Thursday, 13 July 2017

Serial Cleaner Review

Professional Kill-eaner

It's strange how weird little details can cast your mind back to the most unexpected of places. While I was playing Serial cleaner from ifun4all for the first time, I tapped R2 and the un-named cleaner whipped out a vacuum. My brain then recalled a very obscured PS1 game named Trash it in which you played a builder who not only had to knock stuff down but also hoover up after himself, which is pretty rare for a builder. There can't be many games where the player has to give the place a bit of a once over with a vacuum and the only other one I can recall is the Simpson's arcade game where Marge uses a vacuum to smack Mr Burns in the chops with.

So what is the premise of Serial Cleaner I hear you bellow? Well its a rather unique little concept where instead of being the one who causes bloody criminal carnage you're the poor sap hired to clean up after, even if there are cops on patrol (which there always is). To do this you have to stealth your way around various sized maps, grabbing bodies and disposing of them, nabbing evidence and hoovering up bloodstains and making sure you don't wander into an of the cops vision cones. A rather simple premise that builds up in complexity as new features are added such as shortcuts which teleport you somewhere else on the map, items that can make loud noises and move cops out of their patrol routine and movable objects that change the officers paths and can even trap them.

Serial Killer could have easily slipped into the trap of being another standard indie game stuffed into the Miami Hotline mold, but it does a very good job of carving out its own identity. The game is set in the mid-seventies and has a whole bunch of big and little touches to accentuate the 70's vibe. From a protagonist who has a gambling problem, sunglasses and a hefty moustache to the fantastic cop show music and my personal favourite touch....a Magnavox Odyssey complete with comically realistic gun sitting in the living room they all add up. The maps include places like club 42, an alligator infested swamp and the docks, exactly the sort of 70s' cop show locations a player would expect. The graphics also have plenty of personality with a washed out pastel colour scheme and an almost papercraft style adding to Serial Killers stylings.

Outside of the main story players can also find a series of movie based mission that can be unlocked via collectibles in the main story and if the game isn't difficult enough for you, well you can choose from a number of challenges that mix things up such as getting rid of vision cones, or removing your cleaner vision, a vital ability that allows you to see the whole map and where every object you can interact with is. But there are a few niggles. One that may be a positive or a negative is the difficulty....Serial Cleaner is a game that expects you to fail alot, and it can be controller breakingly frustrating when you mess up on the very last task on your check list. The game also slightly randomises where bodies and evidence are on the map each time you restart. The aim may have been to add freshness every time you play but it ends up being annoying when you think you've finally worked out what to do and a newly placed corpse destroys your game plan. In fact on a couple of occasions I deliberately failed just because a body was in an especially annoying location.

One other neat aspect that I have to mention before wrapping up is that the time of day you'll take on a mission is the same as real life...playing a mission at night adds new challenges for a player looking for a bit more. Serial Killer is a unique idea executed (if you'll excuse the pun) well. It has a highly interesting premise, mixed in with a style of it's own, with some well crafted levels thrown in. The difficulty may put some off as the failure rate can be high, and the randomisation of some elements of each map can make you feel like failing wasn't completely your fault. But this is definitely one of the more enjoyable indie game experiences I've had this year.


Time for the clean up!

Want to purchase Serial Cleaner the click here.

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Geekmash here.

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Catch ya later yeah!

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