Wes   United States
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Greetings! I'm Wesley, owner of Mudkips Gaming , and an avid gamer who enjoys playing almost every kind of game out there!

If you like,check out my reviews and join my steam group at Mudkips Gaming

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4.0 Hours played
TL;DR at Bottom
Let me know what you thought of this review in the comments below!

Verdict :
Mopping away the evidence, one grotesque body at a time; Necessary Purchase

Swiffer Wet-Jet Keeps the Bodies Wet
Imagine a scene straight from one of the most gruesome levels of Hotline Miami. Smoking bullet casings litter the ground, bodies exposed in twisted positions and tossed around the map like ragdolls. Each wall is painted in so much blood you wouldn’t even be able to tell the original color, or that there was anything other than a red void there in the first place. Now after all of that carnage, after the killer’s ravenous appetite for blood has finally been sated, imagine you have to come in and clean it all up. That’s the premise behind Serial Cleaner, a strange little indie game set way back in the 1970’s when police were neither as technologically advanced or as competent as they are today. These lax lawmen are on the hunt for a killer running rampant throughout this tiny little town, and it’s your job to sneak in after he’s had his fun and give the whole scene the good ol’ spit n’ shine. That’s way easier said than done, but regardless you’re being paid to clean so clean you will. The main challenge is the most obvious one: the cops. They’ve completely infested the crime scenes and have its majority mapped out and surveilled, meaning that you have to pull off some Dishonored-level antics if you want to out-mop the cops. Again, easier said than done. Ironically for a game about mopping up blood and evidence, the controls are slippery as can be, often resulting in you missing a narrow turn because your character decided to fill his shoes with ice that morning and now can’t get a solid footing. It’s ridiculously frustrating trying to outrun the cops, and successfully doing so, only to be thwarted because Janitor John slipped and went head-first into the wall. Jokes aside, it’s a minor issue that doesn’t interrupt gameplay too frequently, and as such isn’t worthy of much more scorn. Through each of the 20 levels you’re going to be required to collect pieces of evidence, mop up blood stains, and play the body snatcher for all victims you find, often having to do all three. It may not sound like it, but when you actually get into the level and get a good look at everything, you realize how much work that ends up being. I don’t have a problem with doing the work, I have a problem with being forced to completely do it over again when I get caught, because that’s absurdity in the extreme. Which is what you have to do, by the way, each and every time those dastardly coppers smack the cuffs on you. It wouldn’t feel like as big of a problem were it not for the randomness of each level. They’re always randomized, with the different bodies or pieces of evidence spawning in different places each time you try the mission. It’s just incredibly frustrating not only having to restart every time you fail, but having to deal with completely switched around spawning locations.

Wood Panels, Wood Panels, and, Oh More Wood Panels
That’s not to say that the levels are completely devoid of fun, not in the slightest. It just means that you have to wade through a quagmire of frustration at times to get to the fun, which I imagine is the same thing for some. Even if you repeatedly fail every mission, at least you’ll get to have some truly fantastic and beautiful thematic art to keep you occupied. Since the game is set in the 70’s, the art style has lots of different colors and enough wood paneling to make a lumberjack kill himself. It fits well with the setting and the way all of the characters are though, and it results in an experience that feels both distinctly 70’s, yet HD and modern in its own ways. I think that the 70’s was the absolute perfect time in which to have Serial Cleaner take place, with cops not having the technology with which they operate using today, making it all the easier for things to slip through the cracks. I can’t imagine it would have been nearly as fun of an experience if it took place in the modern day. Sneaking around some crime scene, only to get spotted by a satellite thousands of feet in the air and have the authorities immediately dispatched. However it doesn’t take place in the modern day and it’s all the better for it. Something I also like is how they don’t force a story down your throat, because some games just don’t need one. The gist of it is that you’re a cleaner for a few different clients and have the sole responsibility of picking up after they’ve gone through and trashed the place. Some of your clients you know personally, like your friend Joe, whom you play poker with on the weekends, while others are more mysterious. The mysterious character’s identity is never interesting enough for me to have actively demanded to know more, but it was enough for me to always have that little curious thought in the back of my head.

Dividing Difficulty
It’s definitely a fantastic game, but the difficulty is pretty much the only reason it took me as long as it did to complete, and even that was still a measly handful of hours. Were it not for that, this would have been a quick two hours and then done experience, which I think would have made it feel much worse. From what I’ve seen, the difficulty is the main complaint of the majority of negative reviews and I personally don’t see that as a justified complaint. At least not for the game as a whole, because it’s definitely a real problem in a handful of spots. I’ve seen lots of arguing coming from both sides of this; on one hand it does get a bit excessive in some places, and frustrating in others, but it’s also an extremely satisfying challenge throughout most of the game. What’s more, the game has that Hotline Miami style respawn system where it wastes absolutely no time letting you get back into the action, so you never feel like you’re being forced to sit there and boil over. I get that it seems frustrating, but it seems like a lot of people are forming their opinions about the game based on the most frustrating moments and only the most frustrating moments. Don’t mistake me, there are some extremely valid complaints to be had with the difficulty, but they’re only a problem in about two or three of the twenty different story levels. It’s a problem, just not as big of one as it’s made out to be. If you aren’t a fan of the story missions though, there are some unlockable side missions where you clean up various scenes from movies, which is both nostalgic and well-executed. Overall I’m a big fan of Serial Cleaner. While yes, the difficulty could absolutely use a tweak, or even a full rework on some levels, the funky music and art style, as well as the strong core gameplay, truly make for a fantastic experience regardless.

With a gorgeous 70's aesthetic firmly grasped in one hand, and an innovative concept clutched in the other, Serial Cleaner makes for one of the most unique games I've ever played, and is definitely a hell of a lot of fun.

If you found this review helpful or entertaining then feel free to leave a comment and join my Steam Curator Group at Mudkips Gaming!
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:2016watermelon: My Setup (As of 11/21/17):2016watermelon:

:2016roasted: OS: Windows 7
:2016roasted: RAM: 8GB Dual-Channel DDR3[x1]
:2016roasted: CPU: Intel Core I7
:2016roasted: Motherboard: ASUSTeK Sabertooth Z97
:2016roasted: Graphics Card: Geforce GTX 1060

:2016roasted: Monitor: HP W2207 | VG2239 Series:
:2016roasted: Mouse: Razer Naga[2014]
:2016roasted: Keyboard: Corsair K70
:2016roasted: Headset: RIG 505 Lava's
:2016roasted: Storage: 550GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD | 1TB Western Digital WDC HDD

:steammocking:Contact me!:steammocking:

:2016weiner: TS3:
:2016weiner: Twitter
:2016weiner: Youtube
:2016weiner: Throw me a trade!

:steamhappy:A little about me!:steamhappy:
:2016popsicle: Age: 17
:2016popsicle: Real name: Wesley
:2016popsicle: Favorite game: Stories Untold
:2016popsicle: Favorite song: Coldplay - Hymn For the Weekend
:2016popsicle: Favorite Book: All Quiet On the Western Front [play.google.com]
:2016popsicle: Favorite Movie: Judge Dredd [123movies.fyi]
:2016popsicle: Favorite TV Series: Game of Thrones [www.hbo.com]
:2016popsicle: Note: As a person and as a gamer I have heavily been inspired by John "Totalbiscuit" Bain who, even after his cancer diagnosis continues to make quality content and advance the gaming industry.


:2016snocone:Favorite video game quotes:

:2016snocone: "It's always struck me as odd, that evil is never self aware"
:2016skull:- Jonah, The Old City: Leviathan

:2016snocone: “You don’t need mutations to strip men of their humanity. I’ve seen plenty of examples.”
:2016skull:- Geralt, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

:2016snocone: "My name is Lucatiel. I beg of you, remember my name. For I may not myself..."
:2016skull:- Lucatiel of Mirrah, Dark Souls 2

:2016snocone: "They say the Force can do terrible things to a mind. It can wipe away your memories and destroy your very identity."
:2016skull:-Carth Onasi, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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dangerhighdoltage Jul 25 @ 7:07am 
I really enjoyed reading your reviews! If you are interested, an offer is extended from SaveorQuit.com , a game reviewing community. We write 1-2 reviews a month per member. Just send me an invite if it sounds like something you'd like more info on. Thanks!
Broham Feb 12 @ 4:27pm 
Ellywelly Feb 2 @ 1:41am 
Great reviews!
Pnmbr Jan 15 @ 5:56am 
Amazing Reviews on the steam store. I attempted some as well after looking at yours :D
Spiritofvengeance Dec 27, 2017 @ 9:00am 
Aye mate i just wanted to say you got some phenominal reviews, cheers and keep going.