I don’t want to admit how many hours I’ve spent playing PowerWash Simulator, but let’s just say that I’m well versed in the art of virtual power washing. There was one thing I always thought when playing it though: ‘this would be brilliant in virtual reality’. And now, with the release of PowerWash Simulator VR, I’ve been proven right.
Check out some screenshots down below:
PowerWash Simulator VR sees players working their way up in the world of power washing, with the earlier jobs made up of straightforward tasks and locales but eventually building up into complex scenarios that send you across the globe. Most of the action takes place in the delightfully named Muckingham though, with the likes of cars, motorbikes, gardens, houses, and skateparks requiring your initial attention. There’s even a bit of a silly narrative offered as you progress between jobs, but it’s pretty bare boned in how it’s delivered, so you shouldn’t expect to invest yourself in it too much outside of a few chuckles here and there.
But come on, this is a game about power washing… you’re not here for a gripping narrative, right? As expected, players use motion controls to control their hose, whilst the accessories associated with it such as different nozzles and so forth are attached to a belt around your waist for easy access – you can spin the belt around too, ensuring the countless tools you unlock are always convenient to grab. You’ll unlock additional tools and upgrade your hose as you complete levels and earn stars and cash, with each offering a different (and often more efficient) way to clean up. You’ll see some genuine improvements to your cleaning abilities with these upgrades, which ensures that there’s a steady sense of progress to your capabilities as you move on to the bigger and more complex jobs.
The use of motion controls offers so much more fluidity when completing jobs, with players able to easily alter the angle and position of their hose to get to all of those hard-to-reach areas. Whilst the core game gave a lot of freedom when using the hose, it doesn’t match up to actually feeling like you’re REALLY holding it, with PowerWash Simulator VR making the whole experience a million times more immersive thanks to the how intuitive its controls are. You’re even able to use your non-washing hand to alter the head of the hose to change its spraying angle and so forth, which adds to the realism. Again, it just shows how much more immersive PowerWash Simulator VR really is, with the team at FuturLab doing a fantastic job of adapting the experience for virtual reality.
“PowerWash Simulator VR takes everything that was brilliant about the main game and somehow makes it even better than before.”
When it comes to the controls, you can either use smooth movement with the control stick or teleportation – there is both smooth and snap-based turning too, ensuring there’s something to suit players of all comfort levels. Climbing ladders might feel a little iffy for some players (especially if you’re afraid of heights), but again, it’s implemented in a convenient way that makes it easy for players to handle. I would highly recommend making sure you’ve got plenty of room around you when playing though, with it easy to find yourself so absorbed in the experience that you’ll be walking around, crouching, and carefully leaning around areas as you try to poke your hose nozzle in some fiddly areas. I don’t think I’ve played a game in virtual reality that has seen me hit my head so much before, but hey, that’s all on me.
It just emphasises how immersive and satisfying that cleaning feels in the game, whilst all of the core content is available to play through to ensure you’ll be stuck in for some time. It’s a shame that all of the DLC isn’t included at launch, but there is the promise of post-launch content, so hopefully it won’t be too long until we see it. I’m happy to report that co-op play is available though, meaning you can play with up to two extra players when completing jobs. There was something incredibly relaxing about power washing with pals and chatting nonsense when playing the main game, so I’m excited to spend more and more hours doing it here (again, I won’t admit how many hours that I’ve put into PowerWash Simulator).
I was a big fan of PowerWash Simulator, but PowerWash Simulator VR easily trumps it thanks to the added immersion offered by virtual reality and its motion controls. Admittedly, it’s the sorest that virtual reality has made me after playing (something owed to the time I spent with it and how much I exerted myself cleaning each level perfectly), but I ALWAYS wanted to come back for more. It’s THAT good, and whilst returning players will be doing a lot of the same things all over again, the changes ensure the experience is worthwhile.
Check out some screenshots down below:
That being said, it was a bit disappointing that the visuals didn’t hold up quite as well in virtual reality. I was expecting a downgrade so it didn’t come as a big shock, but the lower quality in textures and resolution could stand out a bit when playing. Of course, the game has a fairly simple and colourful art style so it never looks bad at all, but after spending a lot of time with the game on console (I’m not saying how long), the downgrade was noticeable.
PowerWash Simulator VR
PowerWash Simulator VR takes everything that was brilliant about the main game and somehow makes it even better than before. The added immersion with the controls makes the cleaning experience more intuitive and satisfying, whilst new ideas have been implemented to ensure that the switch to virtual reality still feels accessible and comfortable. And getting to do it all with friends? It feels better than ever.
It is a shame that the DLC is missing right now and the visual downgrade is noticeable, but PowerWash Simulator VR is still an excellent experience that manages to surpass the original game. Whether playing alone with a podcast on in the background or with some pals as you joke around, it’s a must-own release in the Meta Quest catalogue.
Platform(s): Meta Quest 2|3 (Reviewed)