Serial Cleaner is a game where you play as a professional crime scene cleaner for the mob. You have to sneak around cops in order to vacuum up bloodstains, pick up bodies, and pocket murder weapons. For a game about cleaning, it’s surprisingly fun.
Each level is set in a different location: a camping ground, a high-rise office, a log cabin by a swamp. You can hide from police officers in cabinets and storage bins, or duck behind things to break line of sight. Each level has a certain number of items, bodies, and blood splatters you have to clean up with your vacuum (which miraculously, works on grass and doesn’t leave bloodstains). You also have to pick up the bodies and dump them, either in your car or another disposal method, such as an alligator or a broken window you can fling them out of.
The police officers have a field of vision that will flash red when they see you. You can’t out run them; you can only hide. If they catch you, they’ll smack you with their nightstick, and you have to restart the level.
Items, bodies, hiding spots, and blood splatters are randomized and won’t appear in the same location each time you restart the level, but officers will always remain in the same locations. This can sometimes be a huge pain. I encountered one level where a dead body was randomly placed in a difficult location. I had to sneak behind the officer just before he turned around, run out to the body’s location, hide, and wait for the officer to leave. Then I had to drag the body down an alleyway and hope that three other officers wouldn’t catch me. I had to retry that level several times; it was frustrating, but satisfying when I finally beat it. Playing this game made me think, “Hey, I’ve cleaned up crime scenes. How hard can cleaning my bathroom be?”
Serial Cleaner is surprisingly challenging. As you progress through the levels, the number of officers increases, and it becomes even more difficult to evade them. Along the way you get to listen to some pretty sweet rock music, which accompanies the setting and theme excellently. Sometimes, on levels where you don’t have your car, it can be difficult to figure out where to dump the bodies. There was a nightclub level I wandered around for several minutes. I stumbled across a ladder, which went up to the fish tank. I thought, “Really? No one will notice bodies floating in the middle of a fish tank?” But then I dumped the bodies in and the fish became violent, swirling around the body and soaking the water red. My jaw dropped. Why would you keep piranhas in a nightclub? Doesn’t that violate safety standards? Does the mob just really like piranhas? I was truly horrified. Unfortunately, I didn’t have too long to contemplate these questions, as I had to go steal the murder weapon. All I can say is, I genuinely hope I’m getting paid enough to do this.
Serial Cleaner will fully release on Xbox One and Steam this Friday (it’s currently in Steam early access). If you own a PS4, you can grab it now.