Game title with a picture of a shiny red car

Car Detailing Simulator Review 

Game: Car Detailing Simulator
Genre: Simulation, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (Also available on Steam (Windows) and mobile)
Developer | Publisher: Incubator Games | Ultimate Games
Age Rating: EU 7 | US E
Price: UK £14.39 | US $15.99 | EU € 15,99
Release Date: July 13th, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to Ultimate Games. 

The Simulator Life 

Simulator games still appear to be very popular with gaming audiences and over time I am starting to see the reason why. Turning what some would consider mundane tasks into video game experiences can be very therapeutic to the soul. Maybe you’re washing a kids playground in Power Wash Simulator or working the till in Gas Station Simulator. Working a job in a game just doesn’t quite carry over the same stress of a real life one. It contains no major consequences if you make a mistake and sometimes it’s just fun to escape your own job and try something totally different. Even if that experience is a bit fabricated in the digital form.

When it comes to reviewing these simulators my thoughts are very mixed. While I have played some pockets of greatness like the two games mentioned above. I’ve played several that just don’t click and end up being dull and miserable experiences. Car Detailing Simulator, for me, falls into that category.

A dirty blue car, it's not well rendered.
Let’s get to work!

Get Cleaning 

Car Detailing Simulator looks and feels like so many first person focused simulators. Even its flow of gameplay feels like something I’ve played many times before, but for those new here, lets run through it.

You play a car cleaning specialist who receives jobs from their computer. Which all involve a car that needs a little TLC, so it looks shiny and clean, before returning it to the customer. A car plops into your garage and you get to work cleaning it, with various implements you grab from boxes on the shelf. You need to clean the windows, clean the body and sort out any scratches. Then head into the interior of the car and clean the seats and mats.

Each cleaning process is marked on the right of the screen, to help you keep track of your progress. Once the job is complete, you receive a little money and your reputation increases, awarding you more jobs. You can even take a picture of your completed car and pin it on your board as an indication of your greatness. Use said money to buy more equipment and upgrades. Then repeat the process until you are bored, which for me didn’t take very long.

The graphics are the usual realistic and bland look most simulators use, with no unique artistic design to it. Your garage feels hollow and lifeless, more like a video game prison than somewhere you’d want to work. The soundtrack is totally absent, so you’ll need to find your own music or podcast.

I guess the unique stand out is the cars themselves do look different, from the body work perspective. I’m not a car person, but I like how shiny they look when a job is complete. But they all seem to use the same seats and mats, which is odd. The game does have the template for a decent busy body simulator experience, but the elements don’t come together to create that repetitive, yet zen experience you get with better games in the genre.

A brush attempting to clean a wheel.
Get into all the cracks!

Poor Port 

Car Detailing Simulator is not a fun game to play. I would go as far as to say there was no point during my attempt to play this game where I enjoyed myself.

The biggest fault appears to be this is a bad port from PC to Switch. Many of the cleaning mechanics feel exceptionally fiddly and tedious and often just don’t work. I’ll give an example, when cleaning windows you need to use a special spray first, then use a cloth to wipe it down. The game even provides a button to highlight areas in red that need cleaning. But on the Switch you need to use the analogue controls to move the cloth about, which are super slow and just feel unresponsive. Even after I attempted it, it still appeared like I had missed spots. It took me ages of mindless action, going from each part of the car to gradually clean it. This feels like something that would work better with mouse controls, where you clean quicker.

The problems don’t stop there. Even though you have a button to highlight errors, like scratches, they are often hard to see. A lot of the cleaning implements are just hard to use. Even the act of using a power wash, which should be the most fun part of cleaning down the car, does not give that satisfying impact you expect. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by another game that did this much better.

The menus are cluttered and cumbersome to navigate. The game provides multiple tutorials to go through the various tools to use. Although, if you want to revisit these in the menu, you’re only given a small window to view them, which is hard to see, made even worse in handheld mode. 

A before and after shot of a cleaning job on a car. One side is clean, the other dirty. But it's hard to tell due to the game's poor graphics
Before and after?!

Eventually I got to the point where I didn’t have enough money to buy a new kit to fix a car’s issues. Since I couldn’t do this, I could not complete the job. So no money was made and therefore no new jobs, since I lacked the equipment to sort out their woes. So, I just stopped, since the thought of starting the whole game again and correcting my errors was too much to bear.

Cleaning feels slow and tedious, not helped by the game’s terrible controls. Probably the only small moment I enjoyed was when I finished a job after a lot of hard effort, you could do a before and after scan. An interesting touch, but shame a dirty and a clean car still look pretty similar.

I take no joy in writing negative reviews, and this is by no means meant to be harsh on the developers, however, this was not a pleasant gaming experience.

Conclusion: You Missed Several Spots 

By this point it’s clear I do not like Car Detailing Simulator. The game frankly made me miserable when playing on Switch. This is not why I play games. I play games to relax and escape from a tough day in my own stressful job.

As seen with many other simulators ported to Switch, this needs a lot of patching and tweaking to make it playable. Maybe if all that was fixed, this would be a decent experience. But there are so many better cleaning games on Switch you could try instead. Maybe the game functions better on PC, so if car detailing really is your thing, then consider looking there. For everyone else, you’re not missing out by passing on this. I found much more enjoyment cleaning my own car.

Final Verdict: I Don’t Like it 

I don't like it

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