Pan-heads, Freddie Mercury impersonators and janitors vacuuming up ghosts its Two Point Hospital! This is a business simulator published by SEGA, often referred to as the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital. Originally released on the PC back in 2018 it has recently been ported to consoles in quite a decent way. It is more Scrubs than ER but that is where the fun is.
You are placed in charge of a hospital, from layout and design of rooms and wards, hiring and firing staff and managing the morale and welfare of some of the moodiest doctors you will have ever encountered. You are constantly bombarded with some extraordinary illnesses such as Monobrow, Animal Magnetism (animals literally stuck to you like a magnet) etc. all while enduring a definitely slightly cracked hospital DJ. You might think that its quirky cartoon graphics, silly illnesses and ghosts of dead patients, would make this a light-hearted and easy game. But underneath the veneer of quirk, is a solid and complex management game and one I really enjoyed.
The complexity of the game is eased on you, a solid tutorial section lines you up nicely for the rest of the game without feeling like your being spoon-fed. Despite all the inevitable disasters and managing the day to day of your staff, there’s one fundamental rule “cure as many patients as you can” without this your reputation suffers, fewer patients visit, staff become disgruntled and ultimately you run out of money.
This juggling is relatively easy at the start and most catastrophes can be managed, however in later missions you are up excrement creek without a paddle. Juggling disaster after disaster can have you swearing as if you have just stood on a Lego brick, as every situation has the tendency to escalate and spiral out of control.
To begin with, you need to receive your patients and reception and there they will go through a diagnostic process as no one had the foggiest what is wrong with them. This is where your patients start to lose health until they bite the dust. You need general diagnosis rooms, cardio rooms, bone wards, wards and more to sort your patient out and ultimately get that cash money. While waiting through this lengthy process your patients will get cold, bored, hungry, and thirsty, nature will call, and it is up to you to make sure their needs are met and they don’t spit their dummies out and storm out of the hospital ruining your rep.
There is also the queue, these patients are not very British at all about queueing and have no issue with letting you know. As your reputation increases, more patients will come and you need to make sure they’re not spending hundreds of days parking on a bench while dying of Monobrow. These queues can be solved from the hiring and placement of the suitable staff.
Staff members all have individual skills and personalities and selecting the right one for the right room is essential. Throwing a Doctor with more treatment skills in the GP room will cause you headaches in the future; this is where training rooms come in handy. Training your staff via training rooms is not the cheapest, but is vital to keep staff morale high and queues down.
To help you in managing these potential issues there is a handy interface, by selecting the correct icons it helps you identify areas of food, drink, toilets, too cold or too hot requirements and allow you to fix them accordingly. This is an essential tool and one, which you should refer to often. Although useful I did find the interface and navigation slightly clunky on the console, not awful by any stretch, but compared to PC simulators it did not feel as smooth.
Even once your hospital is set up and running and most patients and staff are content, there is always something to do. I am currently only 8 missions in and yet to be bored, there’s always a dilemma or room to be built and once you start looking into details of your staff and patients the hours just fly by.
This is nearly a sandbox game in many ways. Each hospital you create is part of a larger whole, there are key objectives for each hospital and once a number of these have been met, you will unlock other hospitals. The world you’re in is split into regions with three hospitals in each, once unlocked you can dip in and out of each of these hospitals and work your way to the three-star goals. Dipping in and out makes reaching three stars more achievable, as you unlock more rooms and items it becomes easier to reach your goals.
Although the star ratings and goals give you some structure, I did find the missions a little linear and there were no hospitals so far that stand out in memory. That being said I did enjoy each one and became quite addicted to the game and it had a slightly nostalgic feel to it, which is quite refreshing amongst many AAA titles. It would have been even better if there was a full sandbox option, with free reign to just build on unlimited plots of land.
All in all, I found this a very addictive game and although nothing about it blew my mind, I struggled to put my controller down.