What do you look for when thinking about what kind of simulation game you want to play? A game where you do tasks you’d probably never do, like in Hardspace Shipbreaker? What about tasks that you’d like to do but take lots of dedication and training, like in Microsoft Flight Simulator? What about menial tasks? If you’re the latter, you’ve probably heard about Powerwash Simulator, developed by Futurlab and published by Square Enix. Powerwash Simulator, a game that’s stood out amongst the menial task sims, has received a lot of praise. Why is that?
Most importantly, it’s a very well-designed sim game that puts you in power-washing scenarios you’d probably never dream about. In Powerwash Simulator, you own a small power washing business. And your task? Help a town that’s been rampaged by some sort of muck tornado. Everything is disgustingly dirty, head to toe covered in filth. The only sign of who’s responsible? Little gnome statues like Half-Life’s Gnomechompski in later levels. But you are the only one who can stop this disgusting menace.
Sounds epic, right? Because that’s my headcanon. There is a story that slowly plays out as you clean up the many different scenarios through texts you receive from those commissioning you. But that’s about it. It’s very non-impactful to the overall gameplay. I honestly forgot to read some of the story bits because, well… the power washing was too engrossing.
The gameplay for Powerwash Simulator is simple. You have a powerwasher and unlimited water, and you just powerwash away on many different structures. The best part is that there is no worry about degradation or breaking objects. So no, you don’t have to worry about the water pressure when working on wood or possibly breaking glass. The only resources you really need to manage are the head sizes and types of soap.
For most of my experience, I stuck with the 15 head, a very focused sprayer that cleaned more than the 0. Even if it didn’t have as wide of an area as the 25, it still got the harder bits cleaned off. The powerwashers are so good in this world; they clean off rust and make metal look sparkly new. You can unlock more powerful base powerwashers, which can be bought with money, giving you a more powerful spray, reach, and general cleaning power.
They’re simple upgrades that give good incentives to play out the larger levels sooner. The sooner you get the more powerful base powerwashers, the easier the later levels get. Soaps, on the other hand, are a game changer. What I thought were just money pits were immensely helpful for larger levels. Soaps are dedicated cleaners for materials like metal, wood, plastics, etc. And they are like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. They wipe away parts that could have been significant time wasters without them. Even though they’re limited, I loved that there was still an option just to speed things up if you don’t mind spending the money to buy them (and delaying getting the next upgrade).
When I say these levels are big, I mean they’re expansive and detailed. Some levels can take about 2 hours to complete depending on efficiency. For context, I’ve been playing Powerwash Simulator since it entered early access on Steam. What I loved most about this game coming to Xbox is how they changed the game up to be more digestible. From making the larger pieces of structures more bite-sized to lowering the threshold for a part to be considered clean, it feels like there was actual thought put into making this game enjoyable on a system with less accuracy.
To have an object be considered cleaned, you need to clear off a certain percentage of it. You’ll get a little ding sound, and the object will glow, signaling it’s done. One of my biggest critiques of the PC version was how small that threshold was. I’d have an object that looked spotless to me, but the game wanted me to clean off a tiny spec I missed in a corner for it to count. I noticed during my Xbox playthrough that if I got the majority of an object cleaned, I got the credit.
Thank goodness, too, because the controls are not great. Some controls just don’t make sense, like using the D-pad to pick up an object or the face buttons to change attachments. The D-pad also turns on auto-spray instead of a face or bumper button. Thankfully, the controls can be remapped because it felt like someone just went down a list and assigned them to buttons in the order they appeared instead of where they made the most sense.
Powerwash Simulator is a very zen game. I lost hours of my life just spraying away doing something that felt menial but scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. This game isn’t for everyone, though. If you don’t find cleaning relaxing, or have issues with finer details, don’t play this. But if you give it a shot, you’ll find a game that is the perfect wind-down game after a long, stressful day. Particularly if you need a new game that you can just turn your brain off for and listen to your growing backlist of podcasts or audiobooks.
Powerwash Simulator is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox Game Pass, and PC.
Powerwash Simulator is a very zen game. I lost hours of my life just spraying away doing something that felt menial but scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. This game isn’t for everyone, though. If you don’t find cleaning relaxing, or have issues with finer details, don’t play this. But if you give it a shot, you’ll find a game that is the perfect wind-down game after a long, stressful day.