2018 is here at long last, and what could be a better way to start off the year than by clearing evidence from murder scenes? Well, anything else is the obvious answer, but that’s besides the point. Serial Cleaner is a game by the people that brought us Red Game and Green Game on Nintendo Switch. Instead of piloting a bird through labyrinths, however, you are a guy getting his hands dirty in this M-rated indie.
The plot revolves around an everyman who lives an average homely life with his mom. That is, if you look past the fact his job involves getting rid of evidence from gruesome crime scenes. He’s a freelancer that, for whatever reason, has no problem assisting murderers as their glorified janitor. There are further details, but to notice them you’d probably have to squint your eyes because the dialogue boxes and texts are so freakishly small.
Serial Cleaner‘s visual style is an aesthetically pleasing homage to the ’70s. Although dashes of blood are present, there are lots of stylistic locales that use only several main colors at most. It gives the game a distinct hand-drawn feel, and the smooth-as-heck sixty frames-per-second framerate is always a plus.
Despite the seemingly dark overtones of the game, Serial Cleaner contains a score that often downplays the situations the protagonist faces. They reflect the theme of the environment more than the actual scene at hand. It’s pretty chill stuff for a game where you have to avoid cops and put away dead bodies.
So how does this series of murder clean-ups play out? Well, I like to think of it as a mish-mash of Pac-Man and Metal Gear. There are a few dead bodies scattered around the level, as well as a random item or two. What you have to do is collect everything and put them away in your car or wherever you are able to dump them. You’ll also have to vacuum up an amount of blood. Cops are around to make this a difficult task so stay out of sight or else a cop will club you.
It’s a simple, arcade-like structure that’s easy to pick up and play once you delve into it. The mechanics can be learned quickly, but getting around the levels can be a challenge. As enjoyable as it could get, however, it unfortunately faces some problems that hamper the fun factor. Cops are super-hard to avoid when you’re spotted, and if you get clubbed, you have to restart the level all over again. Not helping this is that for some reason, the bodies’/items’ positions are randomized every time the level refreshes. While the map does help for planning your way through, it doesn’t change that slip-ups which lead to frustrating trial-and-error.
Still, I’ve had enough fun to say that Serial Cleaner gets a thumbs up from me. It’s an enjoyable stealth title that, while rough around the edges, has plenty going for it. To watch/read our Xbox One review by Demetrius Brown follow this link.