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PowerWash Simulator; Knockout City review – let us spray


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Oct 27, 2021
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FuturLab; Windows/Velan; various platforms
There’s sublime fun in jet-cleaning a town, and a dodgeball-themed knockout contest has one eye on the Olympics

A few years ago, on a disorientatingly out-of-character whim, I hired an industrial jet-wash. What, precisely, I needed to clean so urgently, or indeed so extravagantly, now escapes me but the experience left an indelible impression. I can still feel the forceful pushback of the stream, the pizza-slice-shaped splay of the jet, and the delicious way the sweep of high-speed water left a pristine swipe on the patio stone. Everything the jet-wash touched was brightly restored, as if the stream contained not mere water, but a kind of time-travel serum. I had the machine for the entire weekend, and became absolutely carried away, until I was sweeping Yangtzes of filthy run-off water into the road, my clothes covered in decades of loosened sediment. I felt unduly proud of my restorative busywork until a pair of teenagers passed. Nodding in my direction, one remarked to the other: “Now that is a shit job.”

Joke’s on you, I thought: this isn’t my actual job. Unfortunately, writing about video games is my actual job: enter PowerWash Simulator, a game in which you use an industrial jet-wash to clean your town. It’s all pleasingly straightforward: here’s a filthy thing, wash it. Your first specimen is a mucky van that, once restored, provides transport to new jobs. You have a variety of nozzles (from the weakly sweeping to the laser-focused), and you’re free to wander around the vehicle, squat the better to dig into the cracks and crevices, and position a stepladder.

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