It's been more than five years since developer Draw Distance released a surprisingly fun 2D stealth game centered around cleaning up messes left behind by the mob. Serial Cleaner looked a little crude with what some might describe as an unappealing art style, but there was no arguing with the concept and gameplay loop, which proved to be a lot of fun. Now the development team is back with publisher 505 Games and sequel Serial Cleaners looks to make the business of fixing a family affair.
Serial Cleaners is a little more narrative-heavy than one would expect. It's set in 1990s New York, as four cleaners are brought together through a friend's death. They begin to share stories of their various exploits, setting the stage for the game's various levels.
The principle for each stage is largely the same. The idea is that there's a crime scene, the mob left behind a mess, and it's up to the player to clean it up. This means removing dead bodies, disposing of evidence, and vacuuming up any leftover blood. This is far from an easy task, as security guards and police officers will often swing by to patrol the area. While the AI isn't totally sophisticated, it isn't quite dumb as rocks. If something's out of place and a patrolman notices, they'll search the area, meaning the player will either have to leave the area for a bit or find a hiding spot. Success in Serial Cleaners is all about finding openings to drag away large bodies and big bags of evidence before law enforcement can give chase.
The primary difference in Serial Cleaners looks to be the story's multiple characters. Each looks to have a different specialty. While the opening stage was a straightforward affair, the second level with Vip3r centered on her hacking ability. On top of clearing the area of any dead bodies, Vip3r had to hack into the morgue's systems and also mess with the building's lighting in order to distract the security guards.
Aside from the eclectic characters, Serial Cleaners' biggest change is a revamped 2D art style that utilizes an overhead view. Developer Draw Distance notes that the game's art direction is inspired by a more post-modern aesthetic and by various forms of street art. The result isn't the prettiest game I've seen, but it certainly stands out.
It won't be long before Serial Cleaners starts its latest job. The game is set to release on Wednesday, September 21 on PC (via Steam, the Epic Games Store, and GOG.com), PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Serial Cleaners makes mob fixing into a family business
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