For a long time, management sim enthusiasts on console have been yearning for an experience that lives up to the classics like Theme Park and Theme Hospital. Step forward Two Point Hospital; a hospital based business/management sim conjured up by Two Point Studios, a development team that includes folk who worked on the aforementioned titles. As someone who spent a huge chunk of their youth designing awesome amusement parks and cleaning up bodily fluids in the hospital corridors, the sheer thought of a modern day take on such games is rather exciting.
Having won over the masses on PC already, it’s time to find out whether Two Point Hospital thrives on Xbox One or if it is instead plagued with the usual porting issues and in need of an indefinite stay on a ward. Well, the good news is… it’s got the all clear and is in a very healthy state. But what’s so great about Two Point Hospital and why should it become your next game purchase? Please, take a seat and relax as I begin to explain.
The world of Two Point County is simply brimming with patients suffering from all kinds of ailments and a whole load of hospitals are required throughout its many regions. It’s going to be your job to run a healthcare organisation in order to fulfil the needs of the locals and build the best hospitals to successfully treat whatever bizarre problems come through the entrance doors. Just don’t expect the gripping realism of injuries you’d see on 24 Hours in A&E though, for these aren’t ordinary people with typical illnesses. As the brilliant intro video demonstrates almost immediately, Two Point Hospital is wacky, silly, weird and downright wonderful. The management side of proceedings won’t be easy of course, but your funny bone is going to be seriously tickled in every other way.
The inception of your new career begins in Hogsport, which lends itself as something of a tutorial level for you to learn the basics. Starting with a blank canvas, it’s clear that a reception desk and a GP’s office are essentials, with the ability to build them wherever you see fit within the confines of the hospital. In addition to this, various treatment rooms are potentially next on the list to try and cure whatever is wrong with these sick people. Although initially limited to merely a De-Lux Clinic, a Pharmacy and a Ward, many more will be added as you progress through Two Point County, discovering new illnesses and researching unusual solutions.
Obviously, staff will need to be hired to process the arrivals and then diagnose the incoming patients as well as maintain the place and aid in other ways. In terms of recruitment, you’ll have to acquire the services of Doctors, Nurses, Assistants, and Janitors.
Whilst there aren’t a ton of core job types, the vast amount of skills and quirks they may possess helps to differentiate between candidates. For example, there could be a Dr. Holmes (you can re-name the staff yourself, like I have), who’s terrific at detecting what illness someone may have, whilst Dr. Lector is qualified in Psychiatry and understands the mind-related problems better than anyone. The Janitors often come with a penchant for ghost hunting, which is handy if your standards drop and people die in the corridors – they’ll clean up your mess better than any fixer in Hollywood. Taking note of their other qualities, like being unhygienic, a fast learner or regularly hangry is another important part when hiring.
Whilst it’s good to get an undstanding of the hiring process and how crucial it is to recruit the right people, the most important aspect this tutorial section showcases is just how easy it is to navigate the hospital, build rooms, add aesthetically pleasing items, and even generally manoeuvre things around. My biggest fear coming into Two Point Hospital, aside from being surrounded by deadly diseases, was whether it’d suffer the same fate as a lot of simulation games transferring to console and be a nightmare in the controls department. Fortunately, you can instantly tell it’s been reworked superbly and plays fluidly via the use of a controller. There are no overly convoluted ways to access menus, plenty of on-screen button prompts as reminders, and a very easy to understand UI allows for a surprisingly complex amount of facets to manage. The option to simply copy any already built, and decorated, rooms for placing elsewhere in the hospital is one of my favourite time-saving features and is a really smart addition.
Anyway, back to the important work we’re doing for humanity here, and your efforts will see the overall reputation of the hospital rise; leading to the influx of more paying customers and a higher workload. There are 21 levels in total, which includes the Bigfoot and Pebberley Island DLC expansions, and each can provide a fair few hours of play before feeling as if everything significant is accomplished. The ultimate aim is to hit the main targets you are set and completing certain objectives rewards up to three stars in each level, however it will allow you to move on to pastures new after the first star is earned – and return as you see fit, with future unlocks becoming available there too. The goals could be as straightforward as curing a specific amount of patients, or as tricky as being asked to raise the value of the place from nothing to a whopping $1,000,000 – a true rags to riches tale.
Gradually, the job gets increasingly difficult as you advance through the levels, but most importantly, fresh ideas are implemented too. The need to keep the hospitals at a reasonable temperature is a key feature of Mitton University, but there’s also a restriction on unqualified Doctors and Nurses to deal with. This brings the idea of training them in-house to the forefront, ensuring they learn what’s necessary to do the jobs required. It’s a real test to try and run the place with such inexperienced staff, which continues the ongoing learning curve. And then there are places like Tumble which is cold, full of patients with fractures and regular earthquakes which occur to wreck your equipment.
There are just so many other factors to take into account with Two Point Hospital though, such as preventing hygiene levels from dropping, not letting boredom kick in, ensuring everyone’s got access to food and drink, and basically keeping both patients and staff in good spirits. That’s where a whole host of items come into play, with decorative plants, hand sanitisers, comfortable seating, vending machines, magazine racks, and tons more stuff available to purchase. Not everything is unlocked however, and so you’ll have to complete a variety of challenges to earn a special currency known as Kudosh, which can then be used on accessing these luxuries. Working out the best way to satisfy the patients’ and staff members’ needs using such items will ensure there’s always something to do.
The discovery of a wide range of illnesses along the way will certainly keep you on your toes too; cases of Light Headedness (having a light bulb for a head), Mock Star (imitating a rock star), Animal Magnetism (animals attached to them), and Jest Infection (a clown-themed disorder) are visually amusing to see. Surprisingly the treatment for such problems, using specialist equipment, is just as enjoyable to watch and rather funny.
Unfortunately, there may be occasions where the joys of laughter are replaced with a bit of irritation because of utterly weird behaviour by the staff. I don’t know if it’s just a random glitch, but a fair few times I’ve been desperate for the services of a Doctor or Nurse to tend to the masses of patients queuing up, only to see them wandering around like there’s nothing to do. Sure, picking up a staff member and moving them to the necessary room is possible, however, it’s an annoyance that’s unneeded at peak times. Another thing that can ruin the mood a tad are the sheer amount of managerial tasks you must perform as iit can be rather overwhelming; even more so when the hospital gets really successful and you’re bleeding cash in an attempt to keep up with the flow of patients.
Putting those minor issues aside though, and the audio present within Two Point Hospital must be praised due to the fact that during long spells of play, the backing tracks on the hospital radio never become anything less than pleasant. At certain intervals, the hosts chip in with some very well written segments which are usually quite funny and that helps a lot – especially if it’s spoken by the utterly spiffing Nigel Bickleworth.
There’s no doubt this spiritual successor to Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital, provides almost everything you could ask for from a business simulation, and then some. In terms of depth it’s full of layers and there’s seldom a dull moment, whilst the amount of variety in rooms, items and the overall scenarios is great. It’s very humorous thanks to the zany illnesses and the weird contraptions accompanying them, with the hospital radio hosts delivering a few laughs too. The only downsides are how overwhelming it can occasionally become, a handful of small issues and the lack of any co-op aspect to share the enjoyment with a buddy. As luck would have it, the latter problem is to be resolved soon through the addition of a multiplayer component and even a sandbox type mode – happy days!
I don’t often recommend frequent visits to a hospital, but Two Point Hospital on Xbox One is one which you must get admitted to at the soonest opportunity. It’ll be your new addiction.