Never have I felt this type of satisfaction or (virtual) pride in my entire gaming career. That’s right, a game based around manual labour just became my favourite go-to gaming experience for those ”one last shot before bed” moments.
PowerWash Simulator is brought to us by the folks over at Futurlab, published by Square Enix. Previously working through Steam, us Xbox owners now finally have the chance to get our hands dirty, or clean as the case may be.
You start PowerWash Simulator learning the ropes, finding out how to clean objects and operate the power washer. First up is your van, the on-screen prompts acting as a tutorial by walking you through the various spray types, nozzles and even stances that you can hold. This simple tutorial level will get you prepared for the larger challenges ahead.
Distance, nozzle choice, direction and elevation all must be keenly studied to get that perfect wash. Not every nozzle will be appropriate for each task, with trial and error required in order to find the right fit for the job in hand. This is a must throughout PowerWash Simulator, but it never ever gets boring; finding the perfect attachment just adds to the satisfaction already felt.
The feature that will be of most use though is something that I’ve lovingly dubbed “PowerWash Vision”; activated with a simple press of right on the d-pad. Pressing this highlights all the areas in your surrounding area that still remain unclean, helping out in case it isn’t obvious in standard view mode. Occasionally, even when washing these areas the 100% ping doesn’t always pop, which can be frustrating for completionists, but on the whole it works well.
Learning the ropes of PowerWash Simulator is easy, however success will only be found with practice. Yes this a game that works the old saying – ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’. But stick with it and you will find yourself a pro powerwasher in no time, no matter which job comes your way next.
I almost feel like PowerWash Simulator should be reviewed in a similar way to how Jeremy Clarkson would speak about the Lexus LFA. It is a purebred simulator that shouldn’t work in a Fortnite/Roblox filled world, but somehow it does, so much so that it behind to feel like a privilege to be given the in-game jobs that are thrown your way. Granted, this isn’t your standard videogame, nor should it aspire to be, but following on in the footsteps of Goat Simulator and Lawn Mowing Simulator, PowerWash Simulator is already leaps and bounds above its novelty sim brethren.
Career mode, your first port of call in the game, is a simple set up – you must run a successful power washing business from the ground up. You have a tablet to select jobs to take on and will receive periodic text messages from potential customers in game requesting help.
Each area you clean has a value and earns you cash as you progress to a five star rating on your latest job. The cash can be used to buy new equipment from the in-game store, but you need not panic as there are no microtransaction purchases here, the cash is all earned in-game from your hard powerwashing work.
In the shop, you will find new power washers to buy, different cleaning liquids, new clothing and even modifications for your power washer, letting you change up and customise the look of your washer and extensions.
Learning which extension will work best for each job is also a learning curve, and trying them out on various locations is the best way to see which one to use. In the initial stages of PowerWash Simulator I tended to use the yellow or green nozzles as I found that while they give a narrower spray, they remove dirt the best.
Varied environments from the aforementioned van in a garage to a patio outside are all gloriously covered in dirt awaiting your professional service. There is no in-game music to immerse you, but ambience such as birds chirping and the roar from the power washer appropriately add to the atmosphere.
And it must be said, cleaning the dirt and grime from every area is very satisfying, and this comes with a note to Xbox to get a move on with haptic feedback specifically for this game! Besides the lack of rumble, it all just feels so relaxing as you go about attaining that clean 100% rating in the jobs you take on.
Speaking of taking on the jobs, you can opt to play in cooperation with a friend online, cleaning and co-ordinating areas to tackle. Cross play for co-op is also available for those with friends over on Steam.
Besides the career mode where you take your new business from the bottom to a cleaning powerhouse, you have a few other options to try out, each with their own unique twists on the formula. It’s a game that seems fit for some additional DLC levels to help expand the experience too. That’s not due to any lack of content, but simply just to add more fun areas to tackle.
Challenge mode is a solo option which has a set of areas where mods are added to the gameplay. Timers or water limits can be applied as you try to set scores, ready to top them the next time you play. This is great fun and will have you coming back time and time again.
Free play allows you to revisit your favourite jobs and spend as much time as you would like cleaning them. It must be said that this is for the leisurely player who wants to get every inch of grime removed, leaving stages spotless. This can be taken on with up to six players online and is perfect as an opportunity to revisit your favourite levels from career mode with a bunch of friends.
Lastly are the Specials, which also allow six player cleaning action. This is the wacky mode as you go about washing off the likes of the Mars Rover or even cleaning up a steam train. It’s certainly a brilliantly fun little selection of tasks, perfect to grab a group of mates to tackle.
Throughout PowerWash Simulator a genuine smile has been spread across my face, increased with every new grime filled area. Suddenly a task previously listed on my “I’ll get to it later” list in real life has became a joyous pleasure. “Therapy begins here” should be the tagline on PowerWash Simulator’s box and whilst it may not be a graphical showpiece for the Xbox Series consoles, when the fun level is so high, this is not an issue.
So, ever felt the mood to game, not sure what to play and found yourself throwing a game on only to realise you can’t be bothered after an hour of running round in circles in GTA? Well this right here is your answer. PowerWash Simulator is fun for both short and long gaming sessions, delivering instant virtual gratification from pressure washing goodness.
In my younger days never would I have dreamt that a game simulating one of the weekly chores given to me by my own dad would be this good. I just hope my wife doesn’t catch me playing PowerWash Simulator as there’s a chance I’ll be sent out to the real garden, and told to do some actual work.
I didn’t choose the dad life… the dad life chose me.
PowerWash Simulator is available from the Xbox Store