Have you ever been in a medical waiting room and thought to yourself:
“Why is it taking this long? If I was in charge of this facility I would have already been seen. How hard can it be?”
Well, here is the chance to put it to the test. Build, construct and attract patients into your hospital building. However, will it strive into a successful business with great results for patients or hit rock bottom with loans galore and complete anarchy of a health system?
If the concept of managing a hospital in-game format sounds somewhat familiar, Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor of Themed Hospital by Bullfrog back in 1997. Bullfrog Productions used to dominate the simulation genre back in the ’90s with games such as Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park. But how does Two Point Hospital fair in the modern generation of gaming?
Starting with one privatised hospital it’s your job to build the place from the ground up. For instance, before you can even open your hospital doors, you’ll have to build a GP Office with the minimum dimensions of at least 3×3, but you can make it far bigger if you wish. Don’t worry if it sounds complicated; the game will highlight the floor panels that make this process much easier. After building the room, certain items are allocated to each room by mandatory. Additional items can be bought for the room that will build up attractiveness and prestige level of that room. This, in turn, will help the performance of your employees. If you don’t like the way the room is displayed, you can always edit or completely sell the room in its entirety later down the line, and that adds a layer of creative freedom.
There onward, you’ll have to hire staff with different star ratings to manage and maintain the hospital. Staff members can be allocated to specific rooms as well. However, only certain staff members can manage particular rooms e.g. doctors will only be able to manage GP Office. The staff list of names varies from goofy to absolutely absurd. Ranging from names of Aldo Rhubarb to Walter Lite, because who doesn’t want a nurse handling their pharmaceuticals by that name?
After buying a reception and hiring an assistant to manage the desk you’re ready to open the doors to the public! Progressing later throughout the game you’ll have to build specific facilities that will enable you to cater to certain client needs. For example, a patient with lightheadedness can only be cured in the De-Lux Clinic. These patients walk around the hospital with heads as a lightbulb, which I found rather humorous. In fact, a lot of patients will have distinctive features dependant on their needs.
For a hospital to be successful it will need to appease clients. This can be achieved by the comfort of seating along with different heating items. Furthermore, reducing boredom, thirst, and hunger by purchasing magazine racks, newsagents and snack/drink machines will help clients stick around and have a positive viewpoint of the hospital. Because no private health care experience would be complete without the hospital appeasing the public with capitalist franchising around the facility. But heck, when there’s a gap in the market, there’s money to be made and this time it’s heading directly to your pocket. If the client ends up unpleased they’ll leave the hospital, which will lower hospital reputation.
In worst-case scenarios, patients may die and will haunt the hospital corridors to scare the living. Janitors with the qualification of ghost capture will have to chase the ghostly being down with an exorcist hoover and suck them up in Ghostbusters fashion. Imagine becoming qualified in that? However, what does haunt the hospital, to everyone’s delight, is radio announcer intercom messages. Just like in Theme Hospital, it delivers some comedic moments that will make you feel right at home. One in particular that hits the funny bone was “Please leave toilets as you would hope to find them, not as you would expect to find them.”
Another way to obtain items for your hospital is through the Kudosh currency. By completing objectives and challenges you can earn and accumulate Kudosh that give you the purchasing power of unlocking certain extravagant items or customizable walls and floors. Like a water fountain in your hospital for everyone to ‘aww’ at. Granted, you’ll have to pay for these items individually with your regular currency, but this gives the player the incentive to hit these challenges head-on.
The end goal is to build your hospital from zero to a three-star rated hospital by curing patients and levelling up the overall hospital reputation. When satisfied you can progress onto the next hospital, each time getting progressively harder. You can always head back to the prior hospital you’ve built after progressing further in the game and there’s tons more constructing and building to engage with.
However, ultimately, the hospital is a financial business so you’ll have to keep track of the books to make sure you end up with a surplus and not a deficit after all your purchasing. The key to this game is multitasking. Managing the pendulum of finances and catering to the client’s needs. If you really want to get nerdy with the analytics you can look at the business overview, where it will tell you about the overall hospital finances, leaderboards, bank statements and far more.
The gameplay experience is incredibly smooth, with the main menu at the bottom left corner being easily accessible. The bottom right corner displays your current cash and reputation level. You also have an option to pause the game in real-time, whilst building and customizing, or in contrast, speed up the time. A small nit-pick is that occasionally picking up certain items or staff members if they’re close to a building can be awkward at times and may take several attempts. Another small critique is the loading screens can take a little while, but in its defence – loading screens are a rare occurrence, so by the time you encounter one you’ve forgotten the other one took a while. The cartoon aesthetics of Two Point Hospital really makes the game pop out of the screen with its vibrant colours. Accompanied by its charming soundtrack it strikes this rare balance of a serious game, which cannot be played seriously at all.
Overall, Two Point Hospital is highly addictive. You could easily pick up the gamepad to play one-hour worth of gameplay and end up indulging in 6 hours instead. The game holds your hand during the shallow end of the pool and then throws you into the deep end with the later hospital’s segments. This adds an appealing challenge to players that offers immense replay value.
Two Point Hospital PS4 Review
Overall - Must Buy - 9/10
Two Point Hospital presentence itself as something that feels familiar, but completely fresh at the same time. Even though the game on the surface sounds complex, it’s incredibly light-hearted – and this winning combination can get you addicted fast and have a fun time doing so.
- Light-hearted and comedic moments throughout
- Building and constructing leads to creative freedom
- Highly addictive
- Plenty of replay value
- Loading screens take a while
- Picking up staff/items can be troublesome at time.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.