Hands up who remembers the outstanding Theme Hospital? Those of a certain age, certainly will. It was Bullfrog Productions’ brilliant economic simulator that became a much loved favourite. It has taken a while, but in Two Point Hospital we get the follow up it deserved.
With Electronic Arts seemingly not caring about the franchise, it was thanks to original Theme Hospital developer Mark Webley to to right that wrong. Much like how Cities Skylines gave fans the updated Sim City they wanted, Two Point Studios have done the same here.
From the moment you start Two Point Hospital, there is a familiarity about things. Sure there are some obvious visual upgrades and QoL improvements, but you feel nigh on instantly you are playing Theme Hospital 2.0 in all but name.
So if you are familiar with Theme Hospital and liked it, then no need to read further. Just pick the game up now and have the greatest time you can.
For those who haven’t played Theme Hospital here is what you can expect. In America hospitals are run as much like a business as they are for the benefit of saving lives. So Two Point Hospital uses this as the basis for the game.
You must build a hospital that can diagnose and cure various diseases, ailments and more. Whilst doing this you must also balance the books and turn over a profit. Because y’know, shareholders.
You start off basic, by adding a reception area, a GPs office and start to diagnose patients. You then need to add a pharmacy to produce the medication to cure those diagnosed. As you progress further and further, you’ll find new illnesses being discovered. Those will need different types of treatment So you need to build new types of treatment rooms to accommodate them.
It isn’t just planning layouts and getting the right departments in place. You then need think about having the right staff in place. So to help patients who have the ‘Mock Star’ illness, you need to have a doctor who has the psychiatry skill. Otherwise you’ll never save them and thus lose money.
Sometimes you’ll need to train the staff, especially if you can’t hire the right ones. To train them costs money, as you’ll need to build a training room, hire a trainer and then spend time training. Whilst being trained that member of staff is out of action. So you then need to consider how that effects the running of the hospital.
What initially starts simple, then gets very complex. Every little thing you do has an effect. Should a patient die, you likely want to have a janitor who can has a skill that can deal with ghosts. You also want to keep an eye on the personality traits of the staff you have. Have a lazy nurse and there is a chance they are on break more than they are working. Which builds up queues and the potential of unhappy patients, death. Or even worse… a loss of profit!!
There is a balance that needs to be stuck. You will need to micro-manage for a large part. But you’ll then want to get to a point where a lot of the hospital is self sufficient. Especially as you grow bigger and bigger. The problem here (in a good way) is that despite your best efforts, you will always be running into problems.
It can seem like it is all too much to get your head around, but Two Point Studios have you covered. They ease you in by introducing the various mechanics through a series of early levels. Each one building on the previous to teach you the core basics.
It should feel stressful, but somehow it is actually a very relaxing game to play. This is helped by the humour that surrounds everything in the game. Two Point Hospital isn’t afraid to poke fun at the US Healthcare system. There are also the way the illnesses and diseases are treated. To have real life issues would be a bit too dark.
So instead you have conditions like the aforementioned ‘Mock Star’ where Freddie Mercury inspired avatars need psychiatric help to get back to normal. Or the Pandemic, which sees patients with pot and pans on their head and many more.
This isn’t laugh out loud comedy, it just brings a wry smile now and again. That is more than enough though, the developers know exactly what works and execute with aplomb. Everything balances so, so well.
Two Point Hospital is a pure joy from the very moment you start. It keeps it up throughout and is the perfect follow up to a much loved classic.