Game of the week: PowerWash Simulator cleans up in menial tasks genre

In a world where household chores are inspiring video games, the chance to be a domestic dirtbuster is sweeping aside the competition

PowerWash Simulator requires players to clean areas and objects until they look brand new. Photo: Square Enix
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The world of gaming can take you to faraway places, allowing you to experience things that humanity can barely imagine. Or it can let you hose down some vinyl flooring for half an hour.

Enter PowerWash Simulator, which puts players in the shoes of a professional power washer.

It's developed by FuturLab and published by Square Enix, and it's proving to be more addictive than you might expect at first.

POWERWASH SIMULATOR

Developer: FuturLab
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Console: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Rating: 4/5

While many see it as a chore, for others, cleaning can be meditative.

It is one of a growing number of games that lean into the mundane to surprisingly satisfying ends, allowing players to do various tasks as if they were done in real life. These games are called “simulators” because they simulate the experience as close as possible to reality.

The game, which was first released on the PC and Xbox in 2022 and arrived on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 last year, is set in the fictional town of Muckingham, players begin with simple washing tasks, washing vehicles or small gardens.

With every task completed, the size of the next increases, allowing the player to invest money earned into purchasing better equipment and materials.

Serenity now

Naturally, your first question may be: why play this instead of roaming around an infinite world as a cowboy in the Old West?

Simply put, sometimes what gaming needs is a calm and quiet world. Moreover, just like doing the laundry in real life, menial tasks allow you to spend some time in your head.

PowerWash Simulator might seem like a simple game, but players still need to make choices to complete a task properly. These challenges present themselves in the form of choosing what tool to use or which chemical compound will work best on different surfaces.

It's the same feeling as washing your own car and standing back to admire the shimmering fruits of your labour.

No task is too big

Players begin with achievable tasks that quickly grow more difficult as the game progresses.

One of the best things about the game's level advancement is that things never feel like they’re getting too big, too fast. The difficulty of the task increases gradually and players can decide in what way they'll choose to tackle to task, allowing for several solutions to a problem.

Interestingly, the game does start to become more abstract and bizarre in its tasks towards the end of the game. Without giving too much away, the locales certainly become more interesting and less grounded in the familiar.

Verdict

PowerWash Simulator is an excellent addition to the many simulator games on offer. These games deliver a fulfilling and realistic experience, with some even being educational.

Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or someone looking for some relaxing downtime while listening to soothing music, this is a therapeutic experience like few games can offer.

Updated: January 06, 2024, 7:53 AM
POWERWASH SIMULATOR

Developer: FuturLab
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Console: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Rating: 4/5