Serial Cleaner is a stealth game starring a mustache cleaner who must clear crime scenes without being caught by the police. It is expressed in arcade tone, so don’t expect a Thief mixed with Viscera Cleanup Detail. Despite not opting for realism, it is frankly entertaining. Analysis.
If Serial Cleaner had been a series in the 70s – which could – it probably would have had dialogues like this:
INT. HOUSE / RECEIVER – AFTERNOON
CLEANER enters the house looking clearly fatigued. He goes pitifully towards his room, possibly with the idea of throwing himself on the bed to forget the hard day. MOTHER is in the living room, watching a wrestling match.
Honey, clean your room. It looks like a crime scene!
(For yes) But if I am no longer on duty …
How do you say?
(Looking at camera, accomplice) Nothing, mommy! That I will do it as soon as I rest.
CLEANER makes a gesture of relief, goes to his room at the end of the hall and we see how, indeed, he falls on the bed like a dead weight.
Fiction always has an anchor in reality. It seems impossible that collecting corpses, removing the blood and dodging police officers is a professional path in itself, but Serial Cleaner wants us to believe it. Possibly now it would be impossible to devote to the post-homicide cleaning guild, but in 1970 things worked differently. Our mission is to go to the scenes of the crimes that others have performed to leave no trace of anything. This could have been a rigorous stealth game in which realism forced us to leave each stage as new and dodge the guards and policemen so that no one recognized our face, but instead opts for a lighter, more arcade stealth, in which the main thing is to collect bodies, tests, relevant objects and clean as much blood as we can … with a vacuum cleaner.
Given the era in which everything happens and the light tone of the game, iFun4all has chosen to mount artistic cartoon style, close to the cartoon, but without exaggerating the palette, which walks through pastel tones and a sepia tone that, together with the design of rooms, objects of the stage and the clothes themselves, easily locates us at the time. In this way, we find a work that, despite not being cut with blood and corpses, wants to avoid any kind of dislike. The corpses do not have many details, and despite their disfigured appearances and the bloodstains on their clothes, they become even tender. The only thing that can get to draw a more detailed scene of the killings are the comments of the Cleaner, but usually, everything stays in that light and pleasant line. And with all the sense in the world, because death here is day to day; What pays us bills.
All the action takes place after shootings, chases, accidents, etc. Each scenario of Serial Cleaner has a few bodies, one or two evidence of the crime and an optional object that unlocks extra missions. Our obligation is to collect the evidence – which is usually the weapon of crime -, to make the bodies disappear by taking them to our ranch or somewhere that depends on each scenario (such as an open window) and, sometimes, cleaning a a certain amount of blood The premise is very simple, of course, and despite the fact that the game does not affect the artificial intelligence of the police, their fields of vision and their routes when it comes to patrolling the area make things difficult for us.
It is a game about murders that does not go to the farmhouse, but to the smile, to reach us
With the help of the overhead view, the sense of the cleaner (which looks away and highlights the location of the relevant elements on the map) and interactive elements of the environment we have to avoid the orange cones that represent the field of vision of the cops. As artificial intelligence is not intended as realistic, even if they see us, it is easy to avoid them if we corner them a couple of times or hide, although we do the latter in front of their noses. On the other hand, a detail such as the noise we make when running or vacuuming is taken into account, and in fact, it is used in the subsequent levels to generate distractions in our favor.
The first levels go to the simple so that we understand the game mechanics, but usually, there are two ways to overcome the levels: the fast and bungling and the slow and analytical. We comment on it because despite having the nature of stealth, the game adapts perfectly to the two rhythms of the game. Objects appear randomly, so some levels may be unfairly difficult (or easy). Sometimes the control proves it. We can try to clean all the blood as a challenge and the game will respond by giving us a speed boost while we vacuum. When this is achieved, a medal is displayed on the poster of the mission in question. It is curious: the game does not penalize especially the failures more than making us repeat the game.
The way the plot develops is subtle and very nice, and the protagonist’s relationship with his mother adds points to the Cleaner’s personality. On the other hand, the pace of play may become repetitive soon. Apart from the mobile elements of the scenarios, the sounds, and the secrets, the game does not extend much more its interactive approach. Now, we can also take advantage of the modifiers to give variety to the experience. Thanks to them we can deactivate vision cones and the sense of the cleaner, set a time limit, etc. In addition, bonus missions are a pleasant surprise for people who get the references they make. We don’t want to reveal anything, but they are based on mythical films.
It may not be a very varied title, but Serial Cleaner provides a solid and entertaining experience that delights our senses with a very nice artistic section and excellent music and also tells us in Spanish with a translation at height. It is a game about murders that do not go to the farmhouse, but to the smile, to reach us.
- The artistic section is charming and puts us in the 70s
- Bonus missions are a pleasant surprise
- The translation is up to par
- The game tonic can become repetitive despite the modifiers
- The fact that the location of objects is random causes inconsistencies in the difficulty of the games