Game Review: PowerWash Simulator

Release date: 2022
Version played: Xbox Series X in 2022

Developed by FuturLab and published by Square Enix, PowerWash Simulator is an arcade/simulator cleaning game released in 2022. Taking control of a silent and unnamed worker, players are given a personal use powerwasher and set to task cleaning various objects and locations, ranging from small dirt bikes to entire buildings. By cleaning up, players earn funds which can be spent on additional, more powerful washing guns as well as attachments and cleaning products for them, alongside various aesthetic accessories.

+ the game has one trick, but holy smokes it is incredibly satisfying. Much like the unrelated but similar Lawn Mowing Simulator before it, the game doesn’t have a wide variety of ways to get the job done, but the job here is to powerwash things, and so you have a powerwasher. Grime and graffiti is blasted off in an immensely rewarding way, and you’ll be swapping between different levels of power and the use of soap to get even the most disgusting public bathroom clean enough to eat out of
+ the variety of levels ramps up from relatively simple to obscenely tricky almost immediately (in terms of how long you might spend looking for a single speck of dirt). I think the second area of the game has a rock pool that requires you to get into every tiny crevasse; it’s the “difficulty” that is what is most rewarding
+ after every mission, a short time lapse of your work is shown to you. I’d be even more content with some sort of full replay mode, and it’s something that I now really wish Lawn Mowing Simulator would implement as well

powerwashsimulator_2
It is difficult to convey the immense satisfaction in a static image.

– with a regular controller, there are some slightly clunky controls. The game is clearly designed for mouse and keyboard use, including having to use the control sticks to move a cursor in the menus. I will never use this phrase again, but I really wish this was on the Wii or Switch, because I think motion controls and/or a VR headset would achieve new levels of zen
– each individual piece has some overly forgiving and inconsistent ‘completion’ percentages; some walls will require you to wash barely two-thirds before they are counted as finished, but others will require you to go over it with a magnifying glass just to find a single missing speck. I would prefer that the remaining dirt not simply disappear, but the area be marked as completed at the particular percentage, just so the weirdos among us can go over it properly
– why does this not have split screen? You can do up to six players online, but where is the fun in that when you could divvy up a site between you and a couch companion?

> there is sort of a story to the game, told through text messages before, during and after each job. I have no strong feelings for it overall, but I guess I had a few chuckles

Should you play this game: I know how ridiculous it sounds, but this is one of the most basic and simple game you’ll find but it is an absolute time drainer: you’ll start washing a playground and, before you realise it you’ve lost an hour of your time. I loved this, and I triggered that OCD completionist in me like few other games ever have.

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