Did you ever stop to think about what happens after a horrid mass murder by the mob? Who gets the dirty work of cleaning up the mess or worst still, having to dispose of incriminating evidence? Well in iFun4All’s new game you’ll find out just that as Serial Cleaner is a quirky game where the concept revolves around cleaning up the aftermath of violent situations and picking up the pieces that could land your employer in the slammer.
Bob is the Serial Cleaner, a professional who tidies up various crime scenes for his Mob boss employers during the 1970’s. Bob lives at home with his elderly mother, with the demeanour of a pleasant, happy go lucky guy. However Bob is in trouble as we see him make bad gambling decisions and the only way to take care of his money problems is to clean up for the mob.
As the Serial Cleaner, players will take care of the Mob’s dirty business or more so the aftermath of it. Bob is in high demand as the Mob is carrying out a gruesome crime spree of mass murders but they can’t help themselves to leave incriminating evidence and the dismembered bodies. Bob is called out to various locations throughout the course of several years, taking care of a number of clean up jobs in order to pay off his debt.
Players will control Bob as he tackles a number of different cleaning jobs, where he’ll have to dispose of corpses, steal evidence and clean up “a lot” of blood to ensure his employers don’t go to prison. This is a highly original concept for a stealth game, as the cleaner will have to sneak around each location, avoiding detection from the police in order to clean up the crime scene. From picking up bloody saws to hoover up blood, the cleaner will have to use his wits to avoid being caught. You can distract patrolling police officers away from their positions and hide in various containers such as bins and bushes.
Serial Cleaner is mechanically is very easy to grasp as the stealth mechanics are simply yet efficient in play. Keeping to the basics, Serial Cleaner allows new comers to ease right in and more experienced players to feel challenged without having things handed to them. The game’s aesthetic are highly colourful considering the graphic nature of the game, with highly stylised visuals that give this game a unique sense of identity.
The only issue with the game’s beautiful visual style is that it can make difficult to judge distances and what objects act as cover or barriers. As the style is very cartoony, 2D in many respects on a top down perspective, you’ll be forgiven for repeatedly misjudging certain places as cover or determining what areas are safe for avoiding detection or where you could simply walk across.
Aside from the unique concept of cleaning up after a murder, there’s very little here that makes Serial Cleaner boldly different or original. What lets Serial Cleaner down in terms of design is the repetitive nature or mission structures. You’re at home, you get a phone call, and you go to the crime scene to take care of business. Usually there are three objectives in each mission, dispose of bodies, clean up blood and steal evidence. That’s it. Each mission feels the same with the game never really breaking away from the formula to delivery anything more engaging. So after 10 missions of doing the same thing, interest fades very quickly.
Serial Cleaner doesn’t do itself any favours as there are little features outside the main missions. Upon completing a clean-up, you just end up back home with a little more of the narrative being pushed further, revealing Bob in debt and his affection for his beloved mother. But there’s nothing here to truly engage with, with no upgrades, purchases or interesting features to interact with at his home to make it worthwhile going here anyway.
What is a saving grace for Serial Cleaner is the ability to unlock additional missions that are inspired by beloved 70’s classics films such as Alien, Taxi Driver, Suspiria and Star Wars. These bonus missions are wickedly funny as they strong reminisce of defining scenes from these films. These were a pleasant bonus as the mechanics were the same, but those who love these films will surely enjoy having to clean up after the mess. But this also adds in replay value as these bonus missions will unlock after finding hidden tapes scattered in certain missions in the main campaign.
Serial Cleaner has a unique concept and plenty to offer at its core along with some pleasant visuals and neat unlocks. But it falls short with the repetitive nature and subpar level design which holds back on the core mechanics and the chance for the gameplay elements to expand. Serial Cleaner is enjoy in short doses but could’ve offered so much more!
++ Original concept
+ Awesome visuals
+ Great bonus content
- Limited and poor level design elements
- Lack replay value outside of bonus content
A PS4 copy of Serial Cleaner by provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review