I started my gaming career with sim style games. Experiences like Sim City, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and of course, Theme Hospital. So when I heard the team that built that game were working on a new project, I was excited. With modern systems, the ideas they could execute on could be endless. I first played it back in a beta stage of development, where I did a short preview. But now that I’ve had some real time with it, and experienced more of what you can expect in the full game, I can say that based on what I’ve seen, they are fulfilling all of my expectations.
Two Point Hospital is finally separating itself from the concept of being a Theme Hospital clone with a new coat of paint. The team at Two Point Studios has managed to create a style and concept all their own. From the visuals, to the way the game functions, there has been a lot of time and energy put in to build something new and old players can jump into and enjoy.
Now, if you are a fan of Theme Hospital, you will feel right at home in Two Point Hospital. The game feels intuitive and the on-screen tutorials quickly take you through all the minutiae of managing your hospital empire. That is not to say the game is dumbed down; there are still plenty of details you need to focus on, small touches you need to understand, and heat maps should you wish to maximize your hospital potential. Two Point studios have managed that balance of simplicity and depth that many games neglect, and the experience is far more enjoyable because of it.
Whereas in my first preview of the game I was only able to see one hospital, in one area of the map, this time around I was able to jump into a slew of areas, all with their own unique challenges, victory conditions and nuances. As with any Sim like experience, two hours is not enough time to fully get all aspects of the game, and I had to rush through many segments of the hospital building process, just to ensure I could see as many areas as possible in my allocated time.
Each segment of the game, beyond the new challenges, and steadily increasing difficulty also manage a specific look and feel. Each section takes place across the fictitious English countryside. From within a university, by the sea, and all the way up to right next to a nuclear power plant, each area feels unique and whimsical.
Part of this comes from the visual style of the game, and how it all works to unify the experience. As Mark Smart, Art Director for Two Point Studios outlines: “Our philosophy was always to make the graphics to support the game, not the other way around,” and I think that hits the nail on the head. From the way the hospital looks, to the way the little people interact, it maintains this light-hearted feel that is a joy to play and watch. As I worked through the different hospitals, I would spend a fair amount of time just watching how patients and doctors interacted. The ways the different illnesses are represented and healed were a blast, and the fact the team put that level of detail into each aspect is astounding.
When asked about the visuals and what players should look out for, Smart explains to pay attention to the little things.“I encourage them to look at the animation, individual traits, and characteristics for the characters. It’s silly things like the nurse’s station, or the girl at the nurse’s station would be getting a bit bored and [play on a kind of a keyboard]. There are lots of little things like that, and it really does bring the whole hospital to life. That layering on the graphics and the animation and the design — I think is a really fundamental thing in a hospital.“
While it was a blast to play, my time playing the game came to a close far too early for my taste. Having just started my time with the University Hospital, and having the game really open up with more options, I was sad to put the game down. That is a testament to what Two Point Studios are building with the game. Two Point Hospital feels like new blood in the sim genre, an ironic concept considering it is brought to us by the people that helped start us on this Sim path to begin with.
I am excited to jump back into the game when it launches on PC on August 30th, 2018. The team at Two Point Studios has built something special with Two Point Hospital. For me, it’s a trip down nostalgia lane, while still building something that feels fresh, fun, and interesting.
Want to read more about some of the games we talked about today? Find reviews for those and a whole lot more, here!