When news hit that a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital was coming out, I was positively excited. Given my love for quirky simulation games like it and Sim Golf, the notion of having a modern take on what’s now a sleeper genre was incredible. Sadly, it took me this long to get to Two Point Hospital, but like our own Gareth who reviewed the game last year, I’m absolutely in love with it now that it’s out on Switch.
For anyone not only old enough to remember Theme Hospital and/or instantly familiar with what Two Point Hospital is all about, there’s not much to either of them at all. You’re put in charge of a newly-founded hospital and are charged with getting it off the ground by minding the placement of its numerous facilities, as well as hiring employees and minding the inner workings in order to keep it afloat.
In both franchises, humor is king, and it certainly beats what otherwise be a very dry subject matter in spades, by having numerous hilarious diseases popping up from time to time, as well as the curious ways that they are treated in your facility. Two Point Hospital takes things even further by having its own radio station that constantly pokes fun at you and everyone in your hospital’s world, along with playing some of the best background music in a game I’ve played in ages.
Sometimes, playing a building game like this feels aimless due to a lack of direction in the game’s part in regards to what you need to be doing at any one time, but Two Point Hospital does an excellent job keeping things engaging by not having you stick to a specific hospital at all times. You’re instead pushed around different ones around a map, starting with a tutorial stage that eases you into the pacing of putting together a comedic medical practice, and eventually putting you in charge of an array of wildly varied hospitals.
It’s also cool that you’re constantly being challenged by the game as new objectives and goals are drawn as levels progress, and if you want to earn all three stars for each of them, you should keep an eye on our staff and patients as they tend to do exactly what you don’t want them to be doing when you’re not looking.
Playing this game on Switch proved to be great, which is surprising considering how tightly sim games are related to mouse and keyboard controls, and in that this version plays fine on a controller. In fact, I hardly missed a beat when getting the hang of menu navigation. Item selection takes hardly more than two or three button presses, and placing anything on the map is a cinch, as is picking up whatever you need to move, or even your staff.
Keeping your hospital in check is also made easy by how you can freely move the camera using your analog sticks, as well as zooming in and such, which works really well here. You won’t ever find yourself having to frantically fiddle with anything when it comes to the controls, thankfully so.
The only thing that you might have to squint a little with Two Point Hospital portably is the text, which similarly to other titles when played on the go is a bit small. Then again, a lot of it happens to be flavor text, but it would’ve been nice to have the option to blow things up to size a little. All in all, though, the interface scales well enough in both gameplay modes and never gets in your way.
I’m really happy with how Two Point Hospital turned out, and given that I only got to play it now, and with the opportunity to play it on a system such as the Switch, I’m bound to keep it around for ages. It’s cool to think that older classics can make a comeback even if the new version isn’t exactly a named in-series game, but in all accounts, this is very much the sequel to Theme Hospital people like me have been clamoring for, for ages.