Have you ever been told to clean up your room only to shrug it off and keep playing video games instead? If you have, then this game will probably amuse you in the weirdest of ways. This game is brought to us by Runestorm and it was released in early 2014. VCD takes advantage of simple gameplay that is done to perfection. You can clean up the mess the hero has left behind, or you can enjoy the physics engine and attempt to break the game while doing so.
In this game, you do not play a powerful hero that wields the power of a magical sword. You are put into a situation that you’d rather not be in. You are a janitor – a space janitor. Your job, like any janitor, is to clean everything up that has been left behind. You’ll discover masses of corpses and dismembered monsters, along with gruesome blood splatters on the wall and bullet holes in the floor. It is all up to you, and if your job is not done sufficiently, you won’t be getting anywhere in life. Essentially, this game has consequences if you happen to miss a puddle of blood or entrails in the corner of a tunnel due to being unable to see properly in the dark. These consequences do not affect the actual game itself however, and unless you are completing a Speedrun clean of the level, you’re free to take your time and
Armed with a mop and bucket, your duty is to be a law-abiding citizen and do the job you’re probably getting paid for. However, this game has an option to play online, where you can enlist the help of your co-workers (friends) and clean the level together as one. I have spent several hours in the glitchy mess that is multiplayer, and it’s honestly very amusing to infinitely spawn buckets from the dispenser and watch your framerate crawl to a halt, or throw corpses around and make the room so messy that you’ll never be able to smear the blood off.
Despite the constant game crashes and my friend being unable to actually see me in the game, it’s fun. Jumping on the janitor’s chest – where you can store items to keep – can launch you high into the air and fly. I find that if you can look past the few technical issues the game has, you will get your money’s worth out of it. The game is still under construction and it is understandable that multiplayer will have problems of some description.
Viscera Cleanup Detail provides players with a reasonable number of maps to play. Each map is completely different and it is quite interesting to try and understand just what has gone on in the space station to warrant blood and mysterious green slime on the ceiling. In one map you’ll find yourself wandering around a space station full of plants and nature, while in another map you’ll be thrown into a huge area that kept monsters in containment – presumably to conduct suspicious experiments on them. This game does atmosphere very well and the level design greatly attributes to this.
There is not a lot to comment on in terms of sound for this game. There isn’t a soundtrack, there aren’t themes for final bosses that resemble a giant sponge. Sounds that you will hear consist of the splashing of your mop against puddles, putting waste bins into an incinerator and the whir of the engines in the space station. Because there are so few sounds in the game, it seems to really drag you in and make you focus on what you are doing. You’re not distracted by an overly excited track of music in the background. You can take your time and relax as you clean up. VCD is not a game that is trying to get you excited and in the mood for cleaning. Cleaning is not exciting and it is certainly not entertaining, unless you have severe OCD and find enjoyment in such a thing.
With minimal but effective sound design, you are free to mute the sound and get into the mood yourself without the game trying to force it upon you. Putting on music of your own might be something that you would prefer over the squishing sounds of meaty corpses. You are not punished in any way for turning your sound down. There are no enemies that are going to sneak up behind you if you are not looking in their direction.
This game was developed in the Unreal Engine, an engine that is known for offering great quality graphics. Games that are made in UE are generally very easy to pick out from the crowd, and this is true for VCD as well. Everything looks fairly polished and clean in terms of textures and shadows are not choppy and hard to make out. Due to the decent graphics that have been provided by UE, overall the game looks fairly good, except for some of the blood splatters that can occur from throwing body parts around. While I am not asking for 100% realism when it comes to video games, the textures of the blood will often glitch out and clip on the walls in very funny ways. Despite this, it is not a huge complaint and for the amount of physics objects that players can actually interact with, the game is incredibly stable and handles everything rather well.
Another small problem I had with this game is the fact that you could infinitely spawn buckets from the dispensers, which are generally found near the spawning location of the level. I actually discovered this problem by pure accident and my friend decided to take advantage of this while we were playing together. Within a matter of minutes we had spawned a whole room full of buckets and my framerate was virtually nothing. Although it was funny at the time, it pointed out a few flaws in the game that will hopefully be ironed out in the future.
Viscera Cleanup Detail encourages players to explore the levels they play and take in everything about it, including the story. Each level has its own unique story, with digital notepads for you to pick up and read, discovering just what had happened in the space station, or another story that is completely irrelevant to your task at hand. Whether the stories are relevant or not is not an issue though, and it provides a bit of depth to the game over all. Notes can also be picked up in the janitor’s office, and they are quite humorous to read through if you happen to enter the office.
Okay, so maybe it doesn’t offer much in terms of story, but you can’t deny that what Runestorm has given players is incredibly funny to read. It’s not often you see Vanilla Ice referenced in a video game these days. Each level has something to explore, something to laugh at, something to brighten the seemingly dull mood of completing a demeaning job of being a janitor in space.
In conclusion, this game is great fun whether you’re playing alone or with a couple of friends. This game is fun whether you’re cleaning up or making a huge mess and destroying the physics of the Unreal Engine. The game is currently priced at $9.99 USD and there are even two spin-offs of this game – Santa’s Rampage and Shadow Warrior. Viscera Cleanup Detail is bound to keep you entertained, or help you kill some time before you go to your actual janitorial job in the real world.