Can Two Point Studios Hospital Management Sim recreate the magic of Theme Hospital from 1997? The answer is a resounding N.H.YES.
Made by some of the same people who brought us the addictive and entertaining PC classic, Two Point Hospital is a spiritual successor to a game that gave me countless hours of fun as a kid, without losing any of the charm or messing with the formula. In fact, the creators have taken the management sim to hilarious new levels that had me in stitches.
The basic aim of the game is to build and staff your hospitals while gradually dealing with the various diseases that patients will bring in. The more efficiently your hospital is running, the more stars you will earn. The goal is to achieve 3 stars although you can move on to a new establishment when the game allows you to with the option of re-tuning at any point via the county map. The opening hours sees you building your first Hospital while being walked through the basics of the controls. Initially it seems quite a simple process, but after a few more hours the game actually starts to become very deep and intricate without it ever becoming too complex.
At first glance you may be mistaken for thinking it’s just a case of building rooms and filling them with staff and necessary items. It soon becomes apparent that you have to be very focused on each individual’s actions and reactions. For example, one of your Doctors is curing patients like they’re House M.D and the next is shirking off in the staff room, taking liberties with their break time. This could cause an untreated patient to succumb to an untimely death. While this will no doubt damage the reputation of your Hospital it can also cause their ghost to haunt your Hospital like Casper the bothersome spectre. This will cause panic among the other patients as well causing the Hospital Inspector to have something to mark you down on when it comes to his latest visit. In a case such as this you have to make sure you have a janitor with Bill Murray’s ghost busting abilities on hand to deal with it before it causes more nuisance. This is a big reason why people management is incredibly important in Two Point Hospital as having a staff member without the correct qualifications or attitude towards work can leave you with all kinds of issues that can affect your reputation and star rating.
There are two types of currency within Two Point Hospital that you will need to be chasing to build bigger and more functional hospitals. You have dollars, which you will gain via Hospital revenue, and you have Kudosh, which you will aim to acquire by completing certain challenges issued in the game. This could be trying to cure 10 patients within an allotted time schedule or making sure you keep your patients alive. Finances are a huge part of the game, making you constantly worry about expenditures and whether your hospital is turning a profit. There are a myriad of factors that can affect your revenue which include staff salaries, cost of machinery and their maintenance, building extra treatment rooms if there is a sudden outbreak.
Speaking of outbreaks, the writers have to be commended for creating some of the most hilarious illnesses that patients can come into your Hospital carrying. ‘Light-headedness’ for example is taken quite literally as patients come in with a light bulb in place of their head. While ‘Mock Star’ has patients believing they are a certain music legend and they are in need of psychiatric help to be cured. Even small details such as the names of staff members and the whimsical announcements over the PA show the writing to be both witty and delightful which caused me to smile throughout my playtime.
The visuals are a cross between Wallace and Gromit and The Sims; every character seems to have their own personalities and traits that mean taking a second to pause the game and zoom in with the updated camera and take in every part of your world is a necessary action. You can really tell how much time and effort has been put into the design.
The UI is simple to use and easy on the eyes, while the controls have been reworked from the ground up for use on console. While I personally believe the management sim games work better as point and click titles on a PC, I never found an issue with using the Xbox controller aside from the odd issue placing items in the particular places that I wanted.
My only small negative would be the somewhat tedious retread of installing the basic amenities and rooms needed for each new Hospital but this is a tiny gripe on what is overall, a thoroughly entertaining and well-designed sim.
Two Point Hospital is a familiar yet refreshing take on the PC classic that will satisfy veterans and newcomers alike. With its Dad humour and simple but deep gameplay, the game will keep you trying to achieve those perfect star ratings for hours on end. If you’re missing the 90’s nostalgia of management sims such as Theme Hospital, Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon this will certainly cure that longing for the glory days.