There are so many tasks we could complete around the home, but instead we find ourselves cleaning things in a videogame.
The simulator genre is a weird one, often tasking players with completing menial tasks. But there’s something strangely alluring and addictive about the likes of mowing fancy lawns or running your own gas station. And finally available on PlayStation and Switch consoles is PowerWash Simulator, a must-have game for all the clean freaks out there.
But even if you’re not obsessive about things being free of mud, dirt and other detritus, there’s a good chance you’ll come to be absorbed by PowerWash Simulator. A simulator it may be, but it doesn’t bog itself down with needless complexity or realism. You don’t need to worry about damaging things by using too much pressure, for example, or using too much water (for the most part, anyway). This is a videogame first and a recreation of using a pressure washer second.
Jump into career mode and you’ll start with a bog-standard washer and with just one job: clean a van caked in dirt. It’s a good introduction to your journey ahead, teaching you how to change and rotate the various nozzle available to you to clean efficiently. Light dirt, for example, can be easily cleaned with a nozzle that disperses water in a wide area at lower pressure. But those stubborn bits? They’ll need a more forceful, focused stream.
As you progress through your career, cleaning everything from playgrounds, bungalows, fountains and a whole lot more, you’ll acquire money that can be invested to make your work easier. Alongside more powerful pressure washers, there are attachments that make working at distances more effective, and you can even acquire a range of fluids to help break down the grime on specific surfaces. What’s on offer isn’t extensive, but it provides a nice sense of progression and variety nonetheless.
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Ultimately, it’s the act of cleaning that makes PowerWash Simulator so engrossing. It’s like a non-violent first-person shooter where your only enemy is filth. Using your pressure washer, you wear it down bit by bit, earning money piecemeal for completing key components of your job such as a driveway or a window. And it’s effectively up to you when your work is done: your aim is to get to 100%, but if another job comes in that you find more interesting, you can take that on then come back later.
There’s something strangely rewarding about entering a garden that looks like it’s been covered in soot, or arriving at a disgustingly filthy fountain and then making it look brand new again. It’s not always an easy job, though. Sometimes you’ve got to get into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, or employ additional equipment such as ladders or even scaffolding. And it can be time-consuming: a small job might only take you minutes, but cleaning something more substantial? Perhaps a couple of hours. Or even more.
Your PowerWash Simulator career will last tens of hours, then. And there’s a lot more than just doing simple jobs. Numerous special projects are available, letting you clean more unusual objects in stranger locales. There are challenges, too, where time or water is constrained. You’ll have to be really on top of your game to conquer these. To make these special assignments and challenges even more of a task, you’ll also find your equipment limited.
Some might even find PowerWash Simulator therapeutic. It’s mostly stress-free, allowing you to just concentrate on doing a good job at your own pace. And even better, it needn’t be played alone. Online co-op is available, allowing friends, family members and even complete strangers to clean together. Work effectively, and you can make a location or object looking sparkling new in record time.
The only thing that detracts a little from the PowerWash Simulator experience for us is a lack of music. It would be nice to have something to tap out feet to as we clean, but alas, there’s nothing. You’ll have to provide your own music instead.
PowerWash Simulator is the type of game that you sit down to play for 15 minutes, then realise hours have gone by. It may not be full of intense action or have a rivetting story, but once it’s got its hooks in you, it’s hard to break free. The desire to clean just one more object is strong. Still, it’s an acquired taste: it does simply have you undertaking menial jobs after all. But if you like stress-free games and don’t mind repetitive tasks, the reward of making things look shiny and new is considerable.