Economic simulation games are often remembered for the wanton chaos they thrust upon the player. Rollercoaster Tycoon sent people hurtling into the abyss by way of removing a ‘coaster’s tracks; SimCity had monsters crush pedestrians beneath their giant feet; sperm whales gobbled up guests in Zoo Tycoon. Two Point Hospital instead follows in the footsteps of Theme Hospital, replacing destruction with silliness. I’ve cured a John Travolta impersonator of their ‘Night Fever’ and I’ve given a clown treatment for their ‘Jest Infection’ — it’s a vehicle for a neverending barrage of dad jokes. It’s also one of the most intuitive and clever sim games I’ve ever played.
Two Point Hospital removes all of the laborious actions typically required in simulation games. There’s no time spent carefully placing bits of furniture or worrying about wall placement. Each department is handily created by navigating to the Rooms tab, selecting a room, laying down a bunch of 4×4 squares, and then fitting the appropriate equipment. Members of staff are then hired to occupy them, while patients with various bizarre afflictions fill the hospital’s corridors.
Two Point Hospital‘s simple UI allows for hospital expansion in a pinch. Rather than focusing on the minutiae of furniture placement or decoration, new services can be up and running within seconds. An influx of patients with Pandemic can be treated by setting up a ward within six clicks of a mouse. An overview of patient health, staff happiness, and more can be visually outlined using the Data View, revealing the hospital’s performance in these categories by way of highlighting people and objects in shades of green, orange, or red. Every facet of hospital management is incredibly easy to navigate.
Not having to bury my head in tedious menus ensured that there was a constant sense of progression with each new mission. Snappily creating new rooms to cater to the needs of my patients led to instant results, while promptly readjusting the costs of my hospital’s services resulted in swift improvements to the hospital’s finances and reputation. Uncomplicated graphs outline a hospital’s progress over the course of a 12- or 3-month period, letting you see where you’ve made fiscal errors or at what point your cure rate started to decline.
Two Point Hospital Review: Monobeasts, Mimes, and Money
However, Two Point Hospital doesn’t do much hand-holding in these departments — while I could access an overview of where I was succeeding and failing, it was up to me to learn where to make the relevant adjustments. In-game prompts notified me when I was plummeting headfirst into an ocean of debt, though I had to figure out how to swim out of it. Or I could just take out a $50,000 loan and try to ignore it like an adult.
There are 15 hospitals to manage spread out across 5 different regions, with each one presenting its own set of challenges. A hospital located near the mountains will see patients with broken bones being flown in via helicopter, while another located in an industrial town will require a variety of surgical procedures. While there is no dedicated sandbox mode to speak of, plots of land can be purchased to increase the size of a hospital. I’m a stickler for presentation, so I took to transforming these new plots into dedicated departments; an area for general diagnosis and pharmaceuticals, another for staff training, marketing, and research, and then a plot for more complicated procedures such as curing those with Turtle Head. Yes, that is an illness in which a patient’s head is replaced by a turtle’s.
While it can be easy to get caught up in overseeing each hospital from a distance and watching your money stack up, zooming in on the action reveals a bustling environment filled with unique patients. Unlike many economic sims which pack patrons of your establishment/city into a nameless, faceless horde, you can scroll through the denizens of your hospital and learn their names, thoughts on your hospital, and scheduled appointments.
Their various odd illnesses make for a neverending cycle of slapstick comedy; sentient monobrows known as ‘Monobeasts’ wreak havoc, while Mime Crisis sufferers try to fight their way past invisible walls. It’s all very daft. Its over-the-top animations are also complemented by a dark sense of humor, with a friendly voice informing your staff over the speakers that a patient has dropped dead in your halls, while Grey Anatomy — an illness which sucks all of the color out of a patient’s body — treated by way of administering ‘Chromatherapy.’
Two Point Hospital Review: Smooth Operation
Though a sandbox mode would have been a nice addition, I can see why developer Two Point Studios didn’t opt to include one. The fun of Two Point Hospital is making the most out of the cards you’re dealt, and while none of the hospitals provide particularly aggressive challenges, moving to different locations that routinely require specific types of treatment forces you to budget accordingly. In one hospital psychiatry may be your focal point, while another may see you routinely dealing with Lightheadedness, a condition in which patients are transformed into walking lightbulbs. It’s your job to accommodate the coughing, vomiting masses, and to assess which direction can bag your hospital the most cash; there’s no room for free healthcare in Two Point Hospital world.
Bankruptcy is an inevitability for mismanaged hospitals, forcing you to reload from a previous save or start all over again, though Two Point Hospital ensures that there’s a way out at (almost) every turn. While the first few hospitals have very basic requirements, juggling various different illnesses swiftly becomes a necessity, requiring a careful eye to be kept on each room while simultaneously monitoring staff and patient well-being. Though I didn’t exactly grow attached to Dr. Chuck Dick or Nurse Amber Muffin, sending each staff member through training, assigning them their own individual rooms, and monitoring their happiness and energy levels did help form a bond between me and my ludicrously named staff. This is also helped by the yearly Awards Ceremony, which gives you and your staff trophies based upon performance.
However, while Two Point Hospital is an incredibly smooth operation, its lack of spontaneity feels like a missed opportunity. My hospital was occasionally hindered by an earthquake or a small fire, but it was nothing that a nearby janitor couldn’t handle. Though some may appreciate the fate of their hospital not being left down to chance, I would have preferred a cataclysmic event or two that presented an all-hands-on-deck situation. While I often found myself faced with a conveyor belt of dying patients (complete with ghosts haunting my hospital’s corridors), this was always down to my own incompetence. Sometimes unexpected chaos is necessary, though Two Point Hospital never veers too far into unpredictable scenarios.
Two Point Studios has crafted a snappy simulation that takes all the work out of management. Instead of being reliant on convoluted menus or presenting a watered-down simulation that oversimplifies its mechanics for the sake of ease, Two Point Hospital guided me across a gentle learning curve before leaving me to succeed or fail on my own two feet. It’s a delightfully lighthearted game with a seriously impressive UI, retaining all the charm of Theme Hospital while adding a slew of improvements for a modern audience.