It’s hard not to feel a twinge of pity for the denizens of Two Point County. The citizens of this region seem to be horribly accident prone and susceptible to diseases. Not only that, but the maladies are hilarious. The unfortunate residents could lose their color, becoming grey scale, and require chromatherapy. They might find themselves convinced that they are Freddie Mercury and need to engage in some heavy therapy. There’s also the possibility that they could get a jest infection, an illness that turns the victim into a literal clown and is only cured by being tricked into a big top tent and shown depressing images to snap them back to reality. With over forty visual illnesses they could contract, and more promised to infect the region in the future, it just seems like a scary place to live. On the other hand, their region is filled with all sorts of variety, from ski resorts to industrial areas, so they’re not hurting for something different to do. That and there are numerous hospitals to visit in order to get cured. The quality of those hospitals depends on the management skills of the player in Two Point Hospital.
If this all sounds familiar, maybe adhering to a certain theme, this isn’t a surprise. The developers, also known as Two Point, have ex-members of Bullfrog Studios, the studio that released Theme Hospital, behind the design work of this one. Despite the similarities, they are quick to point out that this is not a straight remake of Theme Hospital. There are some thematic similarities, but this is a whole different, and larger, animal.
The sheer scope of this one is absolutely a selling point over just playing the inspiration. Players will be tasked with building a medical empire that spans the region, touching on numerous area types. Each region will come with its own set of challenges. The industrial zone might have to contend with a large scale factory accident, for example. Each hospital will also have three stars to obtain. The thing is, players won’t be able to just park at one place until they have all three of the stars. They will need to move on, taking on new areas to research and develop technology and skills. Only then, will players be able to go back and max out the quality of the prior institutions.
Since multiple shrines to human health will need to be constructed and maintained, Two Point has made it a priority to keep the process streamlined. Previously installed fixtures will incorporate into new rooms as they are built, reducing the need for rearranging, and the area certain items cover is easily seen through visualization. For example, the patients can get cold and radiators will need to be installed. It’s a simple matter to see how far the heat goes to keep the building properly warm. If there’s some question about the amount of coverage, don’t fret. The customers aren’t shy about complaining, shivering, or holding what can only be described as a heaving hoedown. The developers freely admit to taking inspiration from City Skylines for this fully 3D interface, but it works out for the benefit of the game.
To take care of the leavings of the patients, as well as, you know, diagnosing and curing them, players will need to manage staff. Various janitors, nurses, and doctors with differing specialties can be brought on, with more skilled employees demanding more money. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, allowing for proper assignment of tasks. Should they be too useless, they can also be summarily canned. Of course, the good ones can always get better, and situations might arise that requires a skill that no one has yet. Let’s say a patient dies and begins haunting the ward, as they are wont to do. A janitor with paranormal catching abilities will be needed. It’s possible to peruse the applicants to see if someone has the skill, or an existing janitor can be sent into training to learn how to vacuum up the incorporeal entities. Alternatively, the spirit can just be left alone, but that doesn’t seem good for business.
While the lengthy campaign will eat away the hours, Two Point Hospital also packs in additional replay value with some competitive multiplayer options in the form of social challenges. Players interested in beating their friends can simply issue a challenge, such as cure a certain amount of people in a specific amount of time, and get to work. The parameters of the challenges can be tailored in various ways, opening the door for alternate play methods. Focusing on the amount of people cured is fine for the altruistic, but there are those who might want to focus on pure profit. These, along with Steam leaderboards and unlocking items via in game achievements means that there will be plenty of infirmary management fun for fans of the genre.
With a fanbase that has been wanting a new Theme Hospital for years but have resigned themselves to disappointment, Two Point Hospital will be the salve that cures that particular burn. It’s filled with unapologetic dad jokes, an intuitive interface, and tons of technology and research for the sim management minded gamer. Promising hours of lighthearted but deep gameplay, Two Point Hospital should be on any serious PC gamer’s wishlist.