Two Point Hospital Hands-On Preview: License To Ill

A brand new studio headed by sim game veterans is ready to breathe life into their flagship title. Are their vitals up to snuff?


During the 90s era of PC gaming, Bullfrog Studios made some the best-selling games on the market. The company’s series of sim titles which included Theme Park, Populous, and Theme Hospital had a lot to do with putting them on the map and establishing the careers of many influential developers. Now, veteran dev Mark Webley and Gary Carr, who both worked on the original Theme Hospital before heading on to help make series like Fable and Black and White have teamed up once more for Two Point Hospital.

Being developed by the appropriately-enough named Two Point Studios and published by Sega, this new sim will put players in the role of a sort of hospital director. Players will build out several pre-shaped hospitals with various rooms and staff and accessories. There’s a lot to think about when building out a hospital though.

During my hands-on time with a PC build of Two Point Hospital I had to start out with the very basics, which meant putting in a desk for the receptionist before hiring one, then putting in seats for patients to sit on while I hired a doctor and got a diagnosis room up and running. Then I needed a pharmacy and a pharmacist, restrooms, janitors, waste bins, more advanced equipment, and so on and so forth.

Along with keeping each hospital supplied and staff, the general happiness of staff and patients is also in the hands of players. This means making sure hospital staff get reasonable wage increases and get some rest in a break room now and again. Patients need things to do while waiting to be seen, so be prepared to supply books. pamphlets, soda & snack machines, along with an arcade game or two possibly.

In order ensure happiness is maintained, a certain level of cleanliness is kept, tired workers get their breaks, and those closest to death are treated with the most immediacy, several visual filters are available to help hunt down trouble spots. For instance, during my demo, my hospital got stuck at a certain level because I couldn’t figure out why some people with a certain illness weren’t being treated. After applying a filter to see where all these infected were hanging out I realized they’d all been waiting for the one bed I’d made to open up. After building two more rooms filled with beds I was able to move up a level in almost no time at all.

Leveling up each of the game’s various hospital locations to three stars is the key to unlocking newer locations and completing everything. Every location has its own pre-shaped floor layout and series of problems players will have to find solutions for. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of serious punishment for going at your own pace or losing a few patients here and there, though you may have to hire a janitor that’s good at bustin’ ghosts if too many people die.

Two Point Hospital take a casual approach to creating a sim environment that also has a lot of nice nuanced details for players to improve their hospitals with. It sense of humor was much more amusing than I expected as well. For instance, the tutorial that teaches players about hiring janitors and keeping things sanitary is called “Charlie Work.” There are a ton of amusing made up names for both doctors and patients, and even some of the illnesses like “Monobrow” may induce a chuckle or two. Afterall, laughter is the best medicine, right?

Right now there’s no set date for Two Point Hospital’s release, but it will be coming to PC and Steam later this year. If you’re a fan of the original Theme Hospital, this is definitely a title you’ll want to keep on your radar as it definitely looks like it’s going to capture the essence of those classic Bullfrog titles.

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Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

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