I once chased someone through a B&Q parking lot because of a pressure washer. That was when I worked there – I wouldn’t sue anyone now! Maybe if there was a sale… But no. I was standing near the crates when I saw someone coming through the entrance with a large box of pressure washers. Inspired by my fellow macho Russell – “Russ” – who had recently chased down a shoplifter and tackled him into a hedge, I shot through the exit doors and across the parking lot after them.
The thing is, I hadn’t really thought about it. I didn’t know what I would do if I caught up to them – politely ask them to give it back? I’m not sure I really imagined diving into a hedge. To make matters worse, they were running towards a car with other people inside. What was I supposed to do with them?
But my face must have been so intimidating – maybe I’m running like a charging rhino – that by the time I approached they had dropped the pressure washer, jumped in their getaway car and taken off, making me a huge favor in the process. I returned to the store as a hero – even Russ looked impressed.
Ah, pressure washers. You always remember the first time you used one – that bounce you get from pressurized water as it slams into whatever you’re pointing at, and that little “ooh” you give when you feel it. You clean a bike in minutes that used to take you an hour; you make a car look like new to envious neighbors; you bring a patio a treat. I’m not surprised someone made a game out of it.
I’m surprised, however, at how popular the game is. PowerWash Simulator has over 20,000 “overwhelmingly positive” reviews on Steam – the kind of number that usually indicates great success. And it hasn’t been around that long – it just launched in 1.0 after just over a year in Early Access. It also just added Xbox versions, and it is included with GamePass.
To find out why it’s so popular, I turned it on – a perfect hot week for it, I think you’ll agree. And what was immediately obvious was how much more there was than I expected. Yes, it is a fundamentally simple thing, removing dirt from objects, but it is the variety of objects to be cleaned and the many ways you go about removing dirt from them that sets it apart.
For example, my first job is to clean a van completely covered in mud. It’s so covered you can’t read the signs or even see the headlights. And it soon becomes clear that the mud isn’t easy to move and there’s a lot of van to clean – the two things acting as a multiplier for each other.
You’ll soon learn that you need to use a variety of nozzles – some with better coverage and some with more power – to get the job done, and that you should approach the project from multiple angles: crouching, jumping, and lying in the air. order. to see all the mud on the van – below, above, in the nooks and crannies of it. This game has the dirtiest things I’ve ever seen.
“It’s not a game to rush to an end…”
It’s an introduction that realigns your expectations. This shows you that cleaning even a van in this game is going to take longer than you thought. And then you load into level two and see a whole garden – deck, pond, shed, fence, lawnmower, barbecue, etc. – and feel overwhelmed. But thanks to regular and methodical work, you succeed, and that’s what makes the charm of PowerWash Simulator.
It’s not a game about rushing to an end: it’s a game about the quiet pleasures of repetitive work – a slower game about the satisfaction of a job well done. It’s relaxing and soothing, and that’s a powerful quality.
There’s actually a bit about it in Edge magazine this month, the soothing quality of it, and it turns out it wasn’t an accident. James Marsden, founder and CEO of game developer FuturLab, said the idea came from his business partner and wife, Kirsty Rigden, who watched powerwashing videos to “calm down during a particularly stressful time at work and in our personal life too. “.
A prototype was then developed within a week, not for public consumption, but for the team to play at lunch to relax. “We didn’t really plan on releasing the demo,” Marsden said, “but one of our marketing coordinators at the time said, you know, it would be a public service to release it for free now, because it’s It was the start of the lockdown, and people were very anxious.” So that’s what FuturLab did.
Several nifty touches keep the formula from getting boring. Levels are broken down into many cleanable objects – a kennel is made up of several parts, for example – and every time you clean enough of them, you hear a “ding!” and it flashes blue to tell you it’s done. Not only does it break big jobs for you and encourage you to keep going, but it also has some pretty relaxed goals to complete before it goes off – it depends on the object and where it is – again once, encouraging you.
There’s also a pretty nice story overlay in career mode. You will receive text messages while you are working on upcoming jobs or, often, on the one you are on – one person told me how much she wanted her daughters to play in the cleaned garden, for example – or on d other stuff entirely, and not only do they break the silence, but they add the feeling that there’s a purpose behind what you’re doing, which once again encourages you. And the money you earn, you reinvest in things like better pressure washers, soaps or new nozzles – all giving you a sense of progression.
The year in Early Access also clearly helped. The game looks sturdy and polished, and just as broad in what it offers. There’s a Free-Play mode, there’s co-op – which I can imagine being extremely useful – and there are time-limited and water-limited modes to take on the challenge, if you wish. And the imagination that has been invested in some of the levels you’ll face is wonderful – there’s a whole playground for kids to clean up.
Maybe that’s what B&Q shoplifters were doing all those years ago: cleaning up a park. Who knows? Maybe I stifled a business in growth. Now, you see, I understand the call. PowerWash Simulator is a blast.
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