PAX East 2017: Mop Up Crime Scenes in Serial Cleaner

Straight out of the ’70s, or more so the over-the-top version of the ’70s Pulp Fiction introduced us to, Serial Cleaner is a stylish and challenging stealth action game from iFun4All and Curve Digital that has you playing as a crime scene cleaner that works for the mob, and might like the job a little too much.

Playing through the first six levels, I was able to get a feel for the difficulty and gameplay. Your main duties as the serial cleaner include vacuuming up blood, hiding bodies, and picking up evidence. Each level, you’ll have a certain amount of blood you’ll be required to clean up, and a certain number of bodies and evidence all without being seen by the patrolling police. If you’re seen, the cop will chase you, and they’re faster than you, so the only way to evade them will be hiding in cabinets, behind walls, or in cardboard boxes. These are the main mechanics, but there are a few environmental elements you’ll be able to manipulate too. there are large crates, doors, and various other ways you’ll be able to cut off or hide from the cops as you complete the mission. I only encountered normal policemen in the first six levels, which meant the difficulty was stunted a bit, as there will be various enemy types that will offer different degrees of ability.

I was told there is also a story to the game — as you progress through the levels you’ll learn more about the protagonist and why he does what he does. There weren’t any cutscenes in the demo I played, though, so that’s all we know for now.

Serial Cleaner reminds me a lot of Hotline Miami and Party Hard, which was apparently on purpose, as Michal Mielcarek, iFun4All’s CEO told me. They wanted to make a fast-paced stealth game with a simple art style that escalates in difficulty as you play. Serial Cleaner is certainly a had game, even after six levels. This could frustrate a lot of players, but for those who are into stealth action games, Serial Cleaner is going to be a serious contender for the next big one of the genre.

What’s great about Serial Cleaner is that it’s methodical. You really have to plan out how you’re going to go about the level, and in this way, it’s more of a puzzle game. Simply running in and trying to get everything done as quickly as possible isn’t going to net any real results. For those who want a real challenge can take on the challenge mode and track their progress on the online leaderboards.

iFun4All is also working on new game modes and other interesting features. One thing they’ve added already is the idea of a day/night cycle that imitates real life. When it’s nighttime, police and other enemies will have a harder time hearing the serial cleaner. They’ve also implemented some real stories into the levels of the game. The third level I was able to play was based on the Zodiac killer, who was at the height of his killing during the time Serial Cleaner takes place. It’ll be interesting to see what other stories from reality they decide to tell.

Serial Cleaner comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam this summer for $9.99. It’s available right now on Steam Greenlight.