I had the chance to play Pool Cleaning Simulator early, a game developed by Rubens Games and FreeMind Games, published by PlayWay. Let's get this out of the way: this is heavily inspired by PowerWash Simulator, it just has other equipment apart from the pressure washer. However, I like giving games a chance, so let's see if a smaller business can compete with one of the big boys.
Before undertaking any job, you'll be preparing your equipment, such as sponges to clean up all types of messes, a pressure washer with different nozzles to clean pools efficiently, and chlorine tabs to disinfect the water. You only have so many inventory slots to work with at first, and every job requires certain tools before you can even accept it. It's sort of interesting, but your inventory will empty itself after every jo,b, and you have to equip all your stuff again, which is a little annoying. Once you arrive at the job location, all your objectives will basically run you through the entire job. Complete them all, and you'll be paid. It all seems pretty standard, but the jobs themselves all have little twists in them that at least make the scenario interesting. One minute, you'll be cleaning up a water park, the next, you'll be cleaning up a murder scene.
Yes, there are actual murder scenes. I have to admit, censoring the blood and gore by turning it fluorescent green does not help. It's shocking and kind of cool but very out of place for the type of game this is.
Anyways, I have to appreciate how the game uses water. Pool Cleaning Simulator has some really nice water physics on display that realistically interacts with the environment and various objects, which was a surprise to discover. I found it odd though that there isn't a way to swim in this game, you just sink to the bottom like a rock.
Onto the actual cleaning. Now, as I mentioned before, you'll be using a bunch of different equipment to clean pools in a way that satisfies the client, with each objective needing a specific tool to complete the task. I had a few issues with it. For one thing, the button to reveal all grime is on a 10-second cooldown. Now, this wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for the fact that some of the grime is invisible and sometimes really hard to see, even with the highlighting. It also felt a little too slow for my liking.
From what I played, I can see some real potential to become a rather enjoyable game that will allow you to relax with a podcast playing in the background; it just needs refinement of mechanics and smoothing over some of the rough edges. Hopefully, later down the line, a feature is added that allows some sort of autosave so quitting in the middle of a job doesn't reset all progress.
Pool Cleaning Simulator is available on Steam Early Access right now.