Skip to main content

Spilled! is PowerWash Simulator’s oceangoing cousin, and just as chilled

Waste and relaxation

Using a water cannon to clean oil of a rock in Spilled!. The Gamer Network Wishlisted logo/mascot is added in the bottom-right corner.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Lente

I’ve been scouring Steam Next Fest demos specifically for something laid back, and Spilled! – despite sounding like the title of a musical about upturned milk – has delivered nicely. It’s a light and breezy ocean cleanup game that has you sailing a cute lil’ boat around polluted seas, cleansing oil patches and scooping up plastic bottles. Even if it doesn’t have the every-last-speck detailing of PowerWash Simulator or Viscera Cleanup Detail, it satisfies in very similar ways, and I would very much like to get back out on the water whenever the full game is complete.

Spilled! technically operates on a cash-for-gunk system: returning any collected waste to a stationary mothership will reward you with coins, which can then be spent on improving your own boat’s speed, oil carrying capacity, and scoop size. Ultimately, though, these upgrades are optional, your only real task being the collection of those pollutants in the first instance. Plus the occasional rescue of gooed-up wildlife, who are subsequently added to... some kind of collection? It might just be a UI thing but I like to think all the animals come hang out on the boat out of gratitude.

Either way, the pleasure is very much found in the cleaning itself, rather than the rewards. And what a gentle, cosy kind of pleasure it is. Maybe as an English person, I just want to live out the fantasy of someone relieving my nation’s water of its turds, but anyone with a functioning heart should be warmed from within by Spilled!’s riverscrubbing. As the pitch-black splotches subside, hellish red waters gradually return to a crystalline blue, revealing even more happy fauna under the surface. Meanwhile, nearby hills are dotted liberally with solar panels and wind turbines, making each new stretch of spotless water feel like not just a return to the natural order but another step towards the harmonious green ideal that this world’s denizens have managed to figure out back on land.

Collecting a pile of plastic waste in Spilled!
Within minutes, you'll be sweeping up enough polyurethane to send MrBeast into a viciously jealous rage. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Lente

It’s not challenging in any way, but that’s kind of the point, and at least there are a few different types of clearable junk to break up the routine. Oil slicks can simply be sailed over, but discard plastic must be manually pushed back to the control ship, thus calling for more careful steering. Eventually you get a water cannon to clean up stains above the waterline; again, this might lack the puzzle element of PowerWash Sim’s swappable nozzles, but damned if I don’t smile at its cartoon bubbling effect.

On that note, Spilled! understands that any cleaning game worth its soap needs a healthy collection of ear-pleasing sounds. These keep the gratifaction coming, whether it’s the soft buzz of your oil vacuum, the airy doinking of plastic bottles knocking together in the scoop, or merely the light trickling as your boat passes through freshly cleared waters. That’s all on top of an appropriately flowy piano ‘n’ strings soundtrack, too.

You can try the demo yourself, including three stages of the game’s planned eight. Closer inspection of that Steam store page also reveals that Spilled! is actually being developed on a boat as well, so bonus seafaring points there for sure.

Read this next