It's been over 20 years since Bullfrog's Theme Hospital released and its spiritual successor is finally available for console so let's get ill.
There are 2 simulation games for console that I played a lot back in the day: Theme Park Roller Coaster and Theme Hospital. Now that Two Point Hospital just made its console debut over a year after it released for PC, a whole new audience can enjoy it. Thankfully, the controls have been adapted for console perfectly as everything is incredibly intuitive. Plus, as you progress through the campaign, you're gradually introduced to new elements and this accessible learning curve is fantastic for new players. Heck, even veterans can learn some new tricks by reading onscreen prompts and browsing through the menus. Anyway, one area where Two Point Hospital shines is in its presentation which is colourful, silly, and super-charming. In fact, I'd often zoom in just to see what my patients and staff were up to and watching them throw darts and puke in trash cans always put a smile on my face.
For better or worse, Two Point Hospital is a habit-forming game. By this, I mean that it's difficult to put down. On one hand, that means its gameplay is engaging but on the other hand, that doesn't necessarily mean it's always enjoyable. As I played, I regularly found myself staring at the screen while merely going through the motions which isn't very fun. However, these moments were sandwiched between bursts of fun whenever a new element was introduced. For example, when you unlock the ability to train your staff, a strategic facet of managing your hospital opens up that gets your brain going again. Luckily, there are a lot of ingredients in this simulation recipe.
Two Point Hospital's campaign is divided among 15 hospitals and the goal of each one is to increase its rank to 3 stars. Doing so involves building rooms, hiring staff, and placing items in a manner that satisfies certain criteria such as earn a threshold of money, cure a particular ailment 10 times, etc. As you play, you'll earn Kudosh points via completing both in-game and overarching challenges that you can redeem for additional items like nice benches and other decorations which I found to be rather rewarding.
On the downside, I felt like my success often relied on luck as opposed to how I constructed my hospital or managed my staff. To illustrate this, I purposely let things run in fast-forward without doing anything after I accumulated some serious debt which I found hard to get out of for about 6 months. To my surprise, my huge debt was cleared and I began making about $100,000 profit each month after only a few months. Shouldn't my hospital have become derelict without me managing a single thing for that long? On the plus side, you can really micromanage everything within the in-depth menus if you want to get your hands dirty with experimentation but with the level of challenge seeming so random, you really don't need to bother. Having a hard time? Just wait it out.
Finally, I encountered more glitches than I thought I would while playing Two Point Hospital. Sometimes, the bugs were as harmless as an incorrect piece of advice popping up such as when I was told my costs weren't being covered when I was making a massive profit each month. Other issues are far more irritating. Once, I couldn't place any items at all in the main area. After carefully combing through everything, I couldn't find a single thing that was out of place or obstructive so I simply threw in the towel and moved on to another hospital. Shouldn't it tell you why you can't place an item? It does sometimes but it certainly didn't in this dire situation. Last but not least, one time the health inspector was travelling to one of my hospitals for over 2 years and he still hasn't arrived yet. Lazy bum.
Two Point Hospital is a solid and thoroughly engaging simulation game that plays beautifully on console. If it steered more away from random difficulty and repetitive challenges and didn't have so many strange glitches, I'd say it's a must-play game.
- + Addictive simulation gameplay with a well-implemented learning curve
- + Controls are perfect for console
- + Charming and humorous presentation
- - Gameplay loop is highly repetitive
- - Success often feels luck-based
- - Few too many frustrating glitches