Charming Steam Game Lets You Manage A Spa For Capybaras

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Capybaras gently land from your spa location.

Screenshot: Cozy Bee Games / Kotaku

Management simulators are games that I love to hate. You face an endless avalanche of extremely demanding clients who want you to provide your services in a very particular way and soon. If you leave them unattended for too long, then they make unhappy faces. Screw up enough times and you might even get a paycheck. None of this happens in Capybara Spa, the most fun business simulator on Steam right now. These little furry angels are the most patient and kind customers I have ever served.

Capybara Spa It is exactly what it says on the tin. You build hot tubs, fruit gardens, and other amenities on a mountain full of capybaras. You click and drag your guests into capybara-sized bathtubs, cater to their every whim, and are rewarded with coins once they leave. Your questions are not complex. Most of the time, they just want fresh fruit, flowers, or a clean towel. And you’ll be rewarded for keeping the mountain clear of debris like rocks and wildflowers. Since many management sims are high-pressure games that force you to work fast, it took me a while to realize that the game wasn’t meant to be optimized or sped up.

I built as many tubs as I could afford, and then I stacked all my capybaras. When they ordered food, I made sure no one waited more than three seconds. Soon, I’d be raking in thousands with my capybara spa empire. He was constantly scanning the entire area for new customers whenever he had a spare moment. Once I racked up enough experience points to be at a certain level, baby capybaras started arriving. These mini guests always needed to be accompanied by an adult capybara (makes sense I guess?), so I started maxing out my hot tub capacity based on that. No adults were allowed to bathe alone, because that would be an inefficient use of my limited spa space.

The routine never stops at the Capybara Spa. Well, until you do. One of my editors pinged me on a draft for a different blog, so I paused the game to finish it. When I got back, I was horrified to discover that the “Pause” button doesn’t actually pause anything. The time in my spa simulator progressed without me for a couple of hours. More importantly, it wasn’t the end of the world. The capybaras were exactly where he had left them. None of them were starving or demanding a refund. Unlike the high-society people you used to serve in restaurant or hotel simulations, capybaras are unsophisticated customers. As long as they got their strawberries, they were happy. Linear time meant nothing to the humble capybara. I was a bit worried when ducks and other non-capybaras showed up, but the main guests were perfectly content to share a bathtub with anyone who put them in. None of the capybaras had complicated demands.

A capybara spa is located on top of a mountain, but with a construction menu.

Screenshot: Cozy Bee Games / Kotaku

I calmed down when I realized that managing a spa for capybaras isn’t supposed to be stressful. After I built insect stumps, I gained insect employees that would help me with the customers. I’d step away from the game for a few hours, and the butterflies would eventually get around to serving every single customer. I didn’t actually have to do anything except for lifting capybaras in and out of hot tubs. After several hours, I even started to allow adults to bathe alone. Sometimes I’d put a baby into their tub. Sometimes I didn’t. There weren’t any ways of achieving bonuses for exceptional service, so I just focused on filling as many tubs with capybaras as possible. Once they were in there, they were there until I decided to come back to their stretch of the mountain again. And it was wonderful. The gameplay loop felt much less like the management game Diner Dash and a lot more like the cat collecting game Neko Atsume. Capybara Spa represents customers at their absolute best: silent and accommodating.

Capybara Spa is a game that you can leave running in the background while you’re doing something else. I can’t help but wish that real service jobs were so low-stakes.

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