Serial Cleaner (Playstation 4 Review)
Once in a while, there will be a game that comes along that tweaks a genre just enough to make it feel new. With Serial Cleaner, developer iFun4all puts you in the bloody boots of ‘The Cleaner’, a man on the mob’s payroll. Cleaning up after the mob finishes ’negotiating’ with clients, mopping up blood, and destroying evidence is all in a day’s work in this 70s-inspired stealth game.
Living the quiet life at home with Mom obviously isn’t too exhilarating and with debt piling up, what choice do you have but to take a part time job as a cleaner for the mob? Crime very much pays. From the odd job to a row of suspicious cleaning jobs, Serial Cleaner’s story takes a turn for the dramatic. Our cleaner finds himself cleaning up after a local serial killer, until the killer feels cheated out of his glory when his ‘’artwork’ goes missing–leading him straight to our anti-hero. The story trails and daddles until the final levels, with less emphasis on narrative and more of a focus on stealth gameplay which, for me, is always a plus in small indie titles.
Serial Cleaner presents itself as, what I like to call, a clean-em up: the objective being a matter of cleaning up after murders and devious activities. Bodies litter stages left and right, criminal evidence is left lying around for the cops to find and the odd cleaning job of hoovering up blood… yeah, I don’t understand how that works either. And with all this combined, I found Serial Cleaner to be rather fun. Each level also has a few cops waiting to catch you for disposing of evidence, with cones of vision that are large enough to give you problems in the relatively small stages but long enough to give you a chance to escape their clutches if detected. And doing so is rather easy too. With bushes, dumpsters, boxes and wardrobes at every turn, there are plentiful opportunities to lose your pursuers; maybe too easilyy. Once detected, you can simply jump into cover in front of an enemy’s point of view and they can’t do anything about it–they see you go into cover, but lack the intelligence to pry you from said cover. Which makes hiding from the cops a ridiculously easy feat.
Though the gameplay does remain the same throughout Serial Cleaner–mop up blood, dump bodies and try not to get caught–the repetition doesn’t set in quickly. Instead a veil is cast over your eyes by the sheer gorgeous design of the characters and environment, slightly distracting you from the litany of tasks that each level throws at you. A mix of pale and dark pastel colours give Serial Cleaner its own unique charm and chimes well with the 70s aesthetic that it perpetuates over it’s 20 stages.. After players have swept away their problems in the main campaign they can hop into 10 optional bonus levels or ‘Contracts’. Each of these levels pertain to popular Hollywood movies like Enter the Dragon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and even Alien, but unfortunately still retains the same, by now, repetitive gameplay as the main portion of Serial Cleaner’s campaign.
Granted that you have a few spares hours in the day to get some dirty work in for the mob, Serial Cleaner is not a bad purchase. However, it is fairly simple as far as stealth games go, is hardly demanding and can be completed before it even begins. And maybe that’s a good thing, since Serial Cleaner’s gameplay staggers as you get deeper into The Cleaner’s story, not including the Bonus Contracts. So if you have the cash and the spare time give Serial Cleaner a go. You won’t regret it.