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The RPS Advent Calendar 2022, December 12th

Jumbo jets

In this work-a-day world it can be difficult to find moments of satisfaction. Well, let the twelfth game on the RPS Advent Calendar deliver a concentrated pressure hose of satisfaction right onto your dirty driveway

Tool up and get ready to clean the heck out of some surfaces in PowerWash Simulator.

Cleaning in real life may or may not be less fun than cleaning in PowerWash SimWatch on YouTube

CJ: I never thought a game that should feel like pure work would end up being one of the standout experiences of the year for me. PowerWash Simulator became something of an obssession mid-year, and one that dragged in my wife and kids too. The best way I can summarise it, a surprisingly deep simulation of running your own spray cleaning business out of the back of a van that you have to give a jolly good washing first, is "satisfaction". It doesn't matter if you lose genuine hours of your life to hosing down rooftops or dinosaur playground equipment, because it always feels worth it to do a good job, and see that sparkle where once there was only thick grime.

My kids were happy to sit with me, pointing out bits I'd missed and shouting to turn the nozzle around. PowerWash revives that 90s spirit of home spectator gaming, and my family were all too eager to assist in my new business endeavour. It admittedly took my wife longer to be drawn in by PowerWash's charm; it wasn't until I moved on to cleaning down a whole house and garden that she started asking if she could have a go, and advising whether I should tackle the lawn furniture or roof next. Everyone succumbs to PowerWash in the end.

See, there's big satisfaction to be had from putting in the time with PowerWash Sim before you get to stand back and admire your cleaning might. Yet that's not what keeps you playing. After a few hours spraying down other people's astonishingly grubby property, anyone would need a breather. No, I keep revisiting PowerWash because it knows you finish a big job only to spot the next is a bloomin' great steam locomotive, or the mayor's mansion, or a Ferris wheel. Can you handle that much power(washing)? Are you a bad enough dude to make sure every inch of what you're hired to spray down is glistening? I'm not satisfied with just cleaning people's houses anymore. I need to make sure that Mars rover is just so.

Powerwashing a powerwashing company van in a PowerWash Simulator screenshot.

Rachel: I don’t want to think about the number of hours I’ve spent cleaning in this game. PowerWash Sim has been my go-to for kicking back and switching off my brain, all while obliterating dirt into nothing. I love watching those deep-cleaning rug TikToks, or the ones where some lady uses a single ScrubDaddy sponge to scour her entire kitchen - oven, microwave, sink, and all. I'm also a huge fan of "clean up a big ol’ mess" kinda games like House Flipper and Viscera Cleanup Detail, but there's something about PowerWash Sim that just hits differently.

It starts off with easy jobs like cleaning a mucky car and washing a nasty dirt bike but ramps up to cleaning an entire fishing boat, a giant Ferris wheel, and - my personal favourite - the outside of an entire old-timey steam train. I don’t even wanna know how it got that dirty. The ease and satisfaction of removing the toughest muck and blasting grime into oblivion is a videogame high I’m always chasing. Looking at your handiwork when everything is sparkling clean feels powerful. You feel powerful.

A screenshot from PowerWash Simulator which shows the player powerwashing a theme park sign.
Image credit: Square Enix

It’s surprisingly also a great social game. I wrangled some friends into joining my cleaning hijinks and it worked out so well we started meeting once a week in-game for a catch-up. That filthy kid’s playground didn’t stand a chance with three powerwash experts on the case.

But I think what I like the most about PowerWash Sim is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but has been made in complete sincerity, and I respect that.

Alice0: When I first heard about PowerWash Simulator, I thought it might would be one of those bad wacky X Simulator games where you just click on stuff in sequence. No, it's really fun, and often fiendish.

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