The are games that span epic periods of history and others that have you stand as the defender of your realm against unspeakable evils and even more that have you face dozens, even hundreds of players in large scale battles… and yet here I am happily cleaning a driveway. That’s what PowerWash Simulator does to me… and it might happen to you too. Developed by FuturLab, the game tasks you and your humble powerwasher with cleaning a number of locations and vehicles. As you progress, more jobs become available and the money you earn from these can be used to upgrade both your washer and the attachments you use.
The mechanics of the game are simple – you have to clean everything. For something like a golf cart it’s clear what you have to clean up (ie. all of it) and the game does assist with a menu that gives you percentage cleaned of individual parts so that you can identify where you’ve “missed a spot”. This becomes even more useful with locations that require a lot more agility in finding the parts requiring a clean. Additional items like ladders and scaffolding are available in some areas that require extra help in reaching places. The locations are usually to more challenging jobs due to scale and finding a method that lets you clean efficiently and understanding what tools you have available will assist on that too as you will may lean on specific attachments more than others by the way they clean.
Tip: If you are stuck finding that last scrap of dirt on a job, go to the menu listing the completion percentages and select the one that you need to finish. Going back to the game the related parts requiring cleaning will then flash onscreen.
The actual act of cleaning is just like a first person shooter where you aim and fire. The type of dirt and the attachments you are using can impact how quickly it cleans, using different detergents can help in the process, so it can be a combination of guesswork or persistence as most items will eventually clean. The difference between clean and dirty is easy to spot in the beginning but for some of the harder places where is a button that will flash onscreen the remaining parts to clean which is a very useful feature. The moment you complete any part and get the confirmation sound and visual feedback it feels like a major milestone and it’s easy to keep playing on despite some jobs potentially taking you more than a couple of hours to do.
The jobs that you complete also unlock in freeplay and challenge modes to add replay value to the game and the co-op mode is a really nice way to chill out with friends. On Xbox the achievements can add an element of further challenge with how you tackle some jobs, if you want to do them at the same time, and it’s nice to see that even if you fail at the achievement you have a second chance through freeplay to get them.
Visually the game isnt too bad and the artists have done a good job of hiding detailed and colourful locations and vehicles under the layers of dirt. Having that clear visual difference between clean and dirty goes a long way I helping players visualise the job at hand and to see the progress made. As you get to the end it’ll get harder to spot what you’ve missed but the visual aids make a significant difference and work well. Audio consists of location related background noises and of course the sound of your powerwasher which differs based on the model and attachments. The sound of cleaning is going to dominate your audio space for a long time playing so I can imagine most players will turn the volume down in favour of listening to music or chatting while you work.
And that chill aspect of PowerWash Simulator is where I think it succeeds brilliantly. Throw on some music or a podcast, jump into the game and chill out while you clean up. And you’ll happily spend all the time you need to finish it. I’ve played almost sixty hours so far to reach the end and it’s felt like time well spent through all of it. It’s even helped remind me what I could do with my own powerwasher around the house, so the experience has translated usefully into real life. Not something you can do with Call of Duty, is it? 😉
PowerWash Simulator is out now on PC and Xbox. Played on an Xbox Series X via Game Pass.