Game Recs

You need to play 2022’s most soothing game on Xbox Game Pass ASAP

Wash away the stress of your day.

Godliness is a common denominator in games. We love to feel powerful, to control things, to create. Games let us live forever or repeat our mistakes over and over until we get them right. Yet, there is an aspect of godliness many games overlook. Cleanliness, which the Bible says is next to godliness, is hardly explored as a power fantasy. Until now.

This power fantasy is of the washing variety. PowerWash Simulator may seem dull as dishwater on the surface, but if you keep scrubbing you’ll find a game that is strangely soothing. It’s a unique and refreshing reminder that video games can still surprise us and that new ideas still exist.

There’s a lot to like about PowerWash Simulator from the very beginning. It has an astonishingly low barrier of entry. There is no lore, no unique mechanics, no heavy lifting required to understand the fundamentals. Things are dirty. You clean them. Beginning, middle, end. That’s it. You’re either going to be here for its simplicity, or you’re not. Given the recent explosion of the cozy games genre the last few years, it’s fair to say many of us are here for it.

The campaign is as straightforward as you’d expect. You own a power washing company. You’d like it to be bigger, better, more successful. So you work. You start small, a few odd jobs here and there. Soon you buy a better power washer. Maybe some fancy soap. Bigger jobs start to get more manageable. Bigger checks roll in.

A man, a van, a canal ... Panama?Square Enix

You get the idea. The longer you play, the more you’ll unlock. How long will you play? That’s the real hook. Start checking reviews online and you’ll find a surprising number of “I thought this would make for a silly video but I ended up liking it and I can’t explain why” takes. Kudos to FuturLab for understanding solid game design here. The feel of the game is sublime. It requires patience, not brain power. If you’re the type of gamer who looks for something to zone out to for podcasts or music then this is about to be your new favorite game.

Why is it so soothing? Good sound helps too. The gentle whoosh of the water is akin to a Sharper Image white noise machine, and a soft, satisfying *ding* occurs when you’ve completely cleaned a piece of a project. It might as well be the sound of a hit of dopamine dipping out of your hypothalamus.

A monumental task made easy.Square Enix

PowerWash Simulator also knows it's a video game, which is why it succeeds as one. It understands it needs to deliver on fantasy, so your cleaning targets get more varied and fanciful the more you play. You’re not just spraying decks. Expect everything from planes, trains and automobiles to castles, playgrounds and spaceships. This is the perfect game to take the edge off a long week or decompress after a marathon session in something more intense.

PowerWash Simulator is available now on Xbox Game Pass. It’s also available for purchase on Xbox and Steam.

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