There are times when you get sick of destruction and murder in video games and have a desire to build something.
Wether it is a city, base, castle or sporting dynasty, you sometimes want to be more creative. Here’s where Two Point Hospital has hit the perfect balance.
The problem with most of these builder games, is that the fun only happens in sandbox mode where you can just create and create. Unfortunately with no overarching goal, other than your motivation it falls down. Two Point Hospital is different. The campaign, is simple, and it makes you feel like you are in a permanent sandbox.
Taking the American healthcare model, you take over empty hospitals in Two Point County and once you’ve progressed each one to a 3-star Hospital, you can either keep playing or move to the next location.
Each location has more advanced illnesses and environmental aspects to master. At the beginning, you have to hire Doctors, Nurses, Administrators and Janitors, that come with particular skills, so picking what you need is easy. Soon the staff you hire are all juniors, and you need to train them in the correct medical disciplines.
Environmental aspects like heat, can really throw your best laid plans off. If the hospital is cold, you need radiators in every room and air-con if it is warm. When you are busy in one area of the Hospital, it’s easy to get distracted and wonder why some patients are angry.
There is also a fair bit of humour for such a serious subject. Some people will disagree with the private health business model that this game is a fun simulation of, but like everything, including death it manages not to take itself too seriously.
When a patient inevitably dies, from waiting too long or failed treatment, there’s a good chance they become a ghost. A ghost runs amok around the hospital disrupting things and leaving ectoplasm to clean up, unless of course you have a janitor trained in ghost busting. They come along and Hoover up the recently deceased patient.
The illnesses themselves, serve both as light relief and a visual aid to what’s going. Light-headed patients walk around with a light bulb for a head, chromatic ones are all grey and there are the dreaded clowns that need their humour removed.
These specialist illnesses, need their own upgradeable machines to cure, but they are the ones that bring in the big bucks, so the risk and reward structure is spot on.
The process in each hospital is pretty similar, you have an empty building and patients start walking in.
Build a reception, a GP’s surgery, diagnosis room and pharmacy. Staff them and that should get the money rolling in before you begin to treat the more specialised illnesses. This simple, yet satisfying, cycle is what gives the game legs.
The real reason it is hard to stop playing Two Point Hospital, is the gentle difficulty curve. Get the basics down and no matter how many patients go to your hospital, how long the queues are for each room and how much you are in debt, you can get through it, and outlast the game.
When you need a palette cleanser from all the endless shooting, try being a hospital boss for a while, you won’t regret it.