Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor to the 1997 release by Bullfrog Productions Theme Hospital. Bullfrog were famed for some of the best game releases of the time as far as I’m concerned. Headed up by Peter Molyneux who is now the head of 22cans they developed some iconic games that people still highly regard. Not to mention that our old friend Jane Whittaker fraudulently claimed to have worked with Peter directly, yet strangely Peter has never heard of him in his life!
Anyhoo, enough of the history lesson. I’m sure that anyone who is anyone recognizes the credentials behind Bullfrog Productions, if not I’ll just say ‘Populous’, and leave it there.
Initially released in 2018 on Steam, Two Point Hospital is simply a business simulator created by some of the original team behind Theme Hospital for Two Point Studios and published by Sega. You are charged with constructing and operating an empire of hospitals in the fictional Two Point County, with the goal of curing patients of fictitious, comical ailments. Consoles saw the game released at the start of March 2020.
The in-game characters look like they have been lifted straight from Wallace and Grommit and boy do they look great. In this time of Battle Royale’s and Capcom’s excessive trend of remastering their Resident Evil games, this is a true breath of fresh air in what could be classed as a stale time in game development.
You need to build hospitals on different sites throughout the land, all of which throw up their own issues that you have to deal with. As an example, early in the game you are tasked with building a hospital in a cold part of the world. Your patients will enter the hospital and start to complain of being too cold if you do not build radiators within the environment, but place too many or make them too close to each other and the patients will overheat easily. Each hospital that you unlock comes with their own checklist of tasks that you need to complete in order to level up your hospital. This could be to cure a certain number of patients, keep the staff happiness level above a certain percentage or earn an amount of money within the hospital. The more targets you tick off, the more the hospital will level up from a 1 star hospital to a 3 star one. The more stars you unlock, the greater your overall organisations influence will be in the area.
Starting the game off, tasks are simple and introduce you into the fun of the game and how to expand your hospital, but soon do start to become a little more difficult. The more you do play through the levels of the game, the more specialized rooms you will unlock to use. The best thing is that when you have unlocked those rooms, you can go back to previously built hospitals and implement them there. Once they are unlocked, they remain unlocked through the entire game. One room of note which you eventually unlock is a research room which will obviously allow you to research new rooms, but also upgrades to those rooms so that you can task Janitorial Staff with upgrading them. Once I had unlocked that I went back to my previous hospitals, built that room in them and continued to research new tech which then helped me out in later levels as it was immediately available. The thing is, to use the research rooms successfully you will need to train doctors in the research field which is done via the training room which is luckily unlocked very early on.
So, the basic idea of staffing your hospitals is simple enough, you employ the staff you need, normally starting off with untrained Doctors, Nurses, Reception Staff and Janitorial. Through the use of training rooms which you will need to build you can train those staff up in various specialties for each room. For example, a doctor can be trained in being a GP where he can diagnose patients and decide where they need to go for continued treatment, or you could train them in Psychology for work in the Psychiatrist rooms. You can train them in research only where they will only be able to put their time into that field or train them up in 5 separate aspects which gives them a greater range in which rooms in the hospital they can work in. When a GP has a line of patients waiting to see them, a doctor that is working in Psychiatry and is trained as GP can run to an empty GP room and help to alleviate the queues of patients keeping them happy. The same goes for Nurses who can work on hospital wards or be trained to dispense drugs within the pharmacy as well as other rooms that become available. When it comes to the Janitorial staff, they need to be trained in mechanics to upgrades machines in the hospital or trained in simple repairs. Some will also need to be trained in ghost capture! Yes, the harsh reality of a hospital is that some people wont leave alive and they leave behind their spirit which will float around and scare others unless it is dealt with.
The whole idea of the game is for your hospital to turn a profit. Every patient that comes through the front door will have to pay for one thing or another, whether that be treatment or simply buying food and drink at a vending machine. Within the easily accessible tabs in the game there is a summary of your finances. From there you can increase or decrease prices as needed but just beware that if your prices are a little on the steep side, patients wont be happy and can refuse to pay for treatment giving the hospital a bad reputation which does go against you in the long run. It is a very fine balancing act overall to keep patients happy and money rolling in so that you dont end up bankrupt which will happen if the hospital you are working on at the time hits a negative balance of 300,000.
The controls within the game are very simple and intuitive and within no time at all I was easily navigating the game with my PS4 controller. You sometimes expect games that have come over from Steam to be confusing and overly complicated, the beauty of this game is in the simplicity of navigation.
My PS Pro handled the game easily, and it ran beautifully and smoothly, even with hundreds of patients running around like idiots in the hospital. I was looking for glitches to be able to point them out in this review as I like to point out the negatives of a game, and I honestly couldn’t spot any.
The game is genuinely enormous as well. Straight out of the box on consoles the game comes with two expansions which I believe have just been released on Steam as well. Both expansions expand on the scenarios as well as fictional illnesses that you have to deal with. They also add new items that can be used in your hospitals which you can purchase using ‘Kudosh’, an in-game currency which you accumulate by completing various tasks.
The game is seriously fun. I was kindly given a review copy by Sega just before the Easter weekend and they honestly couldn’t have timed it better. As the UK is currently being ‘advised’ to stay indoors to prevent the spread of Covid-19, what better way to spend my time? I have seriously spent the best part of 60 hours over 4 days with this game. The ‘dad jokes’ alone are enough to keep me entertained; when patients come into a hospital suffering from a pandemic and (yes, you guessed it) have saucepans stuck on their heads, it doesn’t get old. Then factor in a fictitious Radio Station playing in the background which is full of catchy music designed for the game as well as dry whit, which is basically my kind of thing. There is just so much content and stuff to do with the game that I didn’t get bored at all. I know this game is going to be my personal addiction for quite a while. As I said above, its a breath of fresh air and a total break from the norm of what developers lately seem to think gamers want. Just wish that more people had that mindset instead of plowing their money into the likes of Capcom who will continue to release sub standard remakes of old games. That being said, I would love Two Point Studios to remaster Theme Park now for current gen consoles (please?!).
Two Point Hospital is the medicine we have all been needing dispensed for so long. It is a very simple looking game, but has so much depth that is easy to navigate you can easily forget that it is a simulation game and just loose yourself within the fun that is there to be had.
For me this game is easily worth a solid 10/10. I honestly couldn’t find any issues with the game at all. It appeals to all ages which is sometimes what everyone needs, and at this time of world crisis a funny hospital scenario is perfect.
Played and reviewed on the PS Pro
**PLEASE NOTE** AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game from Sega. This has in no way influenced my views on what is truly a fun game as per our Review Policy