For those looking to look back to traditional American wood paneled station wagons, porn style mustaches, and punishingly difficult puzzlers, look no further than Serial Cleaner. Developed by iFun4All, Serial Cleaner puts players in the shoes of a 1970’s ear criminal that is hired by other deplorables to clean up murder scenes before the police are able to properly conduct their investigation of the crime. Feeling like Hotline Miami and offering some nostalgia of Metal Gear Solid, you are expected to avoid police, collect evidence, load dead bodies in your station wagon, and vacuum up blood (wonder if that actually works).
Serial Cleaner is a puzzle action game. Areas are small in scope but offer plenty of challenges. Police actively walk the scenes in paths which you can either choose to learn or just run through and hope for the best, utilizing hiding places or losing the line of sight of the men in blue. You are able to see the field of view that each officer has and can break lines of sight using building and terrain as needed. Once spotted, even for just a split second, they will sprint at you which then forces players to find a hiding spot or breaking the view. If caught, you are forced to start the level over. Starting a level over also puts the bodies and evidence in different locations so you can throw out any prior plans you made. Another unique factor in level design is that iFun4All uses your IP address to determine the location you are playing in and adjusts levels to match your time of day. If you don’t want them to see your IP though you can turn this feature off. All these factors into the overall challenge of the game. Serial Cleaner does a great job at easing players into the more difficult challenges. Each level also has hidden items as well that unlock cool aesthetic items such as clothes for your cleaner.
The AI though is somewhat laughable. So many times you are able to be spotted, have the cop run at you, and just jump into a box right in front of him to which they then seem to have no idea where you have went. The game itself already presents a hard challenge but this just seemed silly to us. If you want it to be more believable, there are tons o modifiers you can set that will increase the difficulty, give a more realistic feel, or just create a different experience. This helps give the game replay value which it desperately needs since levels are relatively short in nature.
With this type of game you wouldn’t expect much of a story and you would be correct in that aspect. There is a story but it really just stems of you living at home with your mum, who strangely enough, really seems to enjoy boxing, and nothing really develops from it. It would have been nice for iFun4All to just focus on the gameplay because that was the real winner here. The segments between levels has you at your mothers house hearing unnecessary banter between you and her for the phone to ring with someone needing you for your next job. Really cuts into the actual playtime and gives players a break that is just not needed. Even with these pauses in action, it seems like Serial Cleaner would make for a really interesting speed running community.
Don’t get us wrong though, if you like games that will challenge your mind and give you a good laugh at a hilarious era such as 1970’s cop dramas, look no further. Serial Cleaner takes puzzles and gives it a humoring spin on it even though sometimes cop intelligence comes into question. Either way, Serial Cleaner had us wanting to bang our heads against a brick wall but then begging to come back for more. Now time to test the capability for a vacuum to clean up blood.
Serial Cleaner is available now for download in the Xbox Store, priced at £11.99.
Blood Will Be Spilled... And Then Cleaned
Serial Cleaner takes puzzles and gives it a humouring spin on it even though sometimes cop intelligence comes into question. Either way, Serial Cleaner had us wanting to bang our heads against a brick wall but then begging to come back for more.