’re into a quick drop-in-and-go game, Serial Cleaner is going to be your game. It’s got just enough challenge to make it difficult, but not to make you rage. Plus, if the base game isn’t difficult enough, the Challenge Mode is sure to add that extra little bit of difficulty. It’s also going to be a good game to play for a few hours and put down, but allow you to come back exactly where you started. It’s not going to be the game to drive your engagement and pull you into the life of the character, but it’s a fun little game that should be fun to pick up and go.

Serial Cleaner Review
The Good
  • Right amount of Challenge
  • Fun Soundtrack
  • Quick Pick Up
The Bad
  • Limited Story
  • Reliant on Modes for Replay
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
9.5

About The Author

Bobby C
Director, Editorial/Reviews

Bobby C is a veteran FPS and adventure gamer, starting with the NES and Super Mario Bros. The game that really started his love for the FPS Genre was Goldeneye for the N64. Since then, the love grew. From casual, to semi-pro COD with Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and back to casual, it’s a bad week when there isn’t at least 15 hours of games played.