EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Camrin Santchi
previewed on PC
Simulator games can often be considered hit or miss depending on a few factors. These can include the topic that is being simulated, to how much of a straight simulation the game is. Farming Simulator is an example of the latter, allowing players to get into the nitty-gritty of farming, while a game such as Goat Simulator is as wacky as humanly (Goatly?) possible. In this regard, PowerWash Simulator is definitely more in the realistic category, and it most certainly pays off.
As far as story goes it’s pretty simple, but works as a way to let players get into things slowly. Armed with a pressure washer and an unlimited supply of water, the faceless/voiceless protagonist sets to work on a lucrative venture of starting a power-washing business in the fictional town of Muckingham. It is an aptly named town considering the downright horrid conditions of the items the player will be washing.
The washing itself is, of course, the main focus of the game. Taking strides from the waves of ‘satisfying’ videos on the internet of something melting or sanded or anything else, PowerWash Simulator takes care to give players an authentic power-washing experience thanks in no small part to the sound design of the pressure washer itself and the visual impact of watching layers of grime be forcefully swept away by a torrent of pressurized H20. Gamers start with a single light duty pressure washer, but as they progress will acquire upgrades by completing jobs. Players can upgrade to parts that allow the spray to reach further, or a ‘turbo’ or soap nozzle and then even higher grade washers for larger tasks.
Nooks and Crannies
There are two types of missions available in the Career Mode of PowerWash Simulator, but the diversity within those types of missions more than makes up for it. Vehicle jobs are smaller and more focused on finding nooks and crannies to make sure as much grime as possible is cleaned off for a job well done. Building jobs are much broader and thankfully more forgiving completion wise. To contrast these two modes the current build of PowerWash Simulator also contains a ‘Free Play’ mode that allows players take on previous jobs with any new equipment or resources they have unlocked, a ‘Trial’ mode that limits the amount of time or water supply for a specific job, and a ‘Special’ mode that currently consists of the Mars Rover itself getting a good thorough cleaning. These modes add quite a bit to the longevity of the game, which is good to note considering the simplistic structure and premise.
Music is rather lacking in the game. Instead there is only ambient noise based on the location and beyond that just the sound of the player’s footsteps and pressure washer. This was no doubt done to add to the focus on the washer itself and the ‘satisfaction factor’ as the dirt folds away. Players can however add music of their own, or a podcast or anything else, similar to how those who use actual power washers may make use of music during the course of their washing to add to the calming element of the game.
As mentioned above PowerWash Simulator does have some moments of frustration - on Building jobs there will often be one particular area that needs to be washed from below to get the last pesky bits of grime from it, while Vehicle jobs may need clever angling in order to put extra pressure on rust. These frustrations come with the territory of wielding a pressure washer, so it isn’t particularly surprising, and it is easily resolved by making use of several other tools at your disposal. For example, there is a button to make dirt and grime glow so gamers know where to focus their attention, and by selecting an item in the menu it will start to flash so players can tell exactly WHICH window sill is the stubborn one that wasn’t fully cleaned rather than having to go over all of them with a fine toothed comb - or in this case a focused nozzle.
Good Clean Fun
Currently PowerWash Simulator is slated to leave Early Access for a full release sometime in May 2022, and the developers on Steam are keeping a consistently updated Dev Log of patch notes, future updates, and other things that they plan on implementing in the future - including multiplayer. As a fan of the satisfaction that comes with getting everything clean, this reviewer would say this is one project to keep an eye on.
There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.