Serial Cleaner is the kind of game that is buoyed by a singular punch line: what if you’re the guy hired by mobsters to clean up the messy viscera of their crimes, rather than doing the murdering yourself? This isn’t really a joke that can be stretched and sustained through more than a few hours of a typical video game, but Serial Cleaner manages to keep things rolling with its brilliant conceit: making cleaning so darn fun.
The setup is simple: you provide cleaning services for brutes who want evidence of their murdering gone, from every mangled corpse to pools of blood generously spilled across the crime scene. By avoiding the cops’ line of vision in the vicinity, you can dispose of these bodies and evidence. Keeping the police distracted with decoys is another tactic you can employ, which would make your job significantly easier since they are dumb as rocks. And much like a serial killer, you can also swipe some collectibles to display back home.
There’s some chuckles to be had at the thought of cleaning up after someone else’s mess, versus having to work on actual chores in real life. But what makes Serial Cleaner such an enjoyable jaunt isn’t just that it’s a stealth game at heart: it also makes cleaning up grimy rooms deeply gratifying. While there may be stubborn spots in your kitchen you can possibly never get rid of, even the spattered blood stains and other miscellaneous clutter in Serial Cleaner can be scrubbed clean with some ingenuity and hard work. Leaving a building or street cleaner when you leave them scratches an itch you didn’t know you have. It’s pure bliss, really—and you don’t even have to deal with the stench of gore and decay, either.
A sequel to Serial Cleaner—aptly named Serial Cleaners, with an additional “s”—is poised to see a release this year, where you’ll play as four mob cleaners rather than one. I can’t wait to scrub down whatever dingy buildings I’m being dispatched to.