The doctor will see you now.
Title: Two Point Hospital
Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Two Point
Release Date: Out now.
TL;DR: A spectacular return to the sims of yesteryear
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How do you cure a bout of lightheadedness? Some would suggest getting some electrolytes in you; others would say you just need to slow down and breathe. But when said lightheadedness is less about feeling dizzy and more about your head becoming a giant light bulb, the cure isn’t about drinking fluids or breathing, and instead having to unscrew the light bulb from the body, throwing it away and printing out a new head for the patient to have. This is the strange and hilarious landscape of Two Point Hospital, a game that’s recaptured that golden touch of the old sim games of yesteryear, only looking far better.
With so much of the game’s development team playing roles in games like Theme Hospital, it’s no wonder Two Point Hospital is able to hit the same tones with its strange array of illnesses, and the likes of light bulb head-itus is only the tip of the iceberg. As you rise through the ranks of hospital administrator, you’ll come across a host of maladies, from bogwarts to cubism, to mockstar and inflated egos; these are just some of the physical and psychological issues your hospital staff are going to have to deal with. The cures for these illnesses are just as ridiculous as the illnesses themselves, and being able to zoom in and watch a patient being attacked by a giant magnet. all in the name of science is something that makes all the budgeting and paperwork worthwhile.
That being said, whilst Two Point Hospital might make a big deal of ensuring your hospitals stay cost effective, it isn’t something you’ll have to worry about from the off. The game does a wonderful job of easing you into what needs to be done before subtly ramping up the challenge without you ever realising. Even the first level manages to bleed tutorial and regular gameplay into one another surprisingly well, taking you through the initial steps of creating a reception area, then the GP office, the pharmacy, and hiring staff. Before you know it, you’ve got a fully operational hospital and you’re accepting extra challenges to further increase your burgeoning reputation.
The early levels do an excellent job of helping new players understand what the game will ask of them, and does it without ever feeling like you’re going through a tutorial. And whilst those of us who know the ins and outs of sim games might breeze past the early stages, there’s never any harm in giving yourself a bit of an ego boost, right?
Just make sure that ego doesn’t get too inflated, or before you know it, you may very well be working through your new delusions of grandeur with one of the… “talented,” doctors at the game’s various Two Point establishments. Because, whilst you might be a whizz when it comes to figuring out where the offices go, it’ll be the staff you hire that deal with the medical mumbo-jumbo. It’ll be up to you to sift through the applications for doctors and nurses, considering their training, their skills, their personalities, how often they need the toilet, and their salary, before you decide to hire the doctor who works for £8K a year but has no discerning skills whatsoever.
Again, the hiring process has been simplified, and, dare I say it? Streamlined to make understanding what your medical expert offers you incredibly easy to understand. Skills are shown as icons, with some doctors offering specialties in diagnosis, some being qualified in psychiatry, some excel at motivating others, and some just have a very weak bladder. The same goes for nurses, who specialise in prescriptions, running wards, and patient care. The layout may only be a minimal feature, but it’s one that makes understanding what gaps you have in your ward much easier to identify.
That being said, having a top-notch medical staff doesn’t mean you won’t lose patients. If Bradley Madison, who had a bad case of cubism, does decide to very unhelpfully die under your watch, he may also decide that he’s not quite ready to leave this world yet, becoming – extraordinarily unhelpful now – a spooky ghost that haunts the hospital. And when – not if – this does happen, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right person in your team to deal with it. Not a priest, though; you’ll need a janitor.
Because the maintenance staff of Two Point Hospital don’t just make sure the machinery stays in working order, make sure the toilets stay unclogged, or make sure the rubbish get taken out regularly, some of them also make sure your hospital stays spooky-ghost free… obviously. Having the support staff be just as personable as the medical staff is a move that serves the game well, meaning that hiring a janitor who has a level two understanding of machinery, or has a surplus of energy, all whilst being able to exorcise ghosts, becomes a rare asset that you’ll happily pay over the odds to make sure you have on your team.
Whilst there’s a lot of diagnosing, hiring, surgery, and… hauntings going on in your hospital, Two Point still suffers from the biggest flaw of the genre. Because when you’ve got everything in place, your wards, offices, and staff, there’s nothing much you can do apart from watch the daily routine and wait for your reputation to grow enough to start over again. You’re able to add extra wings to the hospital by buying up surrounding land, and you’ll be given extra challenges from a certain number of patients arriving with a specific illness, or from your staff with requests like “increase the hospital’s attractiveness,” or don’t have a patient die for a month. These extra challenges are welcomed, but again, if you’re already running a fairly successful hospital, there’s not much to do apart from let things continue as they are.
We’ve seen a revival of sorts with sim games lately. Cities Skyline, Pure Farming, and Jurassic World Evolution all show a return to – with the exception of Jurassic World – the hardcore sim. Two Point Hospital isn’t hardcore; it’s gentle and bursting with humour, from the antenna voice that asks sick patients not to come to the hospital, to the procedures your doctors carry out. And whilst it’s not a game I recommend you binge on, it’s a venture that’ll have you entertained for a long time indeed – whether that’s through achieving every award you can, ensuring the hospital is full of the best and brightest, or simply hiring the cheapest staff you can and watching the hospital become a theatre of chaos, is entirely up to you. Two Point Hospital might not be hardcore but it’s very much a return to that golden age of sim games that entertained us all those years ago.
- A wonderful design that seems inspired by Wallace & Gromit
- Quint essential British humour (we still do that pretty well)
- You never feel like you’re being given too much information
- The game’s slip into routine means that once you’ve got a hospital up to scratch there’s not much to do apart from starting all over again.
Two Point Hospital is rated “3,” in the UK and “E,” for everybody in the US. It actually seems like a really fun game that you could play with your kids and help fill their minds with very bad medical knowledge.
Disclaimer: This review is based of a copy of the game provided by PR for the purpose of this review.