Title: Two Point Hospital
Developer: Two Point Studios
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 25/02/2020
Price: £34.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
The Power of Nostalgia
There was a time in my life, where Theme Hospital and Theme Park reigned supreme, two wonderfully awesome simulators loaded with jokes and addictive gameplay that literally filled hours of non-committal, casual gaming fun. This time was 1997, the year Space Jam saw its release in the UK and Prodigy topped the charts with Breathe. I was 11 and lived in Guildford in Surrey. The home of the incredible gaming studio Bullfrog that brought these games to life. To this day just thinking about the comedic fictional ailments available in Theme Hospital such as Bloaty Head and Slack Tongue still make me belly laugh.
Fast forward to 2018, when I found out that a new development studio based out of Farnham, Surrey were launching a brand new hospital simulation as a spiritual successor to the Theme Hospital classic, and I was intrigued. When I found out the studio was formed from some of the best talent from Bullfrog, Muckfoot and Lionhead, including Theme Hospital original developers Mark Webley and Gary Carr, I was ecstatic! Yet cautious. It’s like someone floating the idea of remaking your favourite movie or a sequel that was never needed, you are instantly defensive. However this game certainly isn’t Home Alone 3, I mean it has the original dev team involved, they wouldn’t ruin it, right? Let’s find out.
Attention! Will all visitors please talk silently
Two Point Hospital takes place in the locale of Two Point County. It’s a climate diverse collection of locations on a map that offers a variety of hospitals for you as the player to sink your teeth into. However it eases you in gently. Your role as Hospital Manager is to oversee the creation of your hospital right down to select the dimensions and interior of every room, be that a GP’s Office, X-Ray Room or De-Lux Clinic (yes that’s a lightbulb pun.. genius).
Once you’ve selected each room to build, you need to staff the room accordingly. Doctors for psychiatry, nurses for wards, assistants to man the reception desk, and janitors to empty the bins and unblock the toilets. Establish and maintain the status quo, is how the game gently eases you in.
As the hospital manager your role is autonomous in developing and expanding a thriving business. You must watch the finances and expand the land space of your hospital to have the room to build new treatment rooms and wards for an ever expanding flurry of new ailments in Two Point County.
Litterers will take the place of their rubbish in the bin
These ailments honestly are some of the most intelligently comedic creations I’ve seen in a long time, and definitely British in their humour and by design. For example, you may have a patient that contracts light-headedness, which if you hadn’t guessed it, turns their head into an illuminated light-bulb. The treatment? The De-Lux Clinic will unscrew the old bulb and screw a nice new head back in. There are so many more of these humorous ailments to be found throughout your progress in the game, such as Turtle Head, Pandemic, Night Fever and Mock Star. Each addition will be sure to make you chuckle each time.
As you progress through the game your goal is to build the reputation of your hospital up from 0 to a maximum 3 stars. This is achieved by completing tasks and goals such as curing patients, researching new treatment rooms, training your staff and earning a pile of cash.
These stars are what help you unlock the next hospital in Two Point County, leaving all previous hospitals still accessible for you to return and upgrade at any time. Each hospital offers a unique challenge for the player, with certain areas of the County super chilly (better get those radiators in each room and corridor) or super hot (somebody turn up the air-con) or a hospital full of student doctors lacking the experience and sometimes commitment to get the job done (time to train them up). It’s really interesting to see each of these hospitals as a business that needs to be smartly run. You must be compassionate with your team, reward them with promotions and pay increases, and decide if their performance isn’t up to scratch and they need to be fired.
Please clean up after yourselves and others
The difficulty as you progress past the first 5 hospitals really starts to ramp up, and the game will punish you if you loan too much money and can’t afford to keep up the repayments, or employ too many expensive doctors, or don’t have enough janitors to take care of the ghosts and earthquake damage. Oh yes, ghosts and earthquakes, it’s bonkers.
There are some really cool enhancements that allow you to tweak under the hood too: you can have your janitors upgrade machines as the game progresses for better efficiencies and reliability. In fact you can upgrade your janitors themselves as well as other staff, to teach them specific skills, such as psychiatry, research, ghost-busting and lots more.
One thing that is brand new with this console version of Two Point Hospital, is the completely redesigned controls that are optimised for the DualShock 4 controller. The right analog stick works seamlessly alongside the trigger buttons for enlarging room sizes and rotating the map, as well as a cool top down only map view that is exclusive for consoles.
Staff are asked to seem qualified
The soundtrack is a wonderfully produced Hospital radio station with a mixture of elevator music (hospital music), as well as tons of quips from our hosts Harrison Wolff, Sir Nigel Bickleworth and Ricky Hawthorn. In total there are over 800 audio files, and the tannoy voiceover is a wonderful throwback to the original Theme Hospital receptionist, actually voiced by Jayne Webley, wife of Two Point Studios co-founder Mark Webley. You can expect an abundance of tongue-in cheek quotes such as:
‘Attention! Will all visitors please talk silently.’
‘We are sorry for the litter you dropped on our floor.’
‘Any suspicious objects should be poked with a special stick.’
They are certainly enough to make you chortle every time you play.
Graphically the game shares a similar style to that of The Sims and poses a major upgrade from its source subject with colours that are vibrant and detailed. Its frame-rate is buttery smooth even with a giant hospital full of hundreds of patients and it’s super fun to zoom in and watch the treatments happen in real time. Talking of time, you have the ability to control the speed of the game, up to 3x which is super useful when you are working your way through challenges, with your hospital ticking over nicely.
I must say this is likely the most addictive game I’ve played in an awfully long time. I admire the detail and care that has gone into creating an experience that feels fresh and new. Whilst also protecting and honouring a heritage that acknowledges the gem that is Theme Hospital with the need to modernise and enhance this experience over 20 years later. This is just the start for Two Point Studios, and trust me… it was worth the wait.
So when will we see Two Point Theme Park?
Rapid Review Rating
You can purchase Two Point Hospital from the PlayStation Store on the following link: https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP4008-CUSA17267_00-AO2SIEE000000000