Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor to the 1997 classic - Theme Hospital. But does it breathe new life into the genre or should it be slapped with a DNR?
Someone Call Me a Doctor!
Two Point Hospital puts you firmly in charge of running a hospital. From designing internal layouts of every room in each building right down to hiring, training and firing staff. You’ll be eased into the role initially by starting in a small hospital and only a couple of illnesses to worry about. As you progress things become more and more taxing. New diseases, problems, challenges, and awkwardly shaped buildings are thrown into the mix at a steady pace. All of this is wrapped up in bright colours and a goofy, cartoon style that is reminiscent of Theme Hospital.
In order to have a successful hospital and progress through the game, you’ll need things to run smoothly and make lots of money. Sometimes this can be as simple as a trip to the GP and then off to the injection room for a quick stabbing. But most of the time this is a lot of time, with patients going to different rooms for several tests and eventual treatment. This causes queues to form, so your hospital will need things to help keep visitors happy, as well as provide top-notch facilities. It’s all a juggling act that requires planning and balance. Luckily Two Point Hospital comes with many graphs, floor charts and reports that all detail what your hospital is lacking.
Is There a Doctor in the House?
Tools for drawing out rooms and placing furnishings are simple and intuitive. You’ll start by drawing out the floorspace with simple drag and drop. Once happy you move onto items like desks, cabinets, and bookshelves. These are handily divided into what is necessary for the room to function and what is available to help it be more efficient.
As the game progresses you’ll encounter new challenges that shake things up. It could be an earthquake that damages your hospital. Or it could be a mystery disease that requires several steps to diagnose and treat. Meaning you’ll be researching new comical and efficient diagnosis and treatment spaces. Thankfully anything that you research in one mission carries over to the next.
Give it to me Straight Doctor!
Two Point Hospital’s charm doesn’t just come from its pleasant graphics, it also stems from its sense of humour. There are radio stations - complete with fake ads and feature segments like a family-friendly version of GTAs stations. Pun-filled disease names like Jest Infection or 8-bitten, which causes patients to appear in 8-bit style graphics. There’s also Mock Star that causes people to pretend to be Freddy Mercury. The equipment for diagnosing and curing these diseases is equally as funny. If someone is diagnosed with Light Headedness they’ll be placed in a machine that unscrews the lightbulb that has replaced their head. The writing throughout is extremely witty, with the descriptions of various ailments being a high point.
Discovering new diseases, treating them and watching your staff and patients go about their day, is very rewarding. When things are running smoothly, you'll be given time to enjoy your surroundings. Everything moves with the look of a cartoon; if a patient dies they’ll come back as a ghost and will require a janitor and their vacuum cleaner to get rid of them. The humour is on point and nails the Theme Hospital nostalgia.
My only gripe with the game is that later hospital buildings are oddly shaped, meaning I had to sacrifice my “vision” for the look of the building. I know this is to add to the challenge, but I found myself wanting to hurry through some levels because not all of my GP offices were uniform in look and style.
Waiting for a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital has been well worth it. The cartoon look and welcoming approach to management make the game extremely inviting and accessible. But underneath the welcoming exterior lies a deep and rich sim that will keep veterans of the genre something to sink their teeth into. The irresistible charm of Two Point Hospital makes the title something thoroughly enjoyable and an experience not to be missed.