I'm sure fans of Bullfrog's classic Theme Hospital has been waiting for a modern day successor. Others such as Hospital Tycoon just lacked the fun and polish to beat or be close to the classic. Now game developers that worked on Theme Hospital Mark Webley and Gary Carr has gone off to develop Two Point Studio to give it another try with Two Point Hospital. Do they manage to re-create the classic game?
So the game kicks off by running you through some familiar objectives as part of a tutorial. Already, the nostalgia is there for TH fans as the first map kind of reminds me of the game.
You achieve objectives which allow you to unlock the next level except this time, you can choose to stay and continue developing the current hospital if you wanted to which gives you more challenges and replayability. It's kind of like each level has three difficulty levels so it gives you a reason to go back to each of them so the 15 hospitals should entertain you for a while.
Even at one star, Melt Downs and Smogley was particular challenging for me trying to keep the cashflow going. Trying to fit rooms into the oddly shaped buildings made it hard to streamline patients. What makes this even tougher is that you can't save whenever you want so if you happen to mess up the cashflow have to start all over again unfortunately...First couple of levels end quite quickly but the management side eventually picks up as you find yourself running training sessions and research too.
Most of what you can research look very similar to the ones from TH except, you research new machines and upgrades only while cure rates depend on staff training. The great thing is you don't have to research from scratch for each level like you did in TH. You also have more refined control over certain areas such as training. Instead of dropping a consultant that's a specialist in the area you want to train doctors in, you go through a list of choices to decide who teaches what and who gets trained. As staff rank up, you can choose to train them such as nurses can focus on improving their treatment skills. It's much better control overall.
However, it feels kind of slow even on the fastest setting. Most of the goals are again similar to TH where you have to cure a certain number patients but, while in TH you often see the cure numbers go up quickly, here you kind of wait for something to happen even if you use targetted marketing to attract particular types of patients to fulfill your goal. A single cure seems to take a very long time to finish.
You also earn "Kudosh" that allows you unlock better items to decorate and slightly boost stats with which kind of feels like The Sims 4 - staff can get angry just because their room isn't pretty enough. Unfortunately.there aren't much surprises since the game lists everything you can unlock. Sometimes you probably won't even bother since the decorations have little effect and you're mostly plonking down the same items again and again.
Pacing and the new management aside, you've got plenty of things that will remind you of TH with Lightheadedness replacing Bloated Head. Then you've got the sudden emergency challenges and some new features such as how janitors must have ghost exterminating skills to stop ghosts causing chaos in the hospital. Epidemics are now a spot the infected mini game with a variety of different animations to give away who has been infected instead of just clicking on anyone who has a frog on their head. You'll probably remember controlling the radiators too but now you have some hospitals that require air conditioners instead of heating. So lots of fun changes.
As of the launch version 1.02 of the game, I think there are a few bugs such as patients getting stuck and most people seem to have the problem of ever growing queues at the GP offices no matter how many you have. It seems even if patients are 100% diagnosed they don't get sent for treatment and unlike TH there isn't a slider you can adjust to choose when they can get sent so you have to manually go into the patients list and do it yourself.
However, at the same time, if you do some micro management so that doctors with diagnostic skill sets are restricted to the GP offices and, ones with treatment skill sets are restricted to treating, these queues do ease off. You're going to need some patience balancing the cashflow while waiting for your staff to rank up and then train them a few at a time.
A slider control for determining when patients are sent would still be good though.
Visually it kind of reminds me of The Sims with it's smooth toy-like models. In fact, you can easily switch between hospitals just like The Sims 4. Music doesn't quite feel as catchy as TH and you've now got a few radio announcements in between tracks but, animations do remind me of the classic.
It doesn't feel too bad. The reception's announcements sound like they're trying a bit too hard to reproduce the one from Theme Hospital though. The sarcasm is there but it sounds like she's trying really hard to sound like the voice from TH but can't quite get there. Lines are still fun but not quite as fun as the original. There doesn't seem to be much variance.
Two Point Hospital kind of feels like a cross between the cartoony animations and visuals of The Sims and the gameplay from Theme Hospital. Most of the fun of TH has been bought over with some fun new changes and you don't need a powerhouse PC to play it. If you're looking for a successor to the latter then this is probably it.
- Replayability - Stay for multiple stages for each hospital or move onto next one.
- Animation and silly illnesses feel like the atmosphere of Theme Hospital.
- Nice variety on the different locations complete with own deconstruction animations.
- Epidemics are fun spot the animation mini games.
- Don't need to unlock rooms all over again each new level.
- Better control over training and research.
- GP offices can get clogged up with 100% diagnosed patients.
- Can't save so need to start from scratch if you mess up!
- Maybe the music and the announcements aren't as fun.
- Pacing kind of feels slower even with the speed up.
- No sandbox mode for creating your own level and rules.