I remember playing Theme Hospital when I was younger and absolutely adoring it. The idea of running my own hospital, making sure its facilities were up to snuff, and then slowly watching it grow in size and advance with new medicinal improvements was so addictive that I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours with the game in total. Sadly, there hadn’t been anything quite like it for years after… until the release of Two Point Hospital.
However, as a console-exclusive gamer, I’ve had to give the game a miss since its original release back in 2018. Fortunately, SEGA have now brought Two Point Hospital to consoles, allowing PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch gamers the chance to show off their hospital-management skills. These sort of games don’t always make a smooth transition to consoles though, so I did have lingering doubts as to whether or not it’d actually play that well. Spoiler alert: it does and it’s brilliant.
Two Point Hospital’s concept is simple: you’re in charge of running a hospital, all the way from the building of the hospital facilities to the hiring of staff. Every big decision that there is to be made comes down to you, with each of those decisions determining just how successful of a hospital you’ll actually have. With multiple hospitals to work between throughout the campaign that all have different tasks for you to complete, you have to be flexible in your approach and ensure that you’re providing the best service possible. It might sound a little daunting, but thanks to the silly sense of humour and the all-around accessibility of the game, it’s hard not to find a big smile on your face – even if most of your hospital’s patients are dying.
Your general tasks include building the rooms and facilities required to treat patients, searching through lists of potential employees and hiring those that best suit the role, ensuring that the hospital has all of the basic amenities to keep its patients happy, training staff and researching cures for any new illnesses – you know, the typical jobs you’d expect of a hospital bigwig. What’s important is ensuring that all of the objectives that have been handed to you are completed in the process, all whilst ensuring that you remain under your budget too. Two Point Hospital isn’t a hard game to play, but handling your day-to-day tasks whilst dealing with every situation that comes your way can make for more than a few stressful situations. I mean that in a good way, of course; it’s that satisfying sense of stress that perfectly personifies how a management sim should feel.
One of the best things about Two Point Hospital is just how charming it is. Yes, you’re managing a hospital where patients can die, and yes, you’ve got TOTAL control all the way from the placement of wards to just how many bins you have throughout the hospital. However, it also has a special degree of silliness to it that makes even the most serious of illnesses feel incredibly quirky and fun.
You’ve got the likes of ‘8-Bitten’ that makes patients take on a low-resolution and pixely look, ‘Emperor Complex’ that sees them walking around naked and thinking they’re wearing clothes, ‘Jest Infection’ that sees them dress up as a clown, or even ‘Turtle Head’ that gives them the head of a turtle (that could’ve been so much worse). That’s just a small selection of the illnesses too, with well over a hundred available across the base game and the two expansions that are included in the console release. We might be in the middle of a scary illness epidemic in the real world right now, but Two Point Hospital keeps it all fun.
Researching these illnesses and finding cures will be vital to your success and requires players to constantly upgrade their facilities and staff throughout each hospital. Staff can be trained to ensure they’re capable of dealing with these illnesses (and it’s something you’ll be forced to stay on top of whilst running a University Hospital in-game), whilst having an adequate Research Room ensures that you’ll always have access to any new cures that are introduced to the world. It’s a straightforward cycle, but when you’re busy ensuring your staff are happy, your facilities are adequate, and that your patients are surviving, it can be tough to keep on top of it all.
Fortunately, you’ll have a blast doing it, with everything in Two Point Hospital proving to be addictive throughout. There’s a real sense of satisfaction to be found in progressing through each hospital and uncovering new illnesses, whilst actually laying out your hospitals and ensuring you’ve got room for all of the different facilities and amenities is surprisingly rewarding. All I wanted was a game that felt a little bit like Theme Hospital, but Two Point Hospital improves upon it in EVERY single way and gives gamers the ultimate hospital sim. It’s brilliant.
Thankfully, it all controls incredibly well on console too, all thanks to the accessible menus and quick-button shortcuts. Strategy and management games aren’t always ideal without a mouse and keyboard, but everything is cleverly optimised in Two Point Hospital so that all actions are easily performed with just a few button clicks. All of the menus are clear and concise too, so you’re never stuck squinting as you try to make out text on a screen or work out what each facility you can build actually does. If the thought of playing with a controller has put you off purchasing the game on console, you can rest assured that it actually works really well.
Two Point Hospital is a massive success on consoles, with the accessible controls, intuitive menus, and sublime gameplay coming together to make for the ultimate hospital sim. It’s a whole lot of fun to play and I’ve already found myself totally addicted to running my hospitals – with sandbox mode and more DLC coming in the future too, I can see myself playing Two Point Hospital for a very, VERY long time.
Developer: Two Point Studios
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC