Two Point Hospital is a title that has been on the radar since mutterings of it being the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital came about. The question is, does this modern title live up to the 1997’s classic legacy?
Two Point Hospital reminds me of young human me building up a hospital and becoming overwhelmed with the number of tasks to tend to. I was only eight, I wasn’t meant to understand the finances and why I was crashing into debt. My mild fear of hospitals was also heightened thanks to bloated head patients wandering around. They plagued my nightmares.
Developer Two Point Studios has created something special here by improving a system that already worked well but keeping the familiar approach intact. Those familiar with Theme Hospital will feel instantly welcomed.
As I take charge of different hospitals, it’s my job to begin building the site into a fully functioning private health centre. I start with a reception desk, and a GP’s office to get the ball rolling, but then patients need a pharmacy. Some need to visit General Diagnostics, then the illnesses begin to become more varied and treatment rooms need to be purchased.
As more types of illnesses come flocking in, it becomes obvious that I can’t build the hospital how I want. Instead, it’s what the patient’s need otherwise I risk a barrage of unhappy faces and a diminishing reputation. Everything available to build, and research will need building to achieve success.
Those familiar with Theme Hospital will feel instantly welcomed.
Constructing rooms comes with its own challenge of trying to fit everything inside buildable areas. As the game progresses, different floorplans become more puzzling and complicated. These can result in financial decisions such as paying $40,000 to get a plot on neighbouring land. That $40,000 eats into the budget and a loan becomes a more viable option.
Waiting areas need constructing so patients don’t get bored, cold, warm, and even uncomfortable. Some patients frustratingly decide to stand only feet away from benches, then complain there are no seats. I fork out the money for seats closer to the room and they’re satisfied.
There’s a very handy tool which provides players with visual information about anything they want to inspect. Room temperatures and attractiveness, staff and patient happiness, patient health, and more. All information that helps see areas that need improvement.
The in-depth management system allows players to use charts to assess the hospital’s performance. Staff performance, income, cures, are a few. Other information allows players to grant promotions, assign jobs, and even set break policies. Even hiring staff is a fun process deciding between personality or salary.
Alternatively, get a cheap employee and train them up, but that brings me to my one complaint about the staff system…they ask for promotions a hell of a lot. Greedy beggars.
Some patients frustratingly decide to stand only feet away from benches, then complain there are no seats.
Players are only required to get a one-star rating for a hospital to proceed in Two Point Hospital. Different hospitals are set in different climates, financial situations, even natural disasters. All things to take into account when jumping into a level. Some will place mass illnesses at the doorstep, and others will invite prestigious characters who visit to help raise or lower the reputation.
Hospitals require players to focus on goals such as staff training, curing fifty patients, and some on certain treatments. What’s great is that whatever I achieved in one level is then carried over into another. So, researching about Chromatheraphy in one hospital will unlock it for global use.
Researching is also a global situation and players can restart the level without losing that research progress. This can allow players to blow money into research, neglect the hospital, then start again without a focus on research next time. It feels a little bit like cheating, but I like to call it a tactic.
Two Point Hospital looks magnificent to stare at with me losing myself in the management haze. The ability to zoom right in is a welcome feature thanks to the details. All the characters have a rather caricature style, and every room stands out from one another depending on its type, allowing for easier locating of certain rooms.
Two Point Hospital is the best spiritual successor I’ve ever experienced. It not only lives up to the original legacy, but it creates its own.
The one thing that doesn’t seem to stand out is some of the white text on blue backgrounds on parts of the UI and HUD’s. They seem to clash a little too much.
I’d like to see a system to allow me to change the style of floors and walls. I’m not a huge fan of the current colours. I’m also surprised there weren’t more seasonal changes, such as autumnal leaves, and snow. I understand the time-frame is fast in-game, but it could have given some charm and a stronger sense of time.
I’ve found myself wanting to play Two Point Hospital right after closing it for a break. Managing patient complaints is always a boring chore made easier by the jaunty music. I’ve even set the game to fast speed, whacked the prices up to 100% and watched as the money rolled in. At the expense of killing my reputation.
Two Point Hospital’s audio has nice touches, such as audio that plays depending on the cameras focus. The music tracks are often linked with DJ’s that share comical phrases, sometimes making quips on the hospital’s situation. The music and sounds balance well with good interval timings that snapped me out of the trance I kept falling into.
I found the trouble for me came with difficulty. For those familiar with Theme Hospital it’s the memorable balancing act of organisation and management. For new players, it’s more of a puzzling drop into the dark. Increased starting budgets and fewer patients could help ease newer players into the title. It seems like the title currently ramps its difficulty up the more the player lags behind.
Different hospitals are set in different climates, financial situations, even natural disasters.
There’s plenty to keep players coming back for more, with an online feature that allows players to battle against Steam friends. Completing these challenges will earn more Kudosh —an in-game token system used to unlock items— and add more fun on top of the current fun. There’s always the incentive to go back through previous hospitals and get three stars.
Two Point Hospital is the best spiritual successor I’ve ever experienced. It not only lives up to the original legacy, but it creates its own. There are subtle nods to Bullfrog Productions where patients appear with names like “Bullfrog”.
Occasionally it feels like renewing an old love. The constant witty humour and challenging gameplay make Two Point Hospital enjoyable for those who loved Theme Hospital’s management style, and those new to the genre.
A PC code was provided to complete this review