Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 07/14/2022
Also Available On
I never thought that I would have so much fun with a chore. There are various curated threads online about watching power washing. It’s satisfying to see someone turn an incredibly dirty surface into a sparkling clean one like wiping a window with a squeegee. There are many jokes about missing a spot and everyone in the comments losing their minds. r/powerwashingporn is a popular subreddit dedicated to these videos. FuturLab has done an incredible job of making this chore feel fun and satisfying. There’s even a silly story that’s evolved over the course of the Early Access phase involving gnomes.
Every surface is covered in dirt, rust, mud, or some type of grime. You get a power washing nozzle and you spray things down until they turn clean. You can decide what to spray, what direction, and in what order. That’s part of the fun. Tackling each area in a certain way is satisfying and fun for you. Your tools include various spray nozzles that have different widths as well as spray liquid for getting tough areas, but this stuff is expensive and limited. You also have a spray gun that shoots various distances. These can be bought and unlocked with money by completing levels. You are paid at the end of a level and you can see a sped-up replay of your work. There are also cosmetic items such as your suit and gloves.
Some levels are multi-storied so you get step stools, ladders, and scaffolding that can be moved around and put wherever you need it. There are a few levels that have some frustrating buildings to clean such as the giant shoe level. There is a meter on each surface that shows how complete it is and sometimes it can be hard to find that one dirt spot that’s keeping the surface from dinging. Thankfully there is an illuminate dirt button that turns all dirt a golden yellow for a few seconds so you can see what you’re missing. Getting down the last percent in each level can get annoying as you’re just hunting down that last dirt spot. There is also a list of each surface and the percentage that they’re cleaned, so you can at least eventually narrow it down.
There isn’t any background music. You just get ambient noises like birds chirping or cars driving in the background. It’s a very silent game. You’re best just playing your own music in the background as this is a very zen game where you can veg out and not think about much. I also appreciate the control scheme on a controller too. It’s easy to control and you don’t have to move your aim camera back and forth like you used to in Early Access. You can now press a button to move your sprayer within the frame of the camera. This can reduce motion sickness and overall irritation. It wasn’t a big problem on a PC with a mouse, but it was unbearable with an analog stick. Most levels can take you 1-3 hours to complete depending on how big they are. There are smaller challenges that involve just cleaning a vehicle like an RV, alien spaceship, Mars rover, or bicycle. Levels get more complex as you go on with more small objects and more complicated surfaces. Things like planes, boats, helicopters, and the previously mentioned shoe house can get really busy. I would end up doing some levels in multiple sessions. The longest level I spent time on was nearly five hours.
Again, you have to like this kind of thing to see an appeal to it. The visuals are bright and colorful, but rather basic and simple. There is no raytracing, AI anti-aliasing, or anything complex rendering-wise. The game can technically get very repetitive, but that’s actually the point of this game. I feel many may mistake this game for a business simulator when you only do the power washing and buy upgrades and cosmetics. I had a blast (no pun intended) with this game and FuturLab is still putting out content that I need to catch up on. Overall, PowerWash Simulator is one of the most relaxing and satisfying games I’ve ever played.