Fresh off of its PlayStation console debut two weeks ago, PowerWash Simulator has now released its newest crossover expansion to take players from their previous task of cleaning Croft Manor, to Final Fantasy VII’s not-at-all-dystopian city of Midgar. This free DLC gives players a chance to visit the 7th Heaven bar (though, like in Remake, you don’t get the chance to go downstairs) and take on a few jobs at the headquarters of Shinra Electric Power Company.
Though it’s a brief experience clocking in at under three hours and five stages, the Midgar expansion is still as loaded as it can be with references, fanservice, and inside jokes for fans of Final Fantasy VII, starting right out of the gate by having the player clean the vehicles that Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret and Red XIII will use for their getaway from the Shinra Building. This gag then follows into the second stage, giving you the chance to clean and examine the Guard Scorpion boss right before it’s sent out to be annihilated in the original game’s opening hours.
After this, Tifa hires you to clean the inside of the bar following an act of vandalism by Don Corneo’s goons (…which did feel strange, as you don’t really pressure-wash wooden interiors in real life), where you’ll also find Cloud’s Buster Sword and, oddly, Barret’s Machine Gun arm. From here, you take two more jobs for Shinra, closing with the Airbuster, again, right before it’s sent out to attack Cloud and company after their assault on Reactor #5.
During your task, you’ll be in frequent contact with Reeve, Heidegger, and Tifa, depending on what stage you’re currently cleaning, and this is where the rest of the references come in. Those who are already keyed into the lore of FF7 will likely get a lot more out of this aspect than those who are just looking for more stuff to clean, but the small amount of content present here probably makes this inessential for anyone who already completed the base game and wasn’t interested in the chance to explore a tiny piece of Midgar.
The actual gameplay is just the same as in the base game, despite all the dressing-up of the crossover. Thankfully, the stages hand you the most powerful equipment in the game, because these are some of the most challenging levels in all of PowerWash Simulator, and absolutely packed with hard-to-reach areas that you nonetheless have to fully clean. I spent about ten minutes just trying to get the very last percentage point on the Airbuster because of how hard it was to get an angle on the spot, but this is obviously intended to be part of the charm of the game.
In my opinion, the real stars of the show were the 7th Heaven bar, and the penultimate job, which is a small model of Midgar. In addition to feeling a bit like a kaiju with a water gun, it’s neat to see such a famous location from the perspective of looking down on it, even if it’s not particularly accurate to how the city actually looks in-game.
The only real thing that the Midgar expansion really left me scratching my head over was that the attempt to fit it into the Final Fantasy VII timeline is kind of wrecked by the bar level. Not only is it weird that Barret would take off his gun arm, but the vandalism of 7th Heaven really doesn’t fit into the canon at all, and is pretty obviously just the best excuse the writers could come up with for why you were getting to wash the bar.
PowerWash Simulator‘s Midgar DLC being a free addition to the game is definitely a boon, as this mini-review would have a much different tone if players were being asked to pay for such a short addition to the base game. It’s a neat little oddity for pre-existing fans of both games, and I had fun inhabiting this world for a few hours. But the lack of greater detail here feels like a wasted opportunity – there aren’t any levels that even take you outside – and it just isn’t particularly substantial. If you’re craving every bit of this world you can get, though, it’s a solid way to spend an afternoon.
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