*Reviewer to the study room, please…* Two Point Hospital is Two Point Studios’ spiritual sequel to Bullfrogs Theme Hospital, a game which is most likely bigger now than it was upon release many years ago. It’s a game I feel needs no introduction as I, and millions of others, grew up with the silly antics of running a Theme Park, a Hospital, a dungeon and even a magical land inhabited by giant beasts. The 90’s was a great time for experimental games and games which wanted to try something new rather than become clones of one another. Yes, technically, Two Point Hospital is a sort of ‘clone’ of Theme Hospital, but it’s one which I approve of!
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors at a hospital? Are you too scared to visit one in case that luminescent head of yours turns out to be something more serious than a bad case of light headedness? Maybe you watched a marathon of Scrubs and came to the conclusion that it was too serious and not silly enough? If so, Two Point Hospital is awaiting you to check in and check out this awesome game…
Two Point Hospital takes the management simulation genre and delivers a product which is both fun to play yet not too overwhelming in its delivery – at least not until the later hospitals. However, with the lack of the main story, other than you’re recently placed in charge of a hospital – now go manage it, the developers have opted to implement some questionable mobile phone game mechanics. As such, there are a few things within the game which felt a little out of place, which I’ll touch on later.
From the outside though, you’re the new hospital director who has been appointed to a new bare-bones hospital – I say barebones, it’s literally an empty shell with nothing inside. It’s your job to construct the various rooms you need, hire staff, maintain both your wages and happiness of the employees and above all create a smooth running hospital which is good enough to earn three stars. Along the way you’ll encounter events which throw you off, people with illnesses you’ve never heard of before, run out of money (although not very often), and even encounter natural disasters which will make your life hell.
Do you think you have what it takes to run one of the Two Point Hospital franchises? Let’s find out…
Doctor required in the GPs office…
If you’ve played Theme Hospital, or even Dungeon Keeper or Dungeons 2 or 3 before, then Two Point Hospital should look very familiar in both its style and mechanics. The game offers a decent tutorial which guides you through creating your first hospital, with regular pop up hints from time to time when a new room or disease is discovered. It’s not a hard game to pick up on though, simply pick a room, for example, the GPs office, draw out the required size, which in this case is 3×3, and then plop down a door, the desk and a set of drawers and hey presto! You have your first room up and running.
However, the point of the game is to cure your patients, keep the hospital running smooth and to keep your staff happy. Not everyone will be happy stuck in a closet with a desk and a filing cabinet for company! As such, the 3×3 size guidelines for this building are just that, guidelines. You can actually make the room as big as you want, but it will always only house one doctor at a time, so be mindful of that – don’t go making a massive room expecting to get a group GP session going on! You can also kit out each room with a number of items which range from a plant to increase beauty, a coffee machine to provide a pick-me-up, windows so the inhabitant can see out, and even a fire extinguisher for those ‘just in case’ moments.
As you progress throughout the game, you’ll get the chance to unlock new and exciting items which you can use throughout the various rooms and also outside in the hallways. I like raising the prestige of each room by slapping a load of fake award notices on the walls – the doctors and nurses don’t care if they’re real or not, as long as you have them up it makes them feel like they are special and accomplishing things!
My mighty Staff!
Everyone knows that a company is only as good as it’s employees right, well this saying is also true with your appointed hospital in Two Point Hospital. Initially, and in the majority of the levels, you hire staff with pre-set traits, traits which can later be learnt via training. The more trails someone has, the more they will want to be paid each month and up front as a one-off payment. The issue here is you have to have the right balance of staff so they aren’t just sat around doing nothing, but also so you aren’t losing patients due to rooms not being populated.
This was one of the hardest things for me as a lot of the staff love hanging around the staff room when they get tired, thus leaving their post. Then I’ll hire a new member of staff and I’ll now have too many people. What I found myself doing was building at least two of each room and sending the employees on breaks at different times, in order to try and balance out the shifts – but that never seemed to work very well.
In the end, I found that having too many staff was always better than not having enough – So I just built a massive staff room and hired a load of skilled ‘on call’ employees. It’s not the best way to go about it, but it worked – my hospital hardly ever had an issue where the patient was waiting due to no doctor or nurse being avaliable.
The staff you can hire are Doctors (for all the doctor things like GP, Surgery and Psychiatry), Nurses (for things like the Pharmacy, the Ward and Cardiology), Assistants (to man Reception and the various shops), and Janitors (to clean up pee, sick, water plants and catch ghosts). Did I forget about that part? In Theme Hospital, when a patient dies on-site, their spirit rises and Death appears to cart them off to the after-life. In Two Point Hospital, Death appears to be on holiday (maybe it’s Death from Flipping Death? Unintentional cross-over?) so instead of the spirits being whisked away, your janitors whip out their Dust-Busters and suck up the ghosts (as long as they have the skill for this).
Theme Hospital was infamous for its wacky illnesses and diseases placed within the game. From its ‘Bloaty Head’ syndrome, which required you to pop the patients head and blow it back up to regular size, to the ‘Slack Tongue’ disease, which required you to stretch out the patients ‘Lickitung’ tongue and cut it off with a guillotine! I’m happy to say that Two Point Hospital retains the same level of wackiness and proceeds to take it to a new level with some crazy new illnesses which have been derived from either a genius or a madman!
For example, one of the first things you’ll encounter is the aforementioned ‘Light Headedness’. This involves patients with a glowing lightbulb as a head – get it?! The cure – simply unscrew their head and pop on a new human replacement – $6000 later and both the customer and the hospital staff are very happy. Another one which I found quite hilarious is the ‘Mock Star’ disease. This rather horrific illness has patients thinking they are Freddy Mercury, the famous frontman from Queen, as they enter the hospital in full Freddie clothing and even walk around with his infamous strut! This one is quite simple to cure though as it’s all in the patients head – get them to see a good psychiatrist and boom, back to normal.
Over time, you’ll encounter some patients who you can’t diagnose due to not having the right diagnosis rooms – you can either ask them to wait or take a chance on a possible cure. I found that ‘taking a chance’ usually meant ‘send them to the slaughter’ as it rarely works – I would either send them home or ask them to wait if it’s a building I can build now. The fewer people dying in your hospital the better.
Two Point Hospital iOS/Android version!
Okay, if you recall, I mentioned earlier that there are some ‘mobile phone’ mechanics within Two Point Hospital – if not, it’s in the third paragraph. Basically, what we have here is the lovely three-star grading system *grumble grumble* – which some of you will know I really don’t like. When it’s implemented into a mobile game, fine – that’s what they do these days, but when implemented into an actual game on a PC or console, it makes it feel like a mobile game, even though it isn’t! In the case of Two Point Hospital, you are aiming to get three stars in each hospital you take over. To obtain these stars you must complete a set of objectives each time – for example, to get one star may require X amount of patients cured, a 60% success rate of the last 20 patients and earn X amount of money. Once one star is unlocked, you can move to the next hospital if you want or stay here and try and get the other two.
If you achieve all three stars then you’ll be rewarded with the option to upgrade your machinery more via your Janitors (the Janitors actually do quite a lot in your hospital!). However, as long as you achieve at least one star, you can move onto the next location – so the progression block isn’t that bad in Two Point Hospital.
Another mechanic which reminded me of mobile games, namely those time-wasting clicker games, is the ‘career rewards’ you unlock on the map screen. These are ‘kudos’ point rewards (the currency you use to unlock new items in your hospital) which are acquired by meeting certain criteria. These criteria vary from ‘Earn X amount of dollars’, ‘Promote X amount of Y staff type’, ‘Get three stars in X hospital’ etc… The reason they remind me of the mobile clicker games is that they usually have the same mechanics – Click X amount or times or Kill X amount of enemies and you’re rewarded X amount of premium currency. Personally, if this game came to consoles at a cheap price, went free to play, or moved over to mobile – I can see these ‘career goals’ increasing and microtransactions replacing the means to get Kudos points. However, I hope it never comes to that.
Does Two Point Hospital have multiplayer? That’s a question I imagine a few of you out there may be asking. The simple answer is no, it doesn’t. However, it does have challenges which you can play against your friends, providing they are online. Simply open a separate menu in-game and pick what challenge you want, research, training, financial etc… Then the timer begins and whoever comes first received some Kudos points. The issue here is, you can pick friends who aren’t online and who don’t have the game. Doing so means you will always come first – which kinda defeats the purpose if I’m being honest. So yeah, Multiplayer no, simple challenges yeah.
Two Point Hospital is very simplistic and stylised in its visuals. Theme Hospital went the route of realistic looking with over-the-top illnesses, Two Point Hospital basically goes all-in silly and cartoony. It’s not a bad thing though as the game looks very pretty and when you zoom right in, everything looks really sharp and detailed. The downside with that is if you’re still rocking an older GPU, like my trusty GTX 480, then it does get pretty noisy as it may be a simple game but technically it does push the older cards quite a bit if you want to have a stable 60fps at 1080p/medium-high. I imagine that’s my issue though and the majority of people out there won’t have any issues with it.
Soundwise, Two Point Hospital is just as charming, if not more, than Theme Hospital. You have your announcer woman, who sounds very similar to the Theme Hospital one, lots of sound effects from the grumbling patients and machinery, and also a full radio station! That’s right, instead of just getting music, we have our own hospital radio complete with DJ who will randomly chat between songs to keep you amused and entertained. I thought this was great as it made the transition from one song to the next that little bit more delightful and fun.
When I first started playing Two Point Hospital, I had my doubts about if this was a good game or not. There are so many similarities to Theme Hospital, I began to think that this is merely a clone of a great game, so that’s why this game is also great. It would be hard to create a bad game if you have literally copied everything from a game which is technically a masterpiece. However, the more I played it, the more I began to see Two Point Hospital as it’s own product with its new mechanics it introduces such as random natural disasters and the ability to go back to any previous hospital to farm more money. Small things like this, as well as the vast amounts of new diseases and dramatic increase of difficulty once your hospital is over-run with patients, really kept me entertained and addicted to it for many hours.
I know I keep comparing Two Point Hospital to Theme Hospital but both were created by the same geniuses who previously worked for Lionhead and Bullfrog back in the day! This is why both titles are so similar yet different at the same time.
So, after over ten hours of gameplay, I think I can safely say that yes, this game is a blatant copy of the amazing Theme Hospital, but it’s a massive improvement on everything which was present within that game. Everything is easier to use (even though it’s a little overwhelming at first if you start looking into the menus before it tells you to), looks more detailed, the amount of content is vastly increased and the comedy is above and beyond that of Theme Hospital. All in all, I think the developers have done a great job and I really hope it does make it’s way to consoles – albeit without the microtransactions I theorised on before!
Two Point Hospital delivers the perfect combination of a management simulation crossed with sheer wacky fun! Half the fun you’ll have will be creating all the various rooms and investing in new and exciting objects to keep everyone entertained, and the other half will be just simply watching the sick patients getting ‘cured’ in the rather elaborate machines. Everyone is referring to Two Point Hospital as Theme Hospital 2.0 for a very good reason, it follows the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mantra and in this instance, it works perfectly. Almost every option, the visuals, processes, and mechanics from Theme Hospital have been improved upon and expanded into a game which is very different yet feels very similar in both its core gameplay and overall playability.
If you love management simulation games, or just want to experience what it must be like to run Sacred Heart Hospital from Scrubs, only with more craziness, then check out Two Point Hospital today!
Two Point Hospital£24.99
- Graphically the game looks amazing with top-notch animations
- Every single playthrough is different
- Lots to unlock and a story thats a lot longer than Theme Hospital
- The comedy is perfect - never a dull moment in Two Point Hospital!
- The hospital radio with an announcer is a great touch which works really well.
- Some levels can get pretty hectic without any warning
- It's almost impossible to lose as I never ran out of money or felt I was in trouble