PC Games

Published on March 29th, 2024 | by Marc Rigg

Clean the Sea! PC Review

Clean the Sea! PC Review Marc Rigg

Summary: Clean the Sea! is a game filled with potential to tell an interesting story that conveys an important message that unfortunately fails to do anything with it beyond the bare minimum.



Games that have the player undertake largely menial tasks as their core gameplay loop are nothing new.

The last decade has seen a cavalcade of ‘simulators’ that, when they’re not making a joke, can offer up a surprisingly engaging and cathartic experience, be it building things, fixing things, or in this case, cleaning up a space.

From Viscera Cleanup Detail to the recent hit, PowerWash Simulator, cleaning and tidying up has never been so popular.


This brings us to Clean the Sea! From Turkish developer Backpack Games, predominantly known for being a mobile developer, Clean the Sea! Is their first release for PC.

If it weren’t obvious from the title, Clean the Sea! has players tidying up various bodies of water based on real-life places. Each area is divided into a series of small, rectangular zones, filled with trash that needs to be removed to continue, by piloting a small boat with a picker mounted to the front.

Driving through the mounds of trash collects it automatically up to the limit of your current vehicle. This can then be deposited at one of the various selling sites dotted around the area in exchange for cash.

This cash can be used to upgrade the speed of your boat and the size of its picker, allowing for quicker movement, and carrying more trash at any given time. Once a sufficient amount has been cleared from the area, you’re free to move on to the next one, assuming you have enough spare money to unlock it.

Trash gradually respawns over time, so should you find yourself with a low bank balance, it’s possible to build it back up to proceed.

Powerups occasionally spawn in the area, these range from increasing your boat’s maximum speed to maximising your pickers’ capacity for a short time. They tend to be nice to have at the time but didn’t make a huge difference to the gameplay.

The cycle of clearing an area of rubbish, earning cash to upgrade your boat, and unlocking the next area is Clean the Sea! in its entirety. There are no boss encounters, and no story beyond what’s on the Steam store page. No characters to interact with and no progression beyond upgrading everything and getting through all of the areas. It’s a shame, because the message it’s trying to spread about the oceans, and the literal mountains of garbage filling them up is an important one.

Your balance can be used to hire a small fleet of AI-controlled boats that perform the same job as you, albeit on a much smaller scale. However, their upgrades are very expensive when compared to your own and nowhere near as effective at actually clearing up the area. Frequently getting stuck on objects or just sailing into a wall repeatedly.

As I stated toward the beginning of the review, Backpack Games is primarily a mobile developer, and Clean the Sea! originally launched on iOS and Android a year ago. This being a PC port of a mobile game is immediately apparent from the UI that was clearly intended for a touchscreen interface. That being said, it works well enough for the most part, with the only annoyance being that I had to change from a controller to a mouse at a few points because you inexplicably can’t cycle through menus with a pad.

Only the most basic of options are available in the menu. Low through to very high for graphics quality, and that’s about it. No resolution options or window modes, keybinds, or even volume options besides sound on or off. It’s a simple game visually that should be able to run on pretty much anything modern without issues, but this is disappointing, nevertheless.

Audio amounts to some ambient ocean noise and the occasional ringing of a bell when selling trash. There’s no music in the game whatsoever, further adding to the disappointment.

Final Thoughts?

Clean the Sea! feels like a minimally viable product. There’s definitely a lot of potential here for a fun, cozy game based around its namesake, but right now, there’s just not enough game here. I managed to complete the entire thing in under an hour, getting to the end of all four of the available locations (a fifth is greyed out with coming soon by it, so perhaps there are plans to expand), and obtained 100% of the 18 achievements.

The mobile version is free, at least on Android at the time of writing, so if you’re curious about this then that’s always a possibility, but as it stands the PC version is very difficult to recommend.


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