Let’s take a break from the heavy topics today and talk about something nice and light; people dying from poor access to healthcare!
I am, of course, talking about the greatness that is Two Point Hospital (TPH)!
For me a good sim game is a true joy, while a poor sim game is a frustrating tease. In a good one, depth comes at you in layers, and eventually comes together to form a solid, challenging, and entertaining end-game. In a poor sim, there is usually a lack of depth, and once you have seen it all once, you have seen it all. TPH is a good sim, where the complexity of the game starts somewhat slow, and by the end has ramped up quiet nicely, without becoming a chore.
TPH is, as you might imagine from the name, a hospital management game. Patients come in, you build rooms to diagnose and cure them, hire the staff to do so, and provide the needed infrastructure like bathrooms, cafes, trash cans, and all that. Staffing is broken down by doctors, nurses, assistance, and janitors. Every member of the staff has different traits, and as they gain xp and level up, can be trained to improve them in different areas (doctors have a better chance to cure someone, janitors can capture the ghosts of the dead, etc).
One feature I really like about the game is how it’s all structured. On the map there are about 12 total hospitals (levels), and each hospital has 3 tiers (stars) of different challenges. Once you earn the first star, you can either move to the next unlocked hospital, or continue to try and earn the second and third star, or go back to a previous hospital. Things like research and what rooms you have unlocked stay with you, so the further you go, the more stuff you have unlocked and the ‘stronger’ you are (upgraded machines work better, access to more rooms means being able to cure more people for more money, etc). This all makes going back to a previous level entertaining, and fully beating the game (getting all the stars) is a lengthy process. However if you stop after getting one star on all the maps, you’ve effectively seen everything in terms of options, you just haven’t tried the higher tier (harder) challenges. IMO that’s pretty great design.
The other highlight for me is the humor of the game. It’s just funny in a simple, ‘doesn’t try too too hard’ way. Someone suffering from being lightheaded literally has a lightbulb for a head, and the machine that cures them unscrews the lightbulb, puts it in a bin, and takes a head out of another bin to screw on to the patient. Simple joke, but made me chuckle. Most of the rooms/diseases are similar jokes. The announcer and radio DJ also have some pretty good lines, with my favorite being “We are sorry for the litter YOU dropped on OUR floor.” Just the casual hate in the voice during that line is great.
If you enjoy management sims, TPH is a must-buy IMO. It does a lot of things really well, and on top of that solid foundation is a game that is both visually and audible enjoyable. It’s a ‘casual’ game that isn’t a cakewalk, and one that offers hours and hours of gameplay.