Serial Cleaner has the same concept as games such as Party Hard and Hotline Miami where you have to clear an area of targets without getting caught. In Serial Cleaner you assist in the cleaning of murder scenes in the 70’s with the targets being anything that can link the killer to the crime. This will include the collecting of evidence, the dumping of bodies and even the cleaning of blood. All the time whilst you are doing this you must avoid the guards who are patrolling the scene. Nothing is ever straight forward.
Avoid The AI
Each scene brings a new level of challenge due to the set up. Everything you load a level (or restart one at that), the items you need to clean up are always in a different position. Meaning you can never fully plan your actions before beginning. When a scene loads you must spend a few moments in hiding to assess the situation and plan your attack. If you get caught the level resets and you are back to square one again. It is a game that always has you thinking on your toes. The only thing in the game that is consistent are the guards. They always walk a set path and have a fixed cone of vision. Get caught in that vision and a chase is on the cards. It does not always mean it is game over because you can quickly hide out of sight in a house or garbage bin (for example) but I found that the guards are slightly quicker than the cleaner. Sometimes it is best just to give in and start again. Sight is not the only sense that the guards use as they can hear everything. Just as they have a one of sight, you have a zone of sound. As you move around you give off very little noise but as soon as you start running, carry a body or clean up blood your cone increases and brings guards over to investigate. You better either run or hide before you get caught.
There is only one style of play in Serial Cleaner but there are different modes at your choosing. If you manage to find the hidden film reels in each scene you will unlock special movie themed levels inspired by classic films such as Alien and Star Wars. If you find the Base a breeze you can head into the challenge mode which adds twists to an already challenging game (in my opinion).
A Clean Getaway?
I am not a huge fan of trial and error gameplay but when it is presented in a rapid fire retry format I get hooked. It creates that one more go gameplay and before you know it hours have flown by. It is a game that can be played in short bursts or long sessions. Even with a smooth control scheme I did find it sometime difficult to locate the cleaner on the screen. This is most likely due to the 70s colour washout but the more you play, the more your eyes begin to focus. Other than that Serial Cleaner makes a clean getaway in all departments; it has a believable setting (especially in the 70s), a smooth control scheme, plenty of replay ability and you get the chance to clean some classic movie scenes. As the drought is upon us for big releases, Serial Cleaner should keep you busy during the long Summer nights.