REVIEW: Serial Cleaner

Jan
10

REVIEW: Serial Cleaner

A fun, unique-looking stealth game with customizable difficulty and blood cleaning in mind.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Stealth
Developer: Draw Distance
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release date: 15 Jul, 2017

Intro

Have you ever wondered who is gonna clean up the scene whenever there’s a killing? Serial Cleaner goes on a scene with you playing as the cleaner, cleaning the mess and collecting any evidence left behind to prevent the killer from being caught. As you might have noticed already, you need to escape the authorities patrolling the area, turning it into a stealth game with some blood cleaning in mind. More on the review.

Graphics

The game uses a simplistic art style with bright colors. It gives a unique look to the game, especially with characters that look like a less detailed 3D model walking on a 2D plane. The level selection also looks great with the unique, great-looking typography for each level title and image presentation of the victim.

Story

Cutscenes are usually provided before and after each level starts. Some optional actions such as reading a newspaper, listening to a radio, and talking to your mom are also available if you want to get more depth of what’s happening in the game. Everything doesn’t seem to make sense at first until the game gives a hint that everything is connected, which I couldn’t seem to figure out by myself. This might be because the game doesn’t make its levels memorable – you just have to clear the levels without paying attention to anything else. It’s all changed in the last few levels with the game connecting each level to a story.

A summary is also provided on the level selection.

The Game

Gameplay

As a stealth game, your job is to clean blood pools, collect evidence, and dispose of all bodies that you see on the scene without getting caught. The game will restart the level after you are caught, slightly changing the locations of everything in response. This forces you to carefully look at the map each time, making sure that you see everything properly before taking some action.

You won’t have to restart the level after the enemy sees you – you’ll still have time to run away, either by hiding in a certain spot or outrun the enemy. While this might seem to be ridiculous, especially since the enemy is dumb enough to not notice you hiding in front of you, it makes the game manageable somehow. Levels will be harder as you progress the game and more variation of enemies, including the one that can “catch” you as soon as they see you, will also be introduced.

Challenge Mode

For those who are looking for some challenge, the game also offers a Challenge mode, a mode where you can play a level with a handicap. A lot of challenges are available for you to pick, including the option to play the game without displaying the enemy’s visual cones or restarting the level as soon as you are seen. There’s also a hardcore mode that can be enabled in the options although I couldn’t seem to find any difference when I tried it in one of the levels.

One interesting challenge is to play in drunk mode, where you can play with a hazy-looking screen.

Day and Night System

Much to my surprise, the game alerts you that they will read your IP address right after you start the game. Although there is no option to decline at first, you can disable it in the options right away. I found out that the game uses it for implementing a day and night system, which will slightly change some of the mechanics, based on your actual time. I’m still not sure why the dev decides to implement it this way instead of reading the internal clock.

As I said before, some mechanics will be different when you’re playing at a different time, giving more challenge to the levels. All levels will be played at daytime if you don’t enable the IP tracking although you still can try the nighttime mode through the Challenge mode. Unfortunately, they are still not good enough to justify another playthrough.

Length and Difficulty

I finished all of the main levels in normal mode by cleaning all blood pools and collecting all optional items at 4.5h. The rest of my playtime was spent completing all optional levels and obtaining the rest of the achievements. It wasn’t hard to finish the level although the last few levels, especially the optional ones, are challenging to beat.

Looking at the map is important to finish each level.

Problems

It’s difficult to clean all blood pools on some levels, especially in the levels with a lot of blood pools hidden behind another room.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

It’s was a good choice that I decided to play Serial Cleaner. The level design is clever and the randomization helps to make the game not boring. It took me a while to finish some of the later levels, but the difficulty is still within the acceptable range. The game also caters to both casual and hardcore players without any difference in rewards so you don’t have to worry on missing out. The full price might be a bit expensive for the playtime it offers though so you might want to buy it at a sale.

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