“Meantime, get yourself some body bags. And a good vacuum cleaner”- Bob C.Leaner
Video games put players in a multitude of different roles that range from professional hitman to a treasure hunter out for the next big thing, but Serial Cleaners tasks players with a different kind of job. Instead of taking out a multitude of enemies in a series of gunfights, players will take on the task of cleaning up the aftermath. With a small cast of loveable characters to experience the story with, serial Cleaners is a fun little adventure that is sure to warm players hearts.
While Serial cleaners is the sequel to popular title, Serial cleaner players aren’t required to have played the first title to get a full understanding of the story. We start with the characters reminiscing over their lives and how Bob C. Leaner, the head of the group, brought each one of them into the cleaning business. As they take turns telling their tales, players will get to learn more about the characters as well as their unique takes on the cleaning job. Latisha and Hal have some of the more interesting stories, with Latisha thrown into the world due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hal started out totally different from his compatriots, being surrounded by bodies that are now his to dispose of. With a foul mouth, eccentric attitude, and handy chainsaw to help move things along, Hal became one of my favorite characters.
Each level involves you trying to avoid detection while trying to gather evidence, disposing of any bodies that the mob have left behind, and cleaning up blood trails. With a top-down viewpoint, you can see your surroundings while you carry out these tasks. This is helpful when it comes to moving the bodies, since being caught will start you back at the last checkpoint. Each action can alert the guards in the area, and they will notice when bodies go missing or if doors are left open, so being able to see surrounding areas allows you to plan your next move. There is a checklist and a meter indicating how much of the mess is left to clean, giving you all the information you need right away without having to pull up different menus.
Each character has a different skill set, making each chapter feel distinctly different from the previous. Vip3r is a tech-savvy hacker who can turn off lights at a distance and hack computers to open doors. Latisha is capable of cleaning up messes with her vacuum, and is also able to jump fences and other obstacles to avoid potential danger. It was nice to see how each character’s personality played into the way they handled these situations.
The music is something worth calling out, since each level has its own unique sound to it. Each level has its own tune to it that feels to fit each character’s personality and really does a wonderful job of bringing it all together. Bob, the veteran cleaner, has a calm but sarcastic temperament and personality. His levels had a jazzier feel to them, and the music felt extremely fitting for him. Vip3r being a young tech wizard who speaks in computer slang has a fitting EDM feel to a lot of her music. It was great to see how well crafted these things felt and the care that went into creating a relaxing soundtrack to clean to. On top of the music, the voice acting also stands out as well. The characters feel like their voices fit the personality that is being portrayed, without any awkward silences or weird deliveries when it comes to their lines. The voice actors did a really solid job of making the conversations feel more real as opposed to people just reading a script.
Overall, my time spent playing Serial Cleaners was enjoyable. Each mistake in the level that resulted in me starting over had me focusing on what I could do better rather than being frustrated about a mistake. Instead, it felt more like a challenge to do better next time and really drove home how different each of the characters felt. The game manages to supply you with all the information you need to complete each mission without holding your hand or guiding you step by step. Having each level play out like a mini puzzle box makes this an easy title to pick up and play without having to commit a massive amount of time to it all at once.
Xavier grew up playing classics like Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Silent Hill, so the indie scene has been full of love letters for him.
A perfect day for him includes hours of grinding out levels and exploring creepy hallways in scary games.