PowerWash Simulator Review

Cleaning up.
PowerWash Simulator Review Header

While a relatively new phenomenon on consoles, the niche simulator genre has been a longstanding fixture for PC gamers. From being a car mechanic to a lumberjack or even a palaeontologist, there’s a myriad of options available. Farming games have been perhaps the most popular ones to make the journey across to consoles, but the divide is beginning to lessen with the likes of Lawn Mower Simulator being playable for couch gamers too. The latest offering across all formats is the majestic PowerWash Simulator, arriving this summer to let you hide from the burning ball in the sky and chilled out spraying the dirt away.

It’s immediately obvious to see PowerWash Simulator’s inherent appeal; it’s a powerfully powerfully meditative experience and a perfect comparison piece to more involved and challenging titles. Jumping from the early days in Early Access to a full game, it wasn’t clear how Futurlab might make a narrative out of washing dirty things for the Story/Career Mode, or whether the appeal of spraying your washer would last throughout the game’s full playtime.

Of course, the core of the game is always going to be that soothing powerwashing experience, and that’s ably helped by the simplistic art direction. Playing on PC, frame rates were smooth, dirt easy to spot (aside from some cheeky hidden ledges and other crannies), and the whole experience controls brilliantly with keyboard and mouse. A quick go on the Xbox version via Game Pass shows that nothing is lost in the translation to controller, so it’s easy to recommend that you just pick the one that you prefer. The audio and sound effects are good, but to be honest I mostly played with the sound low whilst listening to YouTube videos, an approach that this game is perfectly suited for.

PowerWash Simulator Review Clean Van

When you start off in the Career mode, you’ll only have access to an initial powerwasher with more powerful versions and different attachments being unlocked as you progress and save up the money you earn from cleaning. While it is possible to buy everything by the end of the game, it’s worth planning ahead in the early parts when money is tight. Not all of the attachments are equally useful, whilst those looking to play quickly will need to save money for the different soaps to speed things up.

The full game also includes a number of aesthetic items too, from washer skins to brightly coloured overalls. While none of these add much to the single player experience, they can be nice in multiplayer as you show off your virtual bling.

Whether you blow your financial load on pretty clothes or more powerful nozzles, working your way through the Career will see you take on a delightful range of dirtied objects and environments. These begin with fairly mundane examples such as vans and gardens before more esoteric challenges of a helter skelter and aeroplane. All the while, you’ll be receiving text messages that quietly set the scene for a narrative that I was not expecting. Suffice it to say, the final levels will have you scratching your head if you haven’t been paying attention, but make perfect sense if you have.

PowerWash Simulator Review Helter Skelter

The main Career is generous, with 40 hours or so of content if you aim to fully finish every challenge, and there are also one off challenge tasks and modes that force you to either race the clock or clean with a limited supply of water. The sheer amount of things to do is admirable, especially given that the game initially seemed to be a throwaway joke. It’s easy enough to suspend your cleaning in the middle of a challenge, but I found myself staying awake until the early hours on more than a few occasions due to the compulsive nature of the gameplay.

Summary
PowerWash Simulator is a rare example of a game that more than lives up to its expectations. If the calming loop of the gameplay gets you then you’ll easily find hours of your life disappearing along with the dirt and grime. Add in some interesting challenge modes and a story that caught me by surprise and you have a game that more than deserves your time.
Good
  • Compulsive, calming gaming
  • Excellent variety in locations
  • Surprisingly interesting story
Bad
  • Core gameplay is fundamentally the same throughout
  • May makes you feel guilty about not doing real world chores
8
Written by
Just your average old gamer with a doctorate in Renaissance literature. I can mostly be found playing RPGs, horror games, and oodles of indie titles. Just don't ask me to play a driving game.

1 Comment

  1. I think I’ll wait for the watching paint dry simulater!

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