By now, you'll have made your mind up about PowerWash Simulator. It's been doing the rounds for a couple of years, winning hearts with its simple, inexplicably compelling gameplay. Yes, it's about blasting water at filthy buildings and objects. Yes, broadly it's quite repetitive and slow. Yes, you could get a power washer and hose down a patio in real life. However, combating all of those points is one simple fact: this is a video game, and once you've cleaned something, it goes "ding" and makes you feel really good.
Just the act of carving a line into a layer of muck, exposing the true colours of whatever you're cleaning, is satisfying enough on its own. A surprisingly lengthy career mode has you earning cash for washing a wide variety of structures, vehicles, and more. These stages get rather large and feature increasingly complex objects, easily keeping you occupied for over an hour. Despite the long levels and admittedly repetitive task, we found ourselves eager to keep playing; it's as soothing as it is satisfying.
Beyond the career are bonus jobs, free play, and challenge mode — and online co-op is enabled in all but the latter. You can use the cash earned in the career to purchase better power washers, as well as extensions, different nozzles, and soap, to use in all these modes, so there's a decent amount of variety to toy with.
Where we fall slightly out of love is with the fiddly controls. It packs a lot of useful functions onto the controller but it took us a while to figure it all out, and the tutorials are so minimal that some features barely register. It's also a shame the DualSense's capabilities are wholly ignored; this seems a perfect game for all its tricks. Even with any small reservations, though, we can't deny the game is just as engaging, relaxing, and enjoyable as everyone says.