Review

Two Point Hospital Review - Laughter Is The Best Medicine

  • First Released Aug 29, 2018
    released
  • PC
James Swinbanks on Google+

A medical marvel.

Back in 1997, Theme Hospital laughed us all back to health with its acutely tongue-in-cheek approach to hospital management simulation. 21 years later, Two Point Hospital pulls at the same nostalgic heart strings, channeling Theme Hospital’s brand of brash, British humour and mixing it with some surprisingly deep economic management gameplay. Two Point Hospital simultaneously pays homage to its predecessor while surgically carving out its own place in your heart.

Two Point Hospital puts you behind the administrator’s desk and charges you with both the grander and finer aspects of managing your new hospital empire, from designing the internal layout of each building down to hiring staff and researching treatments. You’ll start out small with only a single hospital and a handful of illnesses to worry about treating and slowly build your way up towards managing larger locations with multiple buildings and a vast range of wacky illnesses that require special rooms and equipment to treat. Its goofy style--bright colours and characters with big, bulbous heads--belies the depth of its management simulation, finding a good balance between both aspects. Helpful tutorials in each mission ease you into the concepts behind new objectives at a comfortable pace, and as you complete them, you’ll earn stars to unlock new missions as well as room types.

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For your hospital to run smoothly and make lots of money, patients need to be diagnosed and then treated as quickly as possible. For some that means a quick trip to the GP’s office, then a jab in the injection room. But for most, this means long stays and visits between different rooms for tests and eventual treatment. For these patients, as well as your staff, you’ll need to make sure there’s plenty of things around to keep their mood up, placing importance on how you make use of your space. Getting it right can make the difference between having the best reputation in the business, or causing an innumerable number of patient deaths, dropping your reputation and bank balance into the toilet. Helpfully, you’re given lots of colourful graphs and floor charts to work out what needs improvement, so you’re not left out in the cold trying to work out why all your patients are rage-quitting and storming out the hospital doors before being treated.

The tools for drawing out rooms and placing furnishings feel intuitive and robust; rooms are drawn out like blueprints on a floor plan, then once you’re happy with the layout you can place your items like desks, bookshelves and coffee machines. Items help add prestige to a room, and are unlocked using Kudosh, a reward currency that’s awarded for completing objectives. The larger the room and the more you fill it with items, the higher its prestige and happier staff and patients will be when using it, meaning staff work longer and for less money and patients will pay you more. This creates an interesting dichotomy between saving available space for a bigger variety of rooms, or building larger, higher-level rooms and seeing the effects that both have on your staff and patients.

Later missions go out of their way to shake up the established gameplay loop by throwing machine-damaging natural disasters like storms and earthquakes at you. You need to draw on everything you’ve learned up to that point as mission objectives broaden and your funds start to spread thin. You also have to consider the mind-boggling number of different treatment rooms to research and prioritise which to build and which patients to turn away. While some diseases only require a pharmacy to cure, others require their own rooms with expensive equipment, and putting all your money into the wrong treatments could leave your bank account reeling.

Thankfully anything that’s researched in one mission becomes available in all others, so if you get stuck somewhere and don’t have the funds to research what you need, you can always go back to a previous hospital and get them to front the research bill instead. This grander focus across all your hospitals extends to a light multiplayer portion in the form of leaderboards. All of your stats like cure rates, money earned and reputation are saved to online leaderboards, where you can compare your successes and failures against your friends. It’s only good for bragging rights, but it’s a nice addition regardless.

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Part of Two Point Hospital’s overwhelming charm is its sense of humor, which permeates every corner of the game, from the fantastically funny radio station--complete with fake ads and feature segments--to the pun-laden disease names like Jest Infection or 8-bitten. Someone suffering Mock Star shuffles about with the look and swagger of Freddie Mercury, requiring a session with the psychiatrist to pull them out of it. Equally funny are the contraptions used to cure some of the rarer conditions. The Extract-a-Pan treats Pandemic and is a giant magnet on the end of a tube that pulls the pan off the top of the patient's head. The writing throughout is sharp and witty, with the descriptions of various ailments being a particular high point.

But just discovering those diseases and their often darkly funny symptoms, as well as watching your staff and patients go about their day, feels rewarding enough. Everything moves with the look and flow of a cartoon pantomime; patients will die only to come back as ghosts and haunt your hallways until a janitor can come along and suck them up with a vacuum cleaner. At one point my receptionist got up from his desk, vomited in front of patients because he was disgusted by something, then left to pour a coffee in the break room before demanding a pay raise. It nails the Theme Hospital nostalgia and is so good that even the 20th time you hear the announcer ask patients “not to die in the hallways” is hilarious.

Part of Two Point Hospital’s overwhelming charm is its sense of humor, which permeates every corner of the game.

The one area where the game does suffer is in the minor grind of starting a brand-new hospital for each new mission. After spending hours perfecting several locations, going through the early phases of a new hospital starts to feel more like a chore than it should. It’s not a long process, but it quickly becomes a section you want to rush through to get to the things you haven’t seen yet.

It’s remarkable that it’s taken so long for a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital to show up, but now that it’s here, it feels like it’s been well worth the wait. The exaggerated, cartoon look and relaxed approach to management make it inviting enough for most players, while the deeper aspects of its economy are enough to keep seasoned players engaged. Two Point Hospital not only re-works an old formula into something modern and enjoyable, it also iterates on the classic brand of irresistible charm and wit, making something that’s truly wonderful.

James Swinbanks on Google+
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The Good
Great sense of humour is infused into every facet of the game
Cartoony look adds a relaxed and light-hearted tone
Robust management systems allow for varying styles of play
Different hospital scenarios force a change in approach, rewarding different play styles
The Bad
Starting new hospitals from scratch can feel like busy work
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

In the 20 hours he spent with Two Point Hospital, James Swinbanks cured 1284 patients, and he’s not even a real doctor! He played using code provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

No idea how they pulled it off so well, but i couldn't have thought out a better remake of Theme Hospital. I really like how you can go back to old hospitals and play them and make them better as the game goes on... this is something i always wanted in the original game and it was always said to leave a really nice hospital you created to never see it again.

Just hope they listen to some complaints about the game and add a few things. One thing i find annoying is the radio. I just want to hear the music, not the radio DJ talking, they need to add a way to turn him off.

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lonewolf1044

I brought the game and hope to get some playtime this weekend and from what I see I like. I understand there are bugs and hopefully the developers will address those and also add more content and features. :)

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Gelugon_baat

The gameplay still involves around single-floor layouts. *Sigh* :/

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

they could easily have put in multiple floors. The real problem though is managing that many floors in a top down 3d game like this.

I agree with the developers on keeping this a 1 floor game. I play Sims all the time, and have multiple floors on almost every house i make, but you never know whats going on each floor unless are constantly checking and its tedious.

Theme hospital and Two Point, there are a million things happening all at once, you could never possibly keep track of two floors at the same time without some big changes like putting each floor on a split screen.

The developers want you to see all the interesting activity in the hospital as much as possible and didn't want to hide it in multiple floors. Plus this is a remake of Theme Hospital and they have nailed it without changing too much.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I have something to say about the reviewer's remark about the tediousness of setting up the foundations.

In the management game titles that I have played that involves floor layouts (this is important to keep in mind), the developers usually attempt to address this through the following ways:

1. Give the player loads of money - but this means that the player has to do everything else. Most developers go this lazy-ass route because they know the other ways have risks of things going wrong (and that means they are to blame when these risks manifest).

2. The developers have played each level, and have each level pre-loaded with rooms and such so that the basics are already there. Yet, sometimes their decisions suck hard, and the player has to wipe things and reorganize them for better efficiency. This is bad, if wiping things do not reimburse the player's coffers.

3. There are scripts that automatically generate the rooms and facilities together with the level. These are where things can go so wrong because, you know, bugs. Doors of rooms facing corners of buildings instead of the main corridor paths and such other stupid bullshit by the dumb proc-gen.

Now, again, I should emphasize here that I still see this "starting from scratch" as a problem. I just don't think that it's fixable in any reliable way, and it is inherent to this kind of management game.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Each of the flush toilets have two cisterns, one bigger than the other. What is this goofery? XD

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kielkaiser

the best succesor of a great game, still some things to add, and some things to fix but, a great game

Avatar image for jinzo9988
jinzo9988

That doctor though... it looks like a cross between Wallace from Wallace & Gromit and the generic art style of mobile games.

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

The style is fairly close to the original Theme Hospital. At first glance when i saw the stupid star system i thought mobile game but playing it, its not a negative factor. I wish they had not used a star system because of this and instead just use a letter system like A+, A, B, B+ and so on. Star rating system is embarassing and has been stained by mobile games.

I think they got the right balance of crisp graphics but not overdoing it either, almost any mid range video card made in the last 5 years should be able to play this game with ease.

That doctor you are referring to is almost the same as the doctor in the opening of the original Theme Hospital. These guys are not copying mobile games, they are copying their original Theme Hospital game.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@jinzo9988: True, but it also means that it can run on most platforms.

It also means that if the game developer cares more about gameplay, the graphics won't be gobbling up development resources that could have been better spent elsewhere.

(I would point to TheOrder 1886 as an example of bad development decisions.)

Two Point Hospital More Info

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  • First Released Aug 29, 2018
    released
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    7.6
    Average Rating11 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Two Point Studios
    Published by:
    Sega
    Genre(s):
    Simulation
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Animated Blood, Crude Humor