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Serial Cleaners Review

Serial Cleaners Review

Serial Cleaners take place in New York City, on New Year’s Eve of 1999 — back when everyone was worried about Y2K and what was going to happen when the clocks rolled over to the next day. Four professional cleaners, working for the mob, get together to drink and reminisce about the past (I'm picturing these people cleaning up the messes of mobsters like in The Godfather or The Sopranos). As the cleaners tell their stories, they begin to realise that the events don’t quite line up; this leads to some nasty truth coming to light. Things aren’t quite what they seem with the cooperation they are working for. In this top-down, action-stealth game, you will relive the tales that these cleaners are telling and see how successful you are while you try to clean up the messes the mob has made.

serialcleaners intro2

There are four different cleaners that you will play as; they are Psycho, Bob, Viper, and Lati. Each chapter of the game has missions where you play as each of them; you don't have a choice in which character you will be, you just get to select the order that you play them in. The party starts with all the cleaners talking about their first cleaning gig. Each of the cleaners has unique abilities: Bob can slide on patches of blood — this might not sound impressive, but he gains speed as he goes, making it easier to get away from the police or sneak around the building. Viper loves computers and hacking into the systems to turn lights off and on, open gates, or turn things like arcade machines on so they make noise and distract the police. She is also small enough to crawl into vents to make getting around undetected easier or to conveniently hide when being pursued. Lati is an artist, so she is equipped with a spray paint can so she can paint "Fuck the Police" whenever she has the opportunity. She also has the ability to jump over chain link fences. Psycho definitely lives up to his name; his favourite thing to do is to use his chainsaw to cut bodies into pieces. The game displays "CENSORED" when he is doing this so you don't see anything, but if a cop is nearby, he will pass out so you can move him out of the room and stash him in a "Cop Locker" (or a guitar case, whatever they fit into). 

serialcleaners sensored2

The game has an interesting aesthetic; it has the look of a PlayStation 2 era game, but with an interesting twist of grunge art. Words will be written on the screen — especially when playing as Psycho; you see the crazy thoughts running through his head. There is a lot of blood around these crime scenes, but since it's not a super realistic game it probably won't bother you too much. The soundtrack is an interesting combination of genres, sometimes you will hear jazz music, while other times upbeat electronic dance music will accompany you instead. It's definitely different from the music you are used to hearing in games!

serialcleaners overview2

You might think that being a cleaner is an easy job; all you need to do is get rid of the bodies and evidence, clean the place up, and not get caught by the police or security guards around. Well, completing this task is a bit harder than you may think. A lot of things you do make noise, running around or trying to use your vacuum is sure to attract the attention of anyone nearby. Though luckily, the police seem incredibly dumb sometimes. I was able to vacuum up blood when they were in the same room — but not beside me — or walk right past them carrying a wrapped-up dead body. This will depend on how observant you are and if you have timed your movements according to how they all move. All the police are on a pattern that they will follow unless they are interrupted by a loud noise; getting past them requires a lot of patience as you sit there waiting for the perfect time to make your move. If you are feeling brave, you can try to run in and out as fast as possible. Just realise that if the cops see you, they will chase after you — though for a short amount of time until they get impatient and shoot you. If you are caught, you will have to start the mission over again from your last save. When you are dumping bodies or evidence into the trunk of your car you can save your game by going to the driver's door. Saving is especially useful, so that you do not need to restart the whole mission and have to retrieve the bodies and clean again.

serialcleaners cleaningsense2

While completing these different jobs, you can use your cleaner sense which will show you an overview of where everything is located in the building. This is extremely helpful when you are trying to see where the police are, where the bodies and evidence are located, and to see where all the large patches of blood you need to clean up are. I found using the vacuum in Serial Cleaners to be one of the most satisfying things in the game. The suction on this vacuum is something else, as it can easily remove blood from any floor, both inside and out - including the snow; even better, it is cordless. I know this makes no sense at all but seeing the red blood disappearing right off of bright white snow was so rewarding! 

serialcleaners vacuumsnow2

Serial Cleaners will require a lot of patience and strategy; I felt a lot of the time, I was sitting there waiting until I could make my move. It felt like the cops were incredibly stupid (and maybe deaf), but the fact they didn't communicate with each other made it a lot easier for me to make my escape. The game takes about eight hours to complete. I found that it was hard to play for long periods as it started to feel pretty repetitive, however if you can play it on the Steam Deck and maybe just put it down between stories, it should help break it up. This is a fun title to check out if you enjoy games with a grungy, retro-like look that require you to use your brain. 

serialcleaners hiding2

7.00/10 7

Serial Cleaners (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Serial Cleaners is a fun top-down stealth game that will test your patience and sense of timing. Who would have thought vacuuming the floor would be so fun?

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!