PowerWash Simulator review

PowerWash may sound about as exciting as watching paint dry, but don’t let the rather mundane name put you off, this is a very relaxing and satisfying game very reminiscent of a recent game called Unpacking. This is all about cleaning multiple surfaces and removing the dirt with a high-powered stream of water, and it may be the best ‘simulator’ game out there right now.

PowerWash Simulator is currently riding high, up there in the top 5 most popular games on Xbox Game Pass. Its rise to the top has been meteoric, which included a year in early access where the devs took feedback and perfected the oddly satisfying formula. Think of it like a first-person shooter, or a reverse Splatoon. The concept is simple; the environment is dirty, and you have to use your power washing to clean it. Just point, shoot and wash… it’s super simple.

There’s a career mode in the game with a thin, but entertaining narrative. If you are new to the game then I’d definitely start here as you get taught the basics along the way, and the difficulty or amount of items to powerwash slowly ramps up over time. The first thing to clean is a Van, then you progress up to houses, playgrounds and other vast outside areas with a variety of surfaces and items to powerwash.

The game is very satisfying and that’s all down to how the game feels. There are different attachments for your powerwasher, allowing you to clean surfaces to a high shine. The attachments and nozzles offer up a variety of ways to spray, and this includes spraying your water jet at a wider angle, although if you want to remove the hard-baed in the dirt you’re going to need something a little more focused. While some attachments allow you to change the angle or the water spread, others allow you to change the range you can spray water from… some increased range, and some are more effective at shorter distances. While changing attachments like this can be a pain in real life, here in PowerWash Simulator its nice and simple and available at the touch of a button on a nozzle wheel.

The feel of PowerWashing is great in the game. There’s a relaxing audio track that goes along with the game, although I find myself listening to other things while playing, whether that be music or podcasts. If you like listening to podcasts while playing something, this could be the best podcast game we’ve ever seen. You can sit, back, relax and powerwash your way into a Zen-like state of complete relaxation. There’s a certain amount of ‘getting in the zone’ which reminded me of a recent game like Neon White, or Tetris Connected.

Throughout the career mode you can earn money from the power washing jobs you complete, and the money can then be invested back into upgrades for your power washing equipment. I recently bought myself a new hoover and carpet cleaner for my apartment, something which has been long overdue owing to our recent puppy, but I got the same satisfaction from buying new equipment in PowerWash Simulator, as I did from buying this IRL equipment. I never thought I’d turn into that guy who gets excited by purchasing cleaning equipment, but here we are.

Alongside career mode, there’s also Free Play mode which allows you to replay jobs you have completed. There’s also a Specials mode where you can take on favourite locations, and slightly more crazy or ‘out there’ locations like the Mars Rover or a large theme park. Challenge mode is where things get really interesting, where you have to take on jobs and tasks within a time and water limit. Successfully completing challenges will award you medals and it’s a nice change of pace from the other relaxing modes in the game. There is also a multiplayer mode too where you and up to five others take on the power washing challenges.

PowerWash Simulator does have a lot of relaxing upsides, however, the game isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. If you liked recent games like Unpacking, or other games in the simulator genre (which there are plenty these days from the tractor, PC building etc) then you’ll likely take to PowerWash Simulator. It may not be you for, as I can see it could be boring. I have seen a lot of players on Twitch, hanging out with their chat while they are simply washing along with the chat. It’s a decent, simple task that is likely to calm you down and it’s low effort if you want to do something else at the same time. Maybe you have a really stressful job, like working in A&E or something like that, PowerWash Simulator could be a decent way to unwind at the end of a very stressful day.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by PowerWash Simulator. It’s also available on Xbox Game Pass too, so if you are subscribed to that I’d give it a go and see what you think. It seems to have struck a chord with fans online, with it leaping to the top of the charts on Xbox Game Pass. It’s also one of the most popular games on Steam right now, so if you want to see what all the power washing fuss is about, then jump right in a try it for yourself.

Developer: FuturLab
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, PC
Release Date: 14th July 2021