Two Point Hospital
A brilliant management game, regardless of nostalgia
DEVELOPER TWO POINT STUDIOS • PUBLISHER SEGA www.twopointhospital.com
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.