Did you ever play Theme Hospital back in the day and think to yourself “This would be SO much better if it was set in space”? Me neither, but Galacticare’s unique intergalactic spin on the hospital management gameplay of Bullfrog’s classic release has kept me completely hooked in from the moment that I started playing.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Like the title that inspired it, Galacticare puts players in charge of a hospital and expects them to manage every aspect of running it efficiently. You’ll be fine-tuning the layout and décor, establishing treatment rooms, and hiring staff to look after patients or maintain your facilities, all whilst ensuring your finances are in check and that you have a high level of satisfaction across the board. Whilst a lot of this satisfaction comes from actually looking after your patients, you’ll also have to consider the needs of your visitors outside of treatment, with an untidy, overly busy, or under-equipped hospital immediately leaving a bad impression. With different species of aliens (humans included) all having a different idea of what constitutes an acceptable hospital environment though, it can be a juggling act trying to keep everyone happy.

The game takes a level-based approach in its progression, with players given a cool variety of wacky scenarios to work with across different hospital environments. The varying objectives across these levels push you to develop your hospital in a variety of ways as you progress, whilst it also builds up your skillset to eventually establish a multi-faceted hospital that covers a wider range of ailments to treat at the same time. It can get very complex as you progress, but each level steadily increases the difficulty curve to ensure players won’t ever feel too overwhelmed. And hey, you’ll also have assistance from an AI named HEAL as well as others as you play, so there’s always some guidance to ensure your hospital stays on the path to success.

“Some of the ailments are very on the nose for the theme (such as Star Warts), but others such as Galaxy Brain, Unidentified Internal Object, Cranial Leech, Space Invasion, or Hypersleep Crust lean on the sci-fi theme in some really kooky and clever ways.”

Of course, given that the game takes place in outer space, you can expect a whole ton of wild ailments to deal with. Some of the ailments are very on the nose for the theme (such as Star Warts), but others such as Galaxy Brain, Unidentified Internal Object, Cranial Leech, Space Invasion, or Hypersleep Crust lean on the sci-fi theme in some really kooky and clever ways. Researching the ways to treat them, bringing in the required facilities, and hiring the doctors to deal with each patient is always rewarding, but simply coming across these ailments for the first time always brought a smile to my face too.

What’s especially interesting is that some patients will have to go through multiple phases of treatment before they can be discharged, with your hospital having to be effectively managed to cater to these situations. Admittedly, the process is streamlined in-game so you never have to worry about handling these instances on an individual basis, but it does mean you have to efficiently manage your hospital to deal with patients who are in for a quick visit and those who might be hanging around for a while. It’s during these more manic moments when Galacticare is really at its best, especially since it’s always satisfying to show off your hospital management prowess. And if things do go wrong? Who cares about a few deaths… just let your janitor bots deal with the mess.

Check out some screenshots down below:

There are plenty of other things going on to keep Galacticare interesting as you play, whether that’s when hiring doctors and balancing out their pros and cons, training staff to increase their efficiency, carefully managing your budget to ensure your hospital doesn’t go bankrupt, dealing with BIGGER space creatures that need your help, purchasing goods from the handy salesman Baz who shows up from time to time, or squishing those damn space bugs that’ll occasionally plague your hospital. Whilst I’ll admit that Galacticare is one of the easier simulation games that I’ve played, it has more than enough cool ideas going on to keep players hooked in as they deal with the plethora of illnesses that are spreading across the galaxy.

Most importantly though? It’s an absolute blast to play. It’ll feel very familiar to those that spent hours playing Theme Hospital back in the day, but also brings with it enough modern features and its own unique sci-fi theming to ensure it feels like more than just a copy of what has come before it. Sure, the inspirations are clear as day when you play and it hasn’t tried to re-invent the wheel when it comes to hospital management, but it still manages to feel fresh and unique in its own little ways. And if you don’t have any experience with hospital sims? It’s a wonderful place to start, with the steady learning curve and streamlined approach to gameplay making it ideal for newbies. Add to that the wonderfully vibrant visuals as well as the typical British humour found throughout (that somehow feels perfectly befitting of the outer space setting), and you’ll quickly find that Galacticare can stand on its own two feet as a hospital management sim great.

Galacticare Review

Galacticare is a wonderful hospital management sim that manages to feel unique thanks to its comically wacky intergalactic setting. Don’t get me wrong, it wears its inspirations like a big badge of honour and those who’ve played Theme Hospital will feel right at home thanks to the addictive yet familiar gameplay loop, but it also showcases enough of its own ideas to ensure it feels like more than just a clone of Bullfrog’s classic release.

It’s just a ton of fun to play, with the campaign bringing with it plenty of bizarre yet engrossing scenarios to complete, the gameplay offering a streamlined approach that’ll appeal to both veterans and newbies of the genre, and the visuals bringing everything to life with the vibrant colours and unusual yet tantalising creature and ailment design.

Developer: Brightrock Games
Publisher: CULT Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)
Website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/494730/Galacticare/