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Wipe on, wipe off: Pane In The Glass is a VR window cleaning sim you need to play

Now the day where we finally get to play with our own HTC Vive headset isn’t all that far in the future, thanks to the pre-orders being open, it’s time to start making a list of must-try games. How about one that simulates the joy of cleaning windows? Yeah, really. The game’s called Pane In The Glass, and it just may be one of the first free games you download for the Vive.

That’ll be welcome enough on its own, considering the amount of money you’ll have already spent acquiring the kit, but the great news is, cleaning windows while wearing the HTC Vive turns out to be way more fun than actually cleaning windows in the real world. We got a chance to play Pane In The Glass during the VRUK Festival event held at the beginning of February.

Related: Hands-on with the HTC Vive Pre

Developed specifically for the HTC Vive by UK-based VR content production studio Rewind, it makes great use of the Vive’s controllers. One is your sponge, and the other a squeegee — the only weapons a window cleaner usually needs, except this is no ordinary mission. You’re being sent up in one of those unsteady-looking platforms that climb up the sides of massive buildings. Here you get a bucket, water, and a speed control, plus your lunch for later on.

What do you do? Clean the windows, of course. Standing on the platform, the windows pass in front of you, requiring a sponge down and a wipe over with the squeegee. Sounds easy, right? It’s not. The sponge soon gets gross from all the dirt, requiring constant dipping, windows are left open and need to be closed, and there’s a seagull that’s always after your grub. And all the while you’re ascending higher and higher, and the windows that need cleaning are more than a stretch away.

Like the sponge you wield in the game, Pane In The Glass was utterly absorbing to play. The platform setting means you don’t stray outside of the Vive’s play area, you get to use both the controllers in unison, and the gameplay gets more frantic the higher you get. The bright colors, convincing feeling of being in motion, chunky Lego-look world, and the voiceover from your boss giving you feedback emphasize the fun. If you didn’t guess from the title, Pane In The Glass doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Enjoy knocking that seagull off the platform. We did, and could have channeled our inner George Formby all day.

Games like Pane In The Glass, and the most recent Job Simulator demo, where you complete silly tasks set by robots, prove VR isn’t only going to be about engrossing first-person shooters or horror games. It’s about fun, creativity, and easily accessible time-wasters. Pane In The Glass is exactly the type of game many will use to demo the wonders of VR to non-gamers, and is reminiscent of the titles that came right before mobile gaming exploded in popularity.

Rewind will release Pane In The Glass through Steam in time for the HTC Vive’s official release.