Fans of Sally’s Spa, Belle’s Beauty Boutique and other salon-themed time management games owe it to themselves to check out Sara’s Super Spa, a free web-based flash game that puts a unique, up close and personal spin on the genre.

Granted, the layout of the spa is a bit cramped, but as soon as the first customer arrives, the real action begins as you drag him or her onto the desired station and zoom in on a close-up of the client’s head to adminster the appropriate treatment.

These mini-games include some fun activities that we’ve never seen before in other spa games, like the ability to cut a client’s hair by dragging the mouse across it to simulate scissors, dab away acne spots with a concealer sponge, and click on parts of the face to apply a facial mask – being sure not to cover the eyes, nose or mouth.

Gameplay goes into painstaking detail, even including some necessary but unpleasant treatments like waxing a man’s back or pulling out stray nose and ear hairs with tweezers. The game never loses its sense of humor though, with every rip and tweak accompanied by a shreak of pain from the client!

Besides serving customers, there’s a management component to the game where you can shop for extra massage, waxing, tanning, hair and make-up stations (and sell them too, if you choose), organize the layout of your shop by dragging stations around and placing them where you want, and buying advertisements to boost customer interest and revenue.

You have a limited amount of time to serve customers, which adds an air of mania to the gameplay, and the actions can be hard to control with a laptop or trackball – in fact, the game specifically recommends that you use a mouse if you plan to play on anything other than Easy mode.

Still, these are minor gripes in light of the impressive amount of charm and depth that the game offers.