Several video games conceal secret titles, essentially asking for each and every storytelling string to be tried to pull to reveal the hidden things behind those phrases. That’s not the situation with PowerWash Simulator. Its straightforward name implies that it is exactly what you’re saying it is: the opportunity to live out your dream(?) as a liquid hired gun, moving from job to job until all the dirt is blasted in to other extinction. There isn’t much variety in such a vocation, and boredom can set in, but an essentially simple yet satisfying style of game mechanics provides a great way to unwind across numerous beautifully decorated levels. Yes, it is simply simulating the most often menial act of pelting your patio once a year, but PowerWash Simulator elevates itself above what could easily to be inanity by subtly gamifying the housework and sweeping the most vexing parts under the rug. Anyway, let’s avoid getting too philosophical: Here’s my review of a game about rinsing a 30-foot-high shoe.
PowerWash Simulator has a calming effect on me. Perhaps it’s because I’m currently sweltering in heat but unable to move without sweat tainting my vision, but the sheer volume of water being blasted onto the screen is borderline intoxicating. It’s like visual white noise, and I’ve lost hours to this mindfulness meditation sim about nothing except cleaning the hell out of whatever is put in front of you. It eliminates all of the annoyances of conventional power washing, such as lugging a bulky machine around, tripping over extension cables, and so on, rather concentrating on the act of shrieking water into a wall. The absence of music and voice acting adds to the calm, with only the rushing water breaking the silence – aside from the ‘thump’ loudness that feels each time an object is completely clean, that adds a real Conditioned response edge to litigation.
Either every task starts the same manner you are confronted with a scene closely resembles the effects of a Splatoon session won by the brown team, and your mission is to clean up the mess and restore it to its original perfectly clean state. If you’re feeling particularly obtuse, you could even call something the first shooter if the aliens and army men were replaced by nonliving plastic planter boxes and delicate hardwood vines. As during strikingly long career mode, which lasts more than 20 hours, you must build your limited business by taking request after request, cleaning up buildings and vehicles before investing the money your revenues in better power cleaners and their corresponding connections and body washes.
No matter what job you’re working on, you use the broadest angle of the five purchasable diffuser types to blast away wide portions of dirt on larger surfaces before switching to a more aggressive, narrow nozzle to deal with the intricacies. To get rid of stubborn materials like lichen, moss, and rust, a more concentrated burst of water is necessary. To clean dirt and grime out of various grooves, corners, and crannies, you must change your angle, but that is it. It’s the definition of a rinse-and-repeat job: low on challenge but high on methodology. It’s a highly satisfying loop, though, as a daunting 100-square-foot roof gradually transforms into a clean slate to be proud of – not before leaving a second-rate Jackson Pollock and childish messages in the dirt. The majority of the levels are lengthy, often taking well over an hour to scrub to 100% and earn that coveted five-star rating. And there are over thirty job vacancies in total to keep you engaged. The more stars you collect in career mode, the more difficult the levels become. Earning both stars and money is how you advance, allowing you to spend your money on better electric washer technology to make long-term jobs easier. Over the course of the story, progression may be limited to only a few options, but tangible modifications to each tool can be felt, with each more expensive power washer increasing in strength.
That said, not much testing of the system is required, and I soon went on my loadout of choice, complete with a long extension that promoted the washer’s range and the second-widest angle nozzle, which provides a pleasurable balance of force and area of effect. I was having so much fun that I found myself shouting “edges set nozzle Unit!” as I hosed down as part of a fire station, as if I were on a Call of the Duty frag grenade. I must have appeared stupid.
Cleaning liquids, one for each relevant surface such as metal, wood, etc., can be used, but they are limited in supply and must be used wisely to maximise their effect. While they do make some challenges easier, I mostly ignored them.