For me, the ’90s gaming era was all about games like Theme Park and Theme Hospital. I could spend whole summer breaks creating water rides that kept visitors trapped for months or dealing with epidemics of bloaty headed patients and trying to curb yet another infestation of rats. It’s been many years since I’ve played either of those games but I can still visualize exactly how to lay out my park as well as hearing the receptionist’s voice asking patients in the morgue to be as quiet as possible.
Two Point Hospital is somewhat of a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital and although I was a little concerned about if it’d be able to successfully make the jump over from PC to console, I needn’t have worried. You can tell that a lot of time and effort has been put into making sure that using a controller is just as intuitive as using a mouse. Whether you’re trying to creating new rooms or quickly pick-up members of staff, you’ll soon be whizzing around the hospital like a pro.
You’ll begin your career as a hospital manager looking after one small place in the fictional Two Point county. You have to prove that you can successfully manage it and turn a profit before gaining access to different hospitals that are in need of your healing touch. Each level starts in pretty much the same way, with you building a reception area and GP’s office. But you’ll then need to build different diagnosis and treatment rooms depending on the kinds of illnesses that you encounter.
Each hospital has a different set of challenges for you to overcome and new hazards to face. The game is great at gradually introducing new mechanics to you. For example, in some areas, you’ll be dealing with electrical storms and other extreme weather conditions, whereas other hospitals will only allow you to recruit junior staff that you’ll need to train up. You’ll need to take all the knowledge you’ve learned in earlier scenarios if you want to truly conquer the later ones.
It’s up to you if you want to complete absolutely every challenge a scenario has to offer or if you want to skip ahead to the next level after achieving a one-star rating. Personally, I liked jumping ahead and seeing what was awaiting me in the next stage. There’s also the added benefit that once you unlock new rooms or items you’ll be able to use them in all levels you have access to. This can make it easier to achieve that elusive three-star rating you’ve been coveting.
Just can’t get the staff these days
You’ll be hiring a lot of staff members to help support your fledgling hospital empire and while many are very productive employees, others have some questionable personality traits which can impact how they perform. For example, a doctor with a weak bladder is more likely to need frequent bathroom breaks to deal with their needs. You can counteract some of their negative personality traits through training as well as teaching them new skills that can improve the success rate they have with patients.
Like many things in the game, it’s all about finding a balance. Training your staff from scratch is great but it takes time and money, sometimes it’s easier to just hire someone expensive with the right credentials straight away and take the hit to your bottom line. There are lots of different choices to how you can manage your hospital and you can become as much of a micromanager as you like. I really liked that I could do things like assigning what type of rooms each staff member is allowed to work in, as well as prioritizing certain patients.
Sometimes, no matter how much training you give your staff or how much you bump the sickest patients up the queue they’ll still die on you. It can be frustrating at times as it feels a bit out of your control but I guess that’s also what happens in real life, you can’t cure everyone. Death can be bad for your hospital’s reputation and it can also sometimes lead to the corridors becoming infested with ghosts. Thankfully you can hire janitors who are trained in the art of getting rid of these nasty blighters, by sucking them up with a hoover. Even in death the game can’t help but joke around.
The game is very visually appealing as it uses lots of vibrant colors as well as a character style that wouldn’t look out of place in a Wallace and Gromit movie. It’s really fun to just stop and watch all the weird and wonderful patients that wander into your hospital. Many of the diseases that they’re suffering from are ridiculously weird and wacky. Some of them will be suffering from animal magnetism and have cute little furry critters all over them, whereas others have been struck down with light-headedness and had their head replaced with a light bulb. I smiled pretty much every time my doctors discovered a new disease as all the descriptions are filled with ridiculous puns and dad jokes.
You’re really able to leave your mark on each hospital that you enter as you can customize them to your liking. It’s not just the size and shape of the room that you change but also what items you place in each one as well as wallpaper and staff uniforms. You’ll need to use kudosh, a currency you get from completing challenges, to unlock many of these things. There’s a heck of a lot of content to unlock so you’ll be playing for quite a while if you want access to everything. There are also plans by the developer to bring a sandbox mode at the end of March in a free update, so there’s plenty of content to keep you busy.
Whether you’re a fan of the old Theme Hospital or a complete newbie to business simulators, there’s an awful lot to love about Two Point Hospital with its fantastic sense of humor and incredibly addictive gameplay. It also performs really well on the PS4 and the developers have done a great job of adapting the controls to console.
Two Point Hospital PS4 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.