PowerWash Simulator's 40k DLC makes cleaning off the accumulated filth of 10,000 years of war surprisingly fun

Powerwash Simulator 40k - Washing a tank
(Image credit: FuturLab)

How do Space Marines keep their armour so clean? I've always wondered. In a setting where one of the main antagonists is literally a god of filth, you'd think people would look a little more dirt-caked. Throughout the 30 Horus Heresy novels I've read I can't recall a single Space Marine ever taking a shower or a bath—their armour must absolutely reek.

And the truth is, the job of cleaning it likely goes to some poor menial; a mortal serf who sits in a dark room for days on end, scrubbing away at caked on daemon innards and Death Guard anthrax with a scourer. Such is the grimdark future. 

Pretty fitting, then, that PowerWash Simulator's 40k DLC places you in the shoes of a tech priest of the Mechanicum who spends their days performing "Rites of Cleansing"—the fancy 40k way of saying "Hosing down a Dreadnought who looks like he took a deep strike into Nurgle's arsehole."

Armed with your MK II Aqua-Santica Arquebus (in other words, a waterjet) plus a range of attachments, you set about meticulously scouring tanks, a dreadnought, and even a titan. There's something weirdly meta about being a miniature cleaning another miniature in a universe made of miniatures—it conjures images of some Imperial Guard asking his mate "Do you ever wonder if we're all just models in a world of warmongering giants?"

But let me tell you, models that are hard to paint are just as hard to clean. This DLC has given me a newfound appreciation for the intricacy of 40k models as I've had to manoeuvre myself into nooks and crannies, looking to wash some tiny Imperial Knight part I never even knew existed. As you work to cleanse each machine and restore its spirit to sparkling form, you get little messages from either your supervisor or other classic 40k characters who impart some tidbits of lore around the thing you're cleaning. 

My personal favourite was the Commissar who kept threatening to send me to a penal legion if I didn't clean his favourite tank properly, though I was also tickled when cleaning the Redemptor Dreadnought. The idea that the most ancient and honoured warriors in an Astartes legion get hosed down like dogs when they're particularly mucky couldn't help but make me chuckle. 

Honestly, the setup for this DLC is fantastic—even as someone who wasn't particularly into PowerWash Simulator before. When I heard there was going to be a 40k PowerWash DLC I had no idea how they were going to fit it into the lore, but it totally makes sense; some poor soul somewhere has to be cleaning all these machines. For my part, I whacked on a Black Library audiobook and had a fun few hours poking around full-sized 40k models in my little Mechanicum hangar.

Sure, there's something kind of drudging about methodically cleaning an entire Imperial Knight, but it's weirdly addictive and definitely hits the same part of the brain that painting does. Just like painting, you also get to appreciate a lovingly restored and dirt-free model once the job's done. The drudgery also feels pretty thematic to be honest; there are entire planets of people who just do admin in 40k, and even after you die they turn your corpse into a servitor slave or your skull into a decorative drone for some ecclesiarchy bigwig.

It's got me thinking about a whole new exciting genre of 40k games; the 40k sim. Where's my game about being a corpse starch farmer? Or a manufactorum worker producing one tiny part that's used in a Leman Russ battle tank? 40k games have gotten too exciting if you ask me—you don't need war and glory when you have the satisfaction of a job well done

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.