Serial Cleaners evaluate: stealth-action physique disposal makes for bursts of bloody enjoyable

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Serial Cleaners is Draw Distance’s follow-up to the singular Serial Cleaner, a classy 2D stealth motion game the place you clear up crime scenes with out getting caught. Where the unique affords a extra conventional top-down view the place you are avoiding cops’ consideration by dodging cones of imaginative and prescient, Serial Cleaners sprinkles totally different characters and skills into the combo, alongside a visible revamp that ups extra than simply the aesthetics. And it really works! Making the act of proof disposal an action-packed affair that makes it a fantastic game to play in bursts.

Serial Cleaners sees you alternate between 4 totally different disposers who work for the mob: a legal organisation that does plenty of homicide. It’s New Year’s eve, 1999, and the squad reminisces in regards to the previous days, like how they met and the largest jobs they’d ever pulled off. You’ve acquired Bob, the jaded mentor who returns from the primary game; Psycho, the tropey disturbed one; Lati, a speedy parkour fanatic; and Vip3r (with a 3 in her title, sure), a hacker who says issues like “leet” and “TTYI” and it makes me wish to sink into the earth with embarrassment.

The game’s characters are an attention-grabbing sufficient bunch whose disposal missions carry totally different contexts relying on their background. Bob can not seem to escape from the mob and its cocaine-fuelled events, regardless of how a lot it issues to his ailing mum, whereas Vip3r retains tabs on crime by her secretive on-line channels and races to cover their mess. Sometimes it is a bit tough to maintain up with what’s truly occurring, particularly as most context is displayed in a quick paragraph on the backside of a loading display and is not defined intimately in-person; to not point out that you simply’re bouncing between 4 totally different of us regularly. Yet, these points are counterbalanced by some attention-grabbing flashback sequences which delve a little bit extra into their troubled private histories.

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And when you’re embroiled within the artwork of disposal, it is simple to forgive the game’s jagged story beats. Each mission has a set variety of goals to tick off and there is hardly ever any deviance from the system: you should get rid of some our bodies, dump pocketable or extra substantial proof, and hoover up sufficient blood to fulfill the boss. Of course, it is every character’s potential to go about these duties with differing ranges of panache that retains issues attention-grabbing.

Vip3r slides a body in a delapidated arcade in Serial Cleaners.
The game’s soundtrack and aesthetic evoke the grittiness of 90s New York, with Wu-Tang and smoke curling upwards in cadillacs. Some of its visible prospers take themselves maybe a bit too severely, however hey, the devs have executed a fantastic job capturing the texture of a vibrant mob operation.

As Bob you are capable of wrap up our bodies, guaranteeing that they will not depart a blood path when dragged alongside the bottom and slide on blood trails for a fast getaway. As Vip3r you are capable of hack into terminals and remotely open doorways, change off lights, and create different varied distractions. Psycho is probably essentially the most amusing of the bunch, as you possibly can chop our bodies to bits with a chainsaw, breaking them into limbs which might be extra simply transported however include the tradeoff that there is, nicely, extra of them. And as Psycho, you possibly can chuck objects at unsuspecting guards to knock them unconscious. Even the sight of you chopping up a physique will trigger a guard to faint, which can be utilized to your benefit in some hilariously ugly methods.

Really, although, it is Lati who’s one of the best of the bunch. She’s capable of jump over low fences, climb guttering, and customarily flit across the map prefer it’s some parkour paradise. Sure, it’d sound like the best of skills, nevertheless it fits the game’s sensibilities to a tee. Where others could must depend on nabbing keys and stalking corridors, enjoying as Lati means you are capable of exploit the game’s structure and outfox the AI together with your superior athletic potential. And as soon as you have clocked all the varied routes you possibly can take, Lati’s potential to fly throughout maps makes for a physique disposal feeling I can solely describe as some kind of movement state – it is weirdly, horribly, great.

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The game rewards clear and exact cleansing in addition to chaotic clumsiness, which signifies that you by no means really feel such as you’re being punished when these calculated maneuvers devolve into manic sprints. Much like a easy immersive sim, the game accommodates for creativity or downright panic, so you are feeling such as you’re both in, or capable of wrest again management on the flip of a door or a slip into conveniently positioned wardrobe. Some of the game’s finest moments emerge from accidents, like after I opened a door right into a guard and knocked them unconscious, or after I lobbed a limb in direction of a woodchipper within the hopes I’d mulch it out of existence and ended up clocking a police provide sq. within the jaw.

Lati sprints from the cops on a TV set gone wrong in Serial Cleaners.

While there is a component of repetitiveness to missions – as every in the end requires of you an identical service – the game does its finest to throw some curveballs into the combo. I can not talk about these intimately, however two cleaners could assist one another out or events could inhibit your potential to see clearly. But you are by no means thrust right into a scenario that feels desperately unfair, because the format of the degrees and their hidey holes are sometimes simply the correct amount of forgiving. Plus, you have acquired this slow-mo potential that zooms out and highlights enemies and factors of curiosity if you happen to’re ever in want of some course.

And Serial Cleaners has a comparatively fast runtime, made up of some chapters that conclude issues earlier than it outstays its welcome. While an array of cleaners and powerful stage design cannot fairly flip the game right into a devour-in-one-sitting affair, it is nonetheless a burst of annoying enjoyable and an anecdote generator if you happen to’re both a chaotic cleaner or extra methodical with the hoover.

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