There’s only one very specific type of game I have ever played on PC, mainly because I couldn’t afford to keep up with the latest tech. It was that of RTS/sim games that provided plenty of gameplay hours in exchange for minimum technical demands. One of my all time favourites, was Theme Hospital.
So imagine the delight of my inner child when, whilst at EGX in 2018, I stumbled across it’s spiritual successor, Two Point Hospital. As soon as I got my hands on the controller I knew this was going to be something special, but more importantly respectful of the original. Of course, we reviewed the game when it came to the Xbox One around a year ago and it’s safe to say we were big fans.
If you were too, you’ll no doubt be aware that the JUMBO Edition brings plenty of newness to the game, in the form of four expansions, as well as a couple of item bundles to boot. But before I get to that, let’s quickly recap on exactly what Two Point Hospital is, just on the off chance that you are yet to be acquainted with the game.
Two Point Hospital is a management sim game where you have to run several successful hospitals, building yourself a career in the process. To do this, you’ll need to hire and manage a team of staff from doctors to janitors. To deal with all your patients, you’ll need to build several services in your hospital from diagnostic and treatment rooms, to marketing and research facilities.
Not only this, but your patients will have several needs and wants which you will need to try and satisfy. These include hunger, thirst, and warmth, and they even stretch to how entertained they feel. Whilst you juggle all of this, you will need to keep your finances in the black, as well as dealing with several situations including emergency groups of patients needing urgent treatment, maintaining machinery to stop it exploding, and even earthquakes that may strike in the local area.
Two Point Hospital guides you through the complex Sim experience, by layering on more and more as you manage each hospital. You earn up to three stars by satisfying certain objectives in each hospital (such as increasing its value to a certain amount or curing a specific number of patients), which unlock new items and “Kudosh”. This is used to buy decorative and functional items in game, of which there are hundreds to unlock.
The great news is that all of the above is present and correct in Two Point Hospital: JUMBO Edition. However, you do need to successfully run a few hospitals before you can access the expansions, specifically obtaining at least one star when you reach the Flemington hospital. This is most likely just so you have a good enough grasp of the game to enjoy the expansions, because they’re certainly not easy.
Unlike in the base game, you’re thrown straight into the deep end in the expansion content, with no hand-holding. They will really test your management skills, and it’s easier than ever before to end up bankrupt. As ever, you can pause, play and fast-forward the action depending on how well it’s going in your hospital. Taking a breather is certainly recommended as your hospital grows, because it’s far too easy to lose control of what’s going on in the new expansion scenarios.
To recap, the JUMBO Edition includes the Bigfoot, Pebberley Island, Close Encounters and Off the Grid expansions, along with the Retro and Exhibition item packs. Each is just as wacky as the next, and nothing less than we have all come to expect and love from Two Point Hospital. For example, in the Bigfoot expansion you’ll need to be helping a celebrity yeti achieve better standards of healthcare, including tackling conditions such as Aurora Snorealis. It’s wonderfully absurd. You’ll also be paying Pebberley Island a visit to try and unearth the lost secret of eternal youth. Your search will eventually take you up Topless Mountain, because why wouldn’t it?
The well-tuned and addictive gameplay remains the same in Two Point Hospital: JUMBO Edition, but does introduce a few tweaks within each campaign. For example, in Off the Grid, you’ll be tasked with building your hospital in the middle of the great outdoors. This does mean it can be quite difficult to figure out the hospital boundaries at first; it takes a bit of getting used to. You’ll also need to build plenty of air con units to keep your patients cool in the sweltering heat, rather than needing to keep them warm as is usually the norm.
In this campaign you’ll also have to manage your Eco Rating, which is linked to the Wellness Index. It can help or hinder you depending on how you manage it. For example, if you’re running an ecologically sound hospital, you’ll get better contributions to your running costs thanks to Two Point County’s Mayor, Tabitha Windsock, and her new eco campaign designed to please the area’s voters.
In the Close Encounters expansion, you’ll have the opportunity to unlock more building plots as you achieve certain objectives, instead of saving enough money to simply purchase them. Aliens masquerading as patients will visit your hospital too, and you’ll need to look out for the tell-tale signs. When you’ve found your culprit, send them straight home, because if they’re left to operate unchecked they can cause a right nuisance.
You’ll also face scenarios, similar to the R.E.M.I.X. levels from the original, where you need to deal with waves of patients as they arrive at the hospital. However, each wave comes with a different objective which you need to complete to avoid repeating the wave again. It’s not quite as simple as solely trying to run a profitable hospital, and forces you to change your strategy on the fly.
All four expansions introduce new illnesses and treatment rooms to unlock, such as Woodwork and Toad Hall. There are over 130 of them for you to tackle overall, across 12 new hospitals. There’s a fair bit to sink your teeth into here, which is good news especially for those who managed to grab all the stars in the original campaign.
It’s worth mentioning that despite technologically remaining unchanged from the base game, Two Point Hospital: JUMBO Edition still looks and sounds great. It expands on the original with strongly themed locations and items, including the two new item packs. The retro and exhibition pieces are genuinely interesting to look at, and you’ll care all the more about using them effectively in your hospital as a result.
There’s also new music, DJ and tannoy lines to treat your ears to, including a particularly hilarious thread set out like a reading of a mystery thriller novel. These remain genuinely funny whilst being utterly ridiculous and often making very little sense at all.
I’m happy to report, due to the DNA of the game remaining relatively unchanged, that it still controls really well (especially for a console version of a sim game). The menu and button mapping allows you to control things at speed, with easy access to all the information you could ever want. Before you know it you’ll be zipping in and out of menus and navigating to what you need without a second thought.
There’s hours and hours of content in Two Point Hospital: JUMBO Edition. Fans of the original will love what’s on offer here, respectfully adding to the well-established gameplay inspired by the Bullfrog original. And if you’re new to the party? Well then there’s never been a better time to get involved.
On the whole, Two Point Hospital: JUMBO Edition on Xbox plays very similarly to the main campaign, with just the right amount of tweaking to keep the offering fresh. It’s an essential purchase for fans of the original, and highly recommended for everyone else.