Two Point Hos­pi­tal

A bril­liant man­age­ment game, re­gard­less of nos­tal­gia

PCPOWERPLAY - - CONTENTS - FRASER BROWN

DE­VEL­OPER TWO POINT STU­DIOS • PUB­LISHER SEGA www.two­pointhos­pi­tal.com

Run­ning

a hos­pi­tal is a messy busi­ness. Man­ag­ing the moods of petu­lant doc­tors, cur­ing a bizarre list of fic­ti­tious ill­nesses, clean­ing up poo and lit­er­ally putting out fires – there’s lit­tle time to sit back and lis­ten to the ra­dio DJs driv­ing pa­tients to dis­trac­tion over the PA sys­tem. The up­beat mu­sic, silly dis­eases and con­stant puns cre­ate a false sense of se­cu­rity, but un­der­neath its tongue-in-cheek ex­te­rior this is a dense, tricky man­age­ment game.

Amid the bar­rage of catas­tro­phes there’s one golden rule: cure as many peo­ple as you can. To get the star rat­ings that will let you move onto the next mis­sion, you’ll need to com­plete ob­jec­tives rang­ing from mak­ing the hos­pi­tal look fetch­ing to find­ing a cure for be­ing a mime, but you won’t be able to do that if you don’t fo­cus on try­ing to keep every­one alive. Fail too many of the peo­ple re­ly­ing on you and your rep­u­ta­tion will suf­fer, stop­ping you from get­ting qual­ity hos­pi­tal staff and pa­tients with fat bank ac­counts.

Ini­tially, the jug­gling of tasks is kept to a min­i­mum be­cause there are only a few ail­ments that need your at­ten­tion. This is in com­par­i­son to the later mis­sions where you’ll have mas­sive hos­pi­tals, epi­demics and more bad jokes mas­querad­ing as dis­eases than you’ll be able to han­dle with­out run­ning out of ex­ple­tives. Even when you can fo­cus on just a few prob­lems, things still tend to spi­ral.

Con­sider the ef­fort that goes into help­ing one pa­tient. When they ar­rive they need to know where to go, ne­ces­si­tat­ing a re­cep­tion and an as­sis­tant to work there. At this point, no­body knows what’s wrong with them, so off they go to get di­ag­nosed. A GP might be able to help with that, though it usu­ally re­quires more than one di­ag­no­sis, so you’ll be want­ing a gen­eral di­ag­no­sis room, a car­dio room and even a ward, all of which have a chance to re­veal the sick­ness. That’s around five mem­bers of staff and ac­com­pa­ny­ing rooms, and that’s po­ten­tially be­fore treat­ment has even started.

Even with the foun­da­tions built, there’s no time to rest. Im­pres­sively, even af­ter around 15 mis­sions, I’ve yet to ex­pe­ri­ence a no­tice­able lull in the drama. I’ve never found my­self twid­dling my thumbs, be­cause there’s al­ways a co­nun­drum ready to smack me in the face. Great­est among them, my neme­sis you might say, is the dreaded queue.

As a hos­pi­tal’s rep­u­ta­tion in­creases, whether that’s be­cause of a good treat­ment record, a celebrity visit or an ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paign, more pa­tients will start to ap­pear, along with a whole host of weird and won­der­ful is­sues. While each treat­ment has a spe­cific room and de­vice as­so­ci­ated with it, ev­ery pa­tient still needs to go through the di­ag­no­sis process, po­ten­tially cre­at­ing a bot­tle­neck. I can’t count the times I’ve had a de-lux clinic wait­ing to be used, but all the pa­tients are stuck out­side the GP’s of­fice.

Click­ing on a sin­gle pa­tient can send you down a rab­bit hole for the next hour, fine-tun­ing your hos­pi­tal with hand sani­tis­ers to keep out the germs and train­ing ses­sions so your sur­geons can also cover GPs. With each lit­tle tweak, you can see the hos­pi­tal re­act­ing and im­prov­ing, re­ward­ing you for your ef­forts. It should feel like you’re get­ting pulled in a mil­lion dif­fer­ent direc­tions, stretched to break­ing point, but in­stead one thing nat­u­rally leads to an­other. With one prob­lem solved, you’ll float into the next, and be­cause of the in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of the hos­pi­tal, you might not even per­ceive them as two sep­a­rate prob­lems. It’s one gi­ant

Click­ing on a sin­gle pa­tient can send you down a rab­bit hole for the next hour...

or­gan­ism that you have to treat. I ex­pected to be per­pet­u­ally stressed, but there was al­ways a so­lu­tion star­ing me in the face.

Each hos­pi­tal is also just one part of a grow­ing port­fo­lio of pri­vate clin­ics, surg­eries and teach­ing hos­pi­tals. By ful­fill­ing each mis­sion’s first ob­jec­tive, you’ll be able to move onto the next, but pro­gres­sion isn’t com­pletely lin­ear. The world is split up into re­gions, each with three hos­pi­tals, one of which is locked, while the oth­ers can be tack­led in either or­der. At any point, you can bounce out of your hos­pi­tal and hit up any that you’ve un­locked, al­most but not quite mak­ing up for the ab­sence of a proper sand­box mode. The main rea­son to re­turn to old haunts is to get a higher star rat­ing by com­plet­ing the ad­di­tional ob­jec­tives. It’s pos­si­ble to do them all in one go be­fore mov­ing to the next hos­pi­tal, but in the later re­gions they start to be­come de­mand­ing. With new rooms and equip­ment un­locked in other mis­sions, you can smash through old ob­sta­cles with ease.

Pro­gres­sion feels brisk and con­sis­tent. New toys are al­ways ap­pear­ing, a brand-new hos­pi­tal is only ever one ob­jec­tive away, and through­out it all you’re get­ting re­warded with ku­dosh, a cur­rency that can be spent on items to spice up your ster­ile rooms. There are a few ways to get ku­dosh, in­clud­ing in-game achieve­ments, but the most re­li­able way is by com­plet­ing ran­dom chal­lenges, like cur­ing seven peo­ple with an­i­mal mag­netism (they’re lit­er­ally an­i­mal mag­nets). These items let you flood your hos­pi­tals with char­ac­ter, but they also serve a prac­ti­cal pur­pose, in­creas­ing the hos­pi­tal’s pres­tige and putting every­one in a bet­ter mood.

While Two Point Hos­pi­tal cov­ers a lot of fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory, it doesn’t feel like it’s been rudely dragged out of the ’90s. If you’ve been of­fer­ing up stetho­scopes to Hip­pocrates’ ghost for a new Theme Hos­pi­tal, you’ll find it here; but if you’re not crav­ing that fix of nos­tal­gia, Two Points Stu­dios’ spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor will still keep you up to your el­bows in corpses and icky ill­nesses un­til the wee hours of the morn­ing.

Hand­held vac­uum clean­ers are ghosts’ nat­u­ral preda­tors.

Just go­ing to close my eyes and pre­tend I can’t see the queue alerts.

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