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PowerWash Simulator is my new chill vibes game

I can’t afford a house but I sure can play this video game

Image: FuturLab/Square Enix
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

PowerWash Simulator is a refreshing game, and it’s not just because of the millions of gallons of water that you’ll use to mindlessly wash away sheets of grime. It’s exactly what the label on the tin says: You have a power washer, and you are confronted with things to clean. If you have ever watched an infomercial where a guy uses a power washer to immediately blast 500 years of accumulated filth away and thought, “Oh, hell yeah,” then you will enjoy PowerWash Simulator.

PowerWash Simulator is in early access, but it feels feature-complete. The core premise of the game works: There’s dirt, and you remove it via a highly pressurized stream of water. You can go through a narrative campaign, in which you take on jobs of increasing scope and deal with unusual clientele, or you can jump into a free mode or challenge stage, like cleaning the Mars Rover. This game doesn’t make you work to get to the cleaning, in other words.

However, PowerWash Simulator does make you work for every little hint of satisfaction. It takes time to wash everything, no matter how strong the nozzle is, and each job site is divided up into different tasks. For example, I’ll have to tend to the wall, the baseboards, the gutter, the porch, etc. There are few jobs that are just blasting my hose and instantly wiping the slate clean.

As soon as I clean off a layer of caked-on mud and grit from a brick wall with one sure sweep of the power washer, I get a little hit of dopamine. Chances are, I will never be able to own my own home and do this in real life, but it’s so pleasingly domestic to experience the simulated version.

I can use an in-game Spidey-sense to find little bits of dirt I missed with my eyes, but it still takes a decent amount of patience to hunt it all down. For every one-swipe wipe of grime, I spend a few minutes just staring into the middle distance as I sluice imperceptible layers of filth off a roof. It’s a game that, at times, can make House Flipper look like a high-octane thrill ride.

That’s OK, though, because PowerWash Simulator fits nicely into my gaming lineup as the ultimate low-energy game. When my brain is tired, or I’m not in the mood to compete or struggle in any way, I grab a power washer. It’s become a fantastic wind-down game before bed. I may never be a homeowner, but I can capture the most relaxing bits of home care with none of the hassle, and that’s pretty nice.

The next level of puzzles.

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