PlayStation Plus Just Quietly Released the Most Relaxing Sim Game of the Decade
There have been some exceedingly ridiculous simulator games over the years, from the infamous Goat Simulator to niche titles like Euro Truck Simulator. Beyond everything, one unlikely underdog simulator has managed to see monumental and enduring success. As it turns out, people simply love washing dirty stuff until it's sparkling clean, and PowerWash Simulator provides that in spades. Amid all the massive AAA experiences and 100-hour RPGs of 2023, PowerWash Simulator is the perfect laid-back title to just chill out with for hours on end, and PlayStation users can get it for free through PlayStation Plus in December.
The setup for PowerWash Simulator is straightforward. You take control of a small powerwashing company in the city of Muckingtown, and each job is a small contained map, where your only goal is to clean everything covered in dirt and grime.
It’s a simple game that’s as easy as picking up the controller and spraying things with water. However, there’s a surprising amount of depth that lies underneath the hood. For each mission, you have a list of items you’ll need to clean, each with a progress bar that fills as you “clean” that specific item. This helps give you a good idea of how thorough you need to be, giving you a reason to use different pieces of equipment.
In your washing endeavors, you have different spray nozzles that can change your water stream, allowing you to fine-tune your cleaning. You’ll also gain access to different cleaning liquids made for specific materials, extenders to give you longer reach, and even cosmetic options to change your equipment and character. All of these are unlocked by spending cash you earn through cleaning, meaning you can choose to focus your money on whatever cleaning options you enjoy the most.
That surprising depth is the key to what makes PowerWash Simulator so compelling, as you quickly find yourself lost in the repetition of it all. Hearing about PowerWash for the first time might sound monotonous, but there’s a sense of zen to the entire experience. It’s both calming and satisfying to see these gross dirty environments turn into sparkling colorful ones. It’s one of those games that quickly leads you to bargain yourself into “one more level,” and before you know it the clock has hit 4 a.m.
Developer FuturLab has done a fantastic job of creating a game that’s mechanically satisfying to play. The brilliance of the idea lies in how easy it is to wrap learn, but the deeper you get into the game the more complex these cleaning scenarios get. Each map starts to feel like a puzzle, requiring you to figure out the most effective way to clean and how to scrub off the more stubborn gunk.
What makes PowerWash Simulator even more interesting, however, are the additions the game has seen since its 2021 launch. Full multiplayer is now supported, giving you a chill bonding experience with some friends. Then there are the new themed mission packs. These add fascinating recreations of areas from iconic games and entertainment, like Final Fantasy 7, Tomb Raider, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Back to the Future.
These packs are a combo of free and paid expansions, but each one embraces the spirit of its respective series. Hosing down the scorpion tank from Final Fantasy 7 or the iconic Delorean only makes PowerWash even more fun, and each map is packed with fun Easter eggs and references. More importantly, these packs are thoughtful about what it would be like to wash levels from these series, mixing things up in interesting ways from the main game. Final Fantasy 7’s packs are filled with little story details that add to Square Enix’s game, while SpongeBob has a few gimmicks (like having to lift Patrick’s house to clean under it). The Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider packs are free, but you’ll have to purchase the others.
You’ve almost certainly never played anything quite like PowerWash Simulator, a title that manages to be both a soothing exercise and a thoughtful puzzle game. With the winter break separating big releases, PowerWash Simulator is the perfect title to get lost in for hours on end, and it’s much cheaper than getting into real powerwashing.