We’ve all played it. Growing up it was the normal thing to do. Imaginative little boys and girls, all playing pretend. Putting on a plastic stethoscope and holding it to the chest of your patient before making up some fake illness that the Doctor had to treat. Usually swallowing a tic tac or something along those lines would result in a clean bill of health and off you’d trot to join the other kids on the playground. As we got older, the games became a little more realistic, whisking our patients away to a private room for a more thorough examination. If you’ll kindly remove your minds from the gutter, I’ll have you know I am referring to the recently released Two Point Hospital, console edition.
Developed by Two Point Studios and published by SEGA, Two Point Hospital brings back memories of its spiritual predecessor, Theme Hospital, that was released way back in 1997. You’ll be in charge of setting up a number of small hospitals dotted around the cartoon-like map, tasked with building up rooms and hiring staff to best serve the unhealthy public and ultimately, make more money. You’ll experience the highs of treating patients with strange new illnesses, as well as the lows of having your pride and joy haunted by the ghosts of those you have failed. Every room, every employee, and even the decorations dotting your hospital will affect how much money you make, so you’ll need to spend wisely. Doctor Archibald Peppermint might be asking a high price for his services, but surely the health of your patients is your highest priority… Right?
Two Point Hospital looks like it is aimed at children, with its overly cartoonish art styles and it’s hilariously exaggerated illnesses. The character models are reasonably simple in their design, but very easily get their point across. Patients experiencing light-headedness will present with a literal lightbulb instead of a head, while those suffering from a pandemic will show up to their appointments with a cooking pan stuck on their head. The treatment machines and surgical apparatus are equally as interesting in their design, unscrewing the lightbulb and replacing it with a normal human head, or using high powered magnets to pull the cooking pan away from the patient, leading to a very child-friendly gaming experience.
There isn’t a whole lot to comment on when it comes to Two Point Hospital’s audio. Featuring a somewhat repetitive built-in radio channel, the music did get a little frustrating after a period of time, to the point I ended up tuning out completely. The tunes all seem to follow the same slower tempo and share many similar sounds. The biggest saving grace is the random announcements over the hospital’s intercom, broadcasting all kinds of weird and wonderful things, or the occasional ad break with the radio host. There is no general murmur of patrons as they wander around the hospital, waiting impatiently for the GP to return from her extended lunch break. Simple sound effects will let you know that someone has met an unfortunate end, but it really is just music and the occasional plop as you place down a new room.
In its defence, Two Point Hospital plays really well, even on console. The control scheme is readily displayed on your screen as you play, allowing you to easily navigate between building a room, placing decorations, checking your emails or elegantly picking your employees up by the head and unceremoniously throwing them into a room to assist a patient. Two Point Hospital helps you along the way, letting you know that your doctors are slacking off, or if that one nurse you have is utterly exhausted and needing a well deserved break. You’re set up for success even when it seems like you have no options other than bankruptcy.
Two Point Hospital brought home the nostalgia; memories flooding back to the days where I’d spend hours at a friends house, building up my dream hospital, laughing maniacally as my patients fell to the floor and then wondering why my beautiful hospital wasn’t making any money. Yes the music was annoying, and the lack of sound effects was rather frustrating, but the game is actually really fun. You’re presented with financial challenges that you need to overcome, so you’re constantly thinking about your next move and whether or not you really need that extra soda machine.
- Easy to pick up and play
- Consistent in game support
- Quirky character models and illnesses
- Challenging game play
- A fun art style
- Repetitive music
- Distinct lack of world-based sound effects