The planet’s dirty, Cloud! Well, actually you’re not Cloud. But, uh, you’re good with a power washer, right? Great! ‘Cause, uh, we got some high-tech experimental weaponry and a few locations that need a good deep clean. Who knew Midgar was such a filthy place?
Last week saw perhaps one of the most unexpected video game crossovers ever: Powerwash Simulator, a game literally about power washing various filthy objects and locations, received the Midgar Special Pack, a free DLC that ties into Final Fantasy VII, an RPG about a group of unlikely heroes who must band together and “clean” the planet of its biggest polluter, the mega-corporation Shinra. You might be quick to dismiss this as a mostly superfluous tie-in to a universe that sometimes suffers from having too much added to it, but I beg you to reconsider. The Midgar Special Pack offers you the chance to get up and close and personal with some classic sets and in-game objects from the classic JRPG. Oh, and it does take place in-universe, featuring characters from FFVII, so it’s canon. That means you have to play it now.
The Midgar Special Pack is actually billed as a whole mini-campaign in Powerwash Simulator. Featuring five levels, you’ll get to clean the two vehicles featured at the very end of the first act of Final Fantasy VII’s main narrative: The Hardy-Daytona and Shinra Hauler SA-37. You’ll also get to clean up a couple of bosses, the Air Buster and Scorpion Sentinel. There are two locations as well: Tifa’s “Seventh Heaven” bar and the large diorama of Midgar that you have to piece back together as a puzzle in the original 1997 game.
If you’ve played Powerwash Simulator, you’ll know what to expect: You get a power washer with various nozzles, as well as cleaning fluids to ease the process. A quick tap of the right directional button and you can highlight all the dirt that needs cleaning. A handy percentage meter in the corner of your HUD lets you know how much progress you’ve made. Those are your tools and abilities, now off to work with you!
At first glance, the coolest thing about this DLC update is that you get to spend a serious amount of time with some iconic video game spaces and props. It’s kinda like a neat little FFVII museum that you get to…clean. Hey, at least there isn’t an overpriced cafe.
While the level of dirt these places have on them feels a little hard to imagine (seriously, someone might want to call Chris Redfield to deal with whatever the hell happened in Tifa’s bar), these are very authentic recreations. For instance, Tifa’s bar has screenshots from the original 1997 game on the walls, just as it does in 2020’s Remake. And how did I not know the Scorpion Sentinel had wheels under its chassis?
These sets and props require some deep cleans. Each item has multiple sub-parts, and though highlighting the dirty areas helps you focus a bit, there’s a good few hours here of time spent doing what is basically virtual hard labor. I’m actually now a little annoyed at Cloud and Barret for destroying the damn Scorpion Sentinel given the amount of hours I put into cleaning it. And for stealing those vehicles. But it’s a fun, almost meditative experience, and you’ll come to know locations like Tifa’s bar and enemies like the Scorpion Sentinel like the back of your hand once you’ve wrapped up. It’s a cool experience, but the subtle narrative tie-ins really help sell the whole experience.
As you go about power washing, you’ll get texts from a few Final Fantasy VII characters, such as Tifa Lockhart and Reeve Tuesti. The early ones seem like standard universe tie-in fluff—mostly ignorable. But things do start to get interesting as time goes on, particularly when you learn that it’s a damn good thing you weren’t on the cleaning shift at the old Sector 01 Mako reactor when a certain train pulled into the station…I won’t say too much about when exactly this takes place in the Final Fantasy VII story, but the amount of time you spend cleaning these areas will certainly get you to think a bit about what daily life is like for your average Midgar laborer—something we don’t spend a whole lot of time on in the main games.
As a free update for a $25 game, it’s not a bad way to spend a few hours if you’re a Final Fantasy VII fan. The narrative tie-ins are a neat addition that surprisingly broadens the world of VII a touch, and places you right there at the center of this little side story…you just won’t get to wield that cool big ass sword. You’ll get to clean it though!
Powerwash Simulator is available on Windows, Xbox consoles, PS4 and 5, and Nintendo Switch.