Two Point Hospital is a spiritual successor to the 1997 classic Theme Hospital. That game, made by Bullfrog Productions and EA, was part of a successful Theme series that also included Theme Park and Theme Aquarium. Now, decades later, Two Point Studios and Sega have delivered a fantastic love letter to Theme Hospital. If you have fond memories of Theme Hospital, then you needn’t even read this review. Fans of that game can expect the same addicting and increasingly challenging hospital management sim gameplay that made Theme Hospital a success. Two Point’s take on a hospital management sim does, however, benefit from over two decades’ worth of advancements, and it is a more-than-worthy successor.
Two Point Hospital belongs to a genre that thrives on PC but has sometimes struggled when ported to home consoles. Suffice it to say, the PS4 port runs remarkably, and the studio have done an impressive job with the port. In fact, it gets the all clear and is ready to be discharged into your gaming library. Everything from the controls to the interface feels right at home on the PS4, which may seem a given, but is frequently an issue when PC-focused games get ported to console.
Those who have played Theme Hospital in the past will get an immediate rush of nostalgia. I didn’t play the Theme games until a few years after their release, and even then I was still young, but that doesn’t stop the nostalgia from washing over me. From the gameplay mechanics to the interface, to the unique humour, everything feels improved upon but still familiar. In Two Point Hospital, you are put in charge of the health facilities of Two Point County, and it is your job to ensure the smooth running of these facilities to cure the citizens of Two Point County of their seemingly endless ailments.
The game provides an accessible tutorial for those unfamiliar with sim management games and is very good at helping you learn the ropes. In the tutorial, you learn that a reception desk, a GP office, etc., are essential facilities. It also takes quite a few levels until the challenge ramps up, which allows you to ease your way into it, making it friendly for newcomers. Gradually, you unlock more and more facilities, and the crux of your job is to prudently plan what facilities you build to maximise efficiency. Further into the game, Two Point County will be hit by new illnesses, and how you respond to these and deal with them will determine your success.
On top of building the facilities, you are also in charge of hiring new staff. This puts you in charge of recruiting doctors, nurses, assistants, janitors and more, and there are certain skills that differentiate the candidates. For instance, one doctor might specialise in physical injuries, whilst another might specialise in brain injury. It is your job to hire the right people at the right times to deal with a current issue or to plan ahead. The difficulty comes in other nuances, such as needing to keep training your staff and keeping them satisfied; failing to do so will result in them quitting.
Perhaps one of the issues present is that Two Point Hospital can be a bit too welcoming. As someone with experience with this genre of games, I felt like I waited just a tad too long for things to start getting difficult. However, this won’t be as much of a problem for players not as familiar with the genre. There are some very minor bugs that overall do not break the game by any means and are nothing more than minor frustrations.
The console version of Two Point Hospital provides an amazing amount of value for its modest price point. Bundled with the main game, you get two DLCs: Bigfoot and Pebberley Island. In the Bigfoot DLC, you explore a new, wintry region featuring three brand new hospitals, 34 new region-specific illnesses (including 9 new visual illnesses), and a whole host of new in-game items. You can also decorate your hospitals with the finest ski-ware or simply place down a gorgeous fir tree and furnace and lap up the wintry atmosphere.
The Pebberley Island DLC unlocks a new region of Two Point County that features new hospitals, illnesses, rooms and items. In this DLC you can expect to tackle three exciting new scenarios as you push through the jungle in your quest for eternal life. Begin your adventures in the balmy climes of Pebberley Reef, an idyllic atoll paradise, before pushing into dense, unexplored country in Overgrowth, clearing the way for your own hospital as you seek to cure a wild range of new illnesses.
In conclusion, Two Point Hospital pays homage to Theme Hospital whilst also establishing itself as the new standard. Slick visuals, intuitive controls, and a sophisticated sim come together in what is a challenging and addictive experience. At its modest price point, Two Point Hospital represents great value, and I would discourage people from waiting for a discount since the modest price point means you are already getting a lot of bang for your buck.
Developer: Two Point Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 25th February 2020