Management sims used to dominate the PC landscape back in the 90’s. It would be hard to pick up a magazine, look at a demo disc, or take a gander at a BBS without noticing some new offering in the genre. Sadly, in recent years, the selection has gotten a bit leaner, with many looking to the mobile market for this style of game. Thankfully, Sega is here to fill the void with Two Point Hospital.
Built by many of the team that ushered the world into the arms of Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital shares many similarities to its spiritual grandfather. You take on the role of a hospital administrator as you work your way through a series of different, madcap locations, building upon the hospital infrastructure, performing all the duties one would expect of such a job. From hiring all the staff that will service the halls of your facility, to building rooms, and researching all the cures needed to make your patrons well once again.
The name of the game with Two Points Hospital is efficiently and keeping people happy. Throughout your tenure as administrator, it will be up to you to manage the queue, keep the patrons and staff happy while ensuring your bottom line never gets hurt too badly. At the start, this balancing act is easy to manage, but as the game throws more at you, it will be hard to not let a few patients die at your hands. Hopefully, you have some janitors ready with dustbusters just in case their ghosts get a bit too rowdy.
But as your reputation increases, and you cure more patients and cope with emergencies, your little hospital will boom with new clients, and the newest and best doctors, nurses and other workers will flock to enter your employ.
What takes Two Point Hospital away from the standard management sim and turns it into something far more fun and exciting, is the sense of humour at play. While all the tasks of running a hospital could be drab, dreary and soul-crushing, Two Point Hospital keeps things quirky and engaging throughout. The diseases are ridiculous, the animations are silly, and the cures are just as mad-cap as you would expect from the minds that brought us Theme Hospital and Fable back in the day.
Part of the charm and fun comes from the animation on display in Two Point Hospital. Similar in nature to the films Wallace and Gromit, every little character is expressive and enjoyable to watch as they go through their daily grind. From how they deal with trouble, to how they kill time waiting for a doctor, all the little characters will keep you entertained as you go through your management duties.
The visuals also manage to give the game a unique and timeless look. While Two Point Hospital may not crush your latest video card, or give an AMD Threadripper CPU a run for its money, the visuals do a fantastic job painting a world while feeling fresh and fun. Also, due to the stylized nature of the game, I would argue the game will age very well moving forward. The animations, characters, and style all work to keep you hooked throughout your time playing as the administrator you always wanted to be.
Two Point Hospital carries the player through each medical institution at a good pace, offering enough new ailments, cures and troubles to keep things moving at a steady pace. It is a game that you can easily sink hours into without realizing it. Each new goal is challenging enough to keep you guessing, but never too difficult to cause any section of the game to slow to a crawl.
While you move through each facility and quickly learn new skills, you can always return to old locations to improve on your star rating, boost your profits, and even just experiment with ways to make those old institutions a bit more efficient. And due to the very nature of the experience, you will find countless hours of enjoyment just building and exploring the variety of structural possibilities until you ultimately settle upon the ideal set-up.
The career mode will take you through a series of locations and emergencies, all with their own unique flair and issues. From a resort hospital that is constantly cold, to a teaching hospital where you need to train rookies up from scratch, there are enough madcap antics to keep you on your toes as you go through the daily grind of running the best dang hospital this side of Hogsport.
The music and audio in Two Points Hospital was another high point for me. It manages that hospital canned elevator music radio feel to set the tone, while still being fun and engaging. The radio DJ will keep things wired, with some zany comments, while the hospital PA system will keep your ears filled with the dry British wit that makes the rest of the game so enjoyable.
If I had any issues with my time with Two Points Hospital it would simply be the fact, despite some notable segments, most of the game is a blur. While each new location offers its own set of challenges, once you have played through the game over the course of many hours, the locations tend to blend together. Save for a few notable exceptions, I would be hard pressed to explain what made one hospital section differ from another. But that is more a testament to the sheer number of consecutive hours I have put into the game, rather than a knock at the work Two Point Studios have put into development.
Two Point Hospital built on an already fantastic formula and made it better. Two Point Hospital walks that line between nostalgia and innovation perfectly to craft a truly magnificent management sim that people will be playing for years to come. While the team could have simply rested on their pedigree and built an experience that would have made fans of Theme Hospital happy, they went above and beyond to make something truly enjoyable.