I feel like a visit to the GP’s office may be in order, because I’ve become obsessed with another management sim. This time, it’s not about managing a city; instead it’s a hospital. The ailments are super weird, and the treatments are even weirder. It’s reminiscent of Bullfrog Production’s game Theme Hospital, which is a game I both loved, and completely sucked at.
That seems to be the theme of my childhood in gaming. Looking back, I realize that I was absolutely terrible at videogames, but that’s beside the point.
Tripping Down Memory Lane
Thankfully, I avoided any injuries on the sojourn into nostalgia, because I’m positive that I both wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to any of my hospitals, and there’s high likelihood that I’d end up getting vacuumed up by one of the janitors after a botched treatment anyway.
As I stated earlier, I ended up buying this game for two reasons:
- I loved Theme Hospital when I was a kid
- I love management games
If that’s all you needed to know, and you haven’t already bought the game… What the hell is wrong with you? (Check the tag, because this isn’t a review. I’m just puking up words onto the screen about how much I love the game).
If you’re still not convinced, then read on.
As with most games of this design, you build your way up over the course of several areas, giving you access to new and improved diagnostic and treatment methods in order to combat the rapidly escalating illnesses and ailments that seem to be plaguing the Two Point world. Furthermore, the different areas in the game tend to host different quirks. Where one hospital will give you the freedom to hire staff of any skill level, there’s also one that requires you to train your doctors because it’s a teaching hospital. Some locations tend to give you a higher chance of getting bone break injuries, as well as occasional earthquakes.
Basically, the game throws better tools at you, along with tougher challenges to make you actually use those tools. Building an efficiently managed hospital is key, because patients can’t be cured if they die before they get out of the waiting room (seems logical, right?). Starting out in a new hospital can be a bit of a task as you don’t have anything when you first open up the doors. Oddly enough, people will start showing up before the doctors even arrive if you aren’t fast enough.
That’s a pretty standard part of the game itself, as most management sims tend to follow the same basic ideas. Where Two Point Hospital veers off from the norm is in the quirky humor, which is extremely similar to Theme Hospital. This won’t come as much of a shock once you realize that many of the folks that worked on Theme Hospital also worked on Two Point Hospital. Maybe they just wanted to make a new hospital management game in the same spirit of the aforementioned title after EA shuttered their studio.
I’m genuinely glad they did though, because Two Point Hospital is a delight to play. It holds just enough of a challenge to keep me interested, without making me feel like I’m beating my head against the wall. I have the ability to design hospitals in ways that don’t amount to min-maxing my diagnostic and treatment facilities, and I’m actually rewarded for making my hospital a pleasant place to be, while not being penalized for not having an arcade cabinet every two feet. Furthermore, there’s a bit of strategy built into the people that you hire, because you’re trying to maintain the synergy of your staff and patients, not just churning people through the system.
Just be warned… There are clowns. Lots and lots of clowns. Thankfully, the general idea is to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
Clowns aside (where they belong), it’s amazingly fun, and well worth the cost to get the game, even at the normal price. The fact that it’s going to get a console release soon is awesome, because I’ll celebrate any time a game is made available for a larger audience. The strategy is fairly deep without requiring the player to don the surgical gloves, the humor is on point, and the subject matter isn’t serious enough to instill a sense of existential dread in the player.
I can’t imagine playing a serious hospital management game, because that’d probably just be depressing. Just imagine having to manage the billing department. That’d be enough to drive me to drink.
So, short and sweet?
Diagnosis: Patient presents with symptoms of withdrawal from lack of exposure to healthcare management games.
Treatment: Patient prescribed Two Point Hospital.
General Notes: Insurance coverage will not cover prescription. No samples available. Patient must purchase their own damn game.
What’s your take on Two Point Hospital? Have you played Theme Hospital? Does it stack up (of course it does)?