Cash for gold

Novo­tel? More Novo-hell in Cash­bags.

PC GAMER (US) - - REVIEW - By Tom Sykes

Wel­come to the Brownie Cove Ho­tel: a lux­u­ri­ous bunkhouse that’s equal parts Fawlty Tow­ers, Rusty Lake, and Twin Peaks. You’re the re­cep­tion­ist-cum-man­ager, a man named Cash­bags Michael, and it’s your job to greet guests, take their money, and hand over their room keys, while an­swer­ing the phone oc­ca­sion­ally. It might not sound like a lot of work, but in this hec­tic job sim that goes to some won­der­fully odd places, it can be dif­fi­cult to keep up with the sheer work­load. You’ll play the en­tirety of Cash­bags from the re­cep­tion desk, per­form­ing your du­ties in an en­joy­ably hands-on man­ner. Af­ter wel­com­ing each guest with a friendly, neu­tral, or grumpy re­sponse, you’ll use your long arms to ferry their money to the till, and then to drop a room key by their per­son. The guests are the stars of Cash­bags, with their car­toon­ish faces and weird di­a­logue, which veers be­tween the sur­real, the funny, and the dark.

While deal­ing with a steady stream of new ar­rivals, you will of­ten be rudely in­ter­rupted by in­com­ing let­ters or phone calls. You only have a short amount of time to re­spond to any par­tic­u­lar re­quest be­fore it’s gone. The well-de­vel­oped, branch­ing story de­pends not only on your ef­fec­tive­ness as a ho­tel man­ager, but also on how well you treat the guests, with sev­eral end­ings on of­fer to re­ward re­peat playthroughs.

With its sim­u­lated job, and its in­ter­ac­tive re­cep­tion desk, Cash­bags feels a bit like an in­verted Pa­pers, Please that has ex­changed pol­i­tics for Lynchian strange­ness. It’s a much smaller, less am­bi­tious thing, but gen­uinely amus­ing, and in­trigu­ing enough that you’ll want to see it through to the end.

The art is won­der­fully scrawly, but play this one for the writ­ing.

The ho­tel ap­pears to re­side in a world where time is in­fi­nite.

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