I consider myself to be a big fan of the games produced by the now defunct Bullfrog Productions back in the 90s. Their goofy management sims Theme Park and Theme Hospital provided me endless hours of entertainment and had a sense of humor that was slightly sardonic and absurd at the same time. Fast forward twenty years and the folks at Sega and their newest development partners at Two Point Studios have produced a new hospital management simulation for the modern age. Two Point Hospital is everything that made you nostalgic for the management sims of old, while providing a facelift to the presentation and gameplay that makes for an easy-to-recommend package.
Be Doogie Howser’s boss
At its simplest, Two Point Hospital charges you with the task of building and overseeing a network of hospitals across the fictional Two Point County. The game is presented in a campaign that sees you build out medical facilities to meet the specific needs of a given community. As you gain levels and increase the reputation of a hospital, you will be awarded stars. Once you earn enough stars, new hospital scenarios and special medical equipment will open across Two Point County. The game allows you to move freely between these hospitals during play and advancements or upgrades earned at one hospital will be available at all other locations.
All hospitals make use of a shared set of room and item types. Inhabitants of Two Point County will wander into your facility with all sort of ailments. They will need to be directed by reception to the room appropriate to their symptoms. All hospitals will make use of general practitioner and general diagnosis rooms. Patients with more exotic conditions will be directed to rooms capable of specialized treatments and equipment. If a patient is successfully diagnosed and treated, your hospital will earn money that you use to pay staff and expand your operations. If you don’t have the facilities needed to treat special patients at any given time, they will begin to stand around your hospital and become increasingly angry, resulting in walkouts or death, both of which can negatively impact your reputation.
A hospital’s level and reputation are important because they determine how many patients will seek treatment and the quality of staffers that you will be able to hire. Like the patients, your staff also has wants and needs that must be fulfilled for them to remain happy. If you have a few doctors or nurses that become agitated enough to quit, the rooms that they are assigned to are vacated and will be unable to treat anyone, possibly leading to a snowball effect of angry or dead patients. Staff can be appeased by a combination of growing salaries, career advancement, skills training, break room amenities, and time off.
10ccs of distilled joy
While all the gameplay systems integration and expansion is worth mentioning, I found the journey of operating the hospitals, researching new technology, and using earned ability to be incredibly fun. Simply mentioning them in this review would spoil the fun of encountering these new rooms, treatments, and mechanics for yourself. With all parts of the game stripped down to the bare management simulation, the game succeeds. Any management game nut will be able to wring multiple hours of entertainment out of Two Point Hospital, and this is before you even factor in the game’s expertly realized presentation.
I was less than two hours into my time with Two Point Hospital before I lost track of how often the game was making me smile. It has an art style that looks like a mobile game from a distant glance, but is full of subtle detail that greatly enhances the experience. Character models are incredibly goofy and the graphical representation of their ailments, emotions, and stresses are still making me grin after nearly 30 hours of playtime. The sound effects are pretty amazing as well and help sell the light-hearted nature of the onscreen action. There is subtle (and not-so-subtle) humor sprayed all over Two Point Hospital, from the buses full of clowns to the hilarious character flaws of your medical staff. PA announcements never fail to elicit a chuckle and the ambient sounds of the treatment rooms, bathrooms, and hallways work together to enhance the vibe.
I want to specifically give some props to the in-game radio station, dubbed Two Point Radio. It features a nice collection of laid-back music to help you maintain your sanity while spending hours tinkering with your hospitals. In between the songs are a group of DJs that are overflowing with hilarity and charm. This radio station really helps put Two Point Hospital in league with the titans of the nonsensical management genre, like SimCity 2000 or the previously mentioned Bullfrog games.
The game is not without its own problems, though. Item placement and room construction can often be incredibly frustrating when trying to work within limited construction areas, especially early on in the campaign when you are not accustomed to the quirks of the building process. Some room types, reception in particular, feel half baked and working them into your floorplan is far from painless. While the campaign is very good, the lack of a scenario creation tool or some other way to spice up the proceedings will be a disappointment for those who want to keep plugging away at the game after completion. Mod support via the Steam Workshop for new rooms, items, or scenarios would likely turn this game into something with incredibly long legs. I have not looked into plans for post launch content, so it’s possible that this gripe could be alleviated in the future. As I understand it, Two Point Studios is looking at expanding the world of Two Point County with other games in this universe. I am very excited to see what they cook up next.
A cure for all that ails you
Two Point Hospital is just what the doctor ordered. Management sim fans will eat this up and the game’s expertly executed presentation will be able to draw in players new to the genre with its humor and charm. While it’s far from perfect and can become frustrating at times, anyone who has had even a passing interest in checking the game out will come away pleased. During my playtime, I experienced no real bugs, crashes, or other technical issues. The game ran smoothly on my PC and is not particularly demanding of your hardware. Two Point Hospital is a wonderful time waster or the next sim game that you obsessively play for hours. 9/10 prostate exams
This review is based on the PC Steam release. The game key was provided by the publisher. Two Point Hospital was made available for Windows and Linux on August 30, for $34.99.
Two Point Hospital
- Solid management sim
- Good character design
- Oozing with charm
- Outstanding in-game radio station
- Quirks building tools and item placement
- Lack of mod support
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Two Point Hospital Review: Just what the doctor ordered
Very addicting little sim, definitely reminds me of stuff like dungeon keeper. The building is a bit finicky and they need to add layout cloning, having to rebuild each room type from scratch gets old fast. Steam workshop support would vastly increase the shelf life.
My OCD cheapness is keeping me from unlocking the new items though, I have thousands of that currency lol
Yeah, a room copying function would be super useful, and the game practically screams for workshop integration. Hopefully the devs have that stuff on their roadmap! But on the whole it's a lot of fun.
Does 3 starring a map always give you stuff? Sometimes I didn't get stuff?
No sandbox, no thanks.
I miss the Bullfrog sims as a kid. Can’t wait to give this one a shot. Also I was happy to hear that this is the first sim of many that they want to revive.
Two Point Theme Park would be awesome.
Four hours in now and loving it. The comedy hits exactly the same tone as Theme Hospital and it's been really fun so far.