PowerWash Simulator VR Review
Making its jump into VR is Futurlabs’ hit PowerWash Simulator VR, a game that sees you starting your own business with a protective rubber suit, a pair of gloves, and a backpack power washer. Bridging the gap between videogames and mindfulness exercises, it's a game that lets you indulge in the simple satisfaction of restoring neglected spaces to their former glory, all from the comfort of your own home.
The most obvious change is the control scheme, allowing for more accuracy than you might be used to with a controller or mouse. It’s certainly more immersive, and while your various nozzles, extensions, and cleaning fluids are on your “belt”, you can still just hold or press a button to switch them if you prefer. The belt can be cumbersome, and if you’re sitting in a chair with arms, it becomes basically useless, so it’s great that the option is there.
The cleaning physics are delightfully precise, providing a remarkable level of depth and complexity to an otherwise straightforward task. The way dirt and grime gradually fade away under the relentless pressure of your washer is oddly therapeutic, offering a sense of accomplishment that's hard to match.
The virtual town of Muckingham, where you ply your trade, is charming in its mundanity. The range of jobs you're hired to undertake, and provided worldbuilding via text messages, provides a delightful variety to the gameplay. One moment you're scrubbing away the dirt accumulated on a humble dirt bike, the next you're tackling the monumental task of cleaning an entire Ferris Wheel!
Unfortunately, the move to VR is just that, as PowerWash Simulator VR doesn’t actually add anything new. The argument could be made that it has less content, since the DLC which is currently available for the non-VR versions is not yet available, meaning no rinsing off Cloud Strife’s sword. The DLC is going to arrive at some point, but no dates have been set in freshly cleaned stone yet.
Similarly, the move to being on the Meta Quest rather than PCVR means that the graphical quality has been dropped. It’s not a deal breaker, as things look the same as they ever did, just… lesser? Certain effects are missing, too, such as the shine on certain surfaces when they become wet, and things seem very slightly blurry?
PowerWash Simulator VR is a delightful blend of gaming and mindfulness, offering players a peaceful escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. It's a testament to the innovative use of VR technology, transforming a mundane chore into a highly enjoyable, immersive experience. The game isn't perfect, with the visuals taking a dip in VR and a lack of DLC at launch, but these are minor blemishes on an otherwise compelling package. The game also allows cooperative play for a shared cleaning experience, but I was unable to try it out because I didn’t get the chance.
Whether you're a returning player looking for a new way to experience the game or a curious newcomer, PowerWash Simulator VR is a decent VR game. It proves cleaning can be fun, helping you to relax and unwind one dirty surface at a time. It's the perfect example of videogames as a form of escapism, offering a soothing alternative to the often chaotic world of mainstream gaming.
PowerWash Simulator VR (Reviewed on Meta Quest)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
A delightful blend of gaming and mindfulness, offering players a peaceful escape from the everyday hustle and bustle