Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
- DAILY REVIEWS -
Serial Cleaner Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While it's far from a deep stealth game, there's a lot I like about Serial Cleaner. From the 1970s style to the varied locations to the cat and mouse gameplay, I was won over right from the first stage. I wish some of the mechanics were a little more involved, but I can't deny the joy of vacuuming up blood and feeding the dead bodies to the alligators. Serial Cleaner is more than a non-violent alternative to Hotline Miami, it's also a damn good action game. Rating: 78%
Serial Cleaner
«
Serial Cleaner Serial Cleaner Serial Cleaner Serial Cleaner
  • Review Score:

  • B+
In a lot of ways, Serial Cleaner is the antithesis of Hotline Miami. While Digital Devolver's fast-paced action game was all about killing people and leaving a big bloody mess, this brand new release from Curve Digital is more focused on the poor guy that has to go in and clean everything up. It's an ingenious take on the genre that trades guns and knives for a mop and vacuum. And while scrubbing puddles of blood may not sound like a great way to spend an afternoon, Serial Cleaner has turned the chore into one the year's most delightful games.

If you've seen Pulp Fiction, then you already know what a cleaner is. He's the guy who shows up to a crime scene and scrubs everything down before the police find incriminating evidence. That pretty much sums up what you're doing in Serial Cleaner. It's the 1970s and we follow a guy who lives with his mother, desperately trying to pay off a massive debt any way he can. At first he takes the clean-up gigs to earn some quick cash, but it won't take long before our hero finds himself one step behind the one of the decade's most prolific serial killers.


The jobs usually boil down to three simple tasks -- cleaning up the blood, disposing of the bodies and retrieving all of the evidence. This is made that much harder by the presence of the police, who are mulling around the crime scene looking for clues. You have no weapons and can't attack, so the cleaner is left to sneak around the stages grabbing the evidence and picking up dead bodies in broad daylight. It's a risky job where you can be caught at any time, forcing the player to start the level over from the very beginning.

What I like about Serial Cleaner is that the story allows our hero to visit a wide variety of diverse stages. You start out cleaning up the local gym and a nearby basketball court, followed by visiting the docks, touring the local newspaper and even sneaking around a discotheque. Some levels are more interactive than others, allowing you to dispose of bodies by feeding them to an alligator or throwing them into a fish tank filled with piranhas. And while these stages may be small and self-contained, they are filled with alternate paths and shortcuts to explore. It's nice to be able to tackle these messes in different ways.

The diverse locations aren't limited to the 20 story missions, as Serial Cleaner also features a number of unlockable bonus jobs based on famous movies. These include everything from the mental hospital from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to dramatic moments from both Taxi Driver and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. My favorite bonus stage is the one based on the original Alien, complete with Kane dead on the table and Ash dripping white blood. If you weren't already sold on the crime thriller story, these movie-inspired crime scenes should get the job done.

This is a game that sucked me in right from the opening cinema. I dig the 1970s style and color scheme, especially when it comes to the wide variety of levels. Although the visuals offer a minimalist approach, the locations are covered with some fun era-specific details that help to lighten the mood. For a game about disposing of dead bodies, Serial Cleaner has a great sense of humor. It walks the line between being a compelling crime thriller and not taking itself too seriously. The goofiness of the premise is on full display with the bonus levels and costumes, which really do go a long way to bring some levity.

Serial Cleaner (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

What I don't like is that the game the stops introducing new tasks after the first few stages. The game simply repeats the same three jobs, which involve picking up evidence, cleaning up blood and disposing of the bodies. You'll occasionally have to move objects and dodge security cameras, but you're always completing the same checklist. It would have been nice to see missions where you had to plant false evidence, wash a window or maybe even burn the place down. The fact that you can turn on a radio to distract the cops is cool and all, but it felt like it was only scratching the surface of what you could do with this concept.

While it's far from a deep stealth game, there's a lot I like about Serial Cleaner. From the 1970s style to the varied locations to the cat and mouse gameplay, I was won over right from the first stage. I wish some of the mechanics were a little more involved, but I can't deny the joy of vacuuming up blood and feeding the dead bodies to the alligators. Serial Cleaner is more than a non-violent alternative to Hotline Miami, it's also a damn good action game.
comments powered by Disqus