Cash for gold
Novotel? More Novo-hell in Cashbags.
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.