Gaming

Great time killer that's a hoot to boot

In Two Point Hospital, players have to manage everything from staff recruitment to building toilets while ensuring a healthy profit.
In Two Point Hospital, players have to manage everything from staff recruitment to building toilets while ensuring a healthy profit.PHOTO: TWO POINT PRODUCTIONS

The patients are bored while waiting for their turn to see the doctor, so I have to build magazine racks and arcade machines to keep them entertained.

An overworked doctor wants to resign, so I have to spruce up the staff resting room with posters, bookcases and snack machines to improve morale.

Welcome to Two Point Hospital, where you have to manage everything from staff recruitment to building toilets while ensuring a healthy profit.

You play as the owner of a health firm called Two Point Foundation, in a fictional place called Two Point County.

You will need to build hospitals in the various locations of this county, with each hospital having its own idiosyncrasies, challenges and goals.

First available on PC in 2018, the game was released on the Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) and Nintendo Switch console platforms last month. Seriously, this addictive game should have been ported earlier.

It is not an ultra-realistic simulation of a real hospital, though. There are lots of dry humour sprinkled throughout, regarding staff, diseases and more.

For instance, patients with light-headedness have a light bulb for their heads. And the treatment requires a machine that unscrews this light bulb and replaces it with their real head.

A Pan-demic is simply someone with a pan (yes, frying pan) stuck on his head. And you guessed right, the treatment involves pulling the pan out of the patient's head. Ridiculous, but funny.

Not to mention, all the characters in the game look like someone out of the British animation comedy series Wallace And Gromit.

While the graphics are not "AAA" level, the cartoon-like look fits the theme of the game.

  • FOR

    • Addictive gameplay

    • Dry humour

    • Great time killer

    AGAINST

    • Plenty of micro-management

    TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $54.90 (PS4, version tested; Switch)

    GENRE: Hospital management simulation

    RATING: 8/10

To start a hospital, you need to find land. If you do not have enough money, you can take a loan.

After the hospital building is up, you need to build a reception to register patients, offices for doctors to see patients and wards and pharmacies that will be manned by nurses.

Later, you will have to build more advanced treatment rooms, such as those for "chromatherapy" and surgery.You will also need to build toilets and litter bins, beautify the hospital with plants and ensure there are enough entertainment options.

Of course, you have to hire enough doctors, nurses, assistants (to man the reception) and janitors. At the recruitment panel, you get to see the traits of prospective staff. Many of the traits are hilarious, but surprisingly practical.

For example, patients who die in your hospital will turn into ghosts and you have to get qualified janitors to catch them before they scare away other patients.

The game controls are surprisingly intuitive. You use joysticks and buttons to draw, rotate and place rooms in the building.

Every time you treat a patient, you earn a sum of money. The more attractive your hospital, the more patients you get and the more money you earn.

As you earn money, you can upgrade the hospital to gain more prestige and increase the reputation of the hospitals and the health group as a whole.

On the downside, the amount of micro-management can be overwhelming as you need to make sure all the needs of patients and staff are met.

This is not helped by the patients' artificial intelligence, or lack of it. They sometimes all wait in a treatment room, when there is a similar treatment room further down the corridor.

You cannot move patients, only doctors and nurses to specific treatment rooms when you see a queue of patients waiting outside those rooms.

Time flew when I was playing this game. I started a session at 10pm and, before I knew it, it was 4am.

With many people staying at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this game could be the time-stealer one needs in these trying times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2020, with the headline 'Great time killer that's a hoot to boot'. Print Edition | Subscribe