One of the first games I ever bought with my hard earned allowance was Theme Park. I spent countless hours playing the theme park simulation game by legendary Bullfrog Productions. Riding on the roller-coaster of success that Theme Park turned out to be, Bullfrog released another “Theme”-game three years later, Theme Hospital.
Like the name implies, Theme Hospital was a hospital simulation game. With it’s quirky, tongue-in-cheek humor, ingenious medical conditions and accompanying treatments, Theme Hospital immediately got me hooked. It became yet another Bullfrog title responsible for me spending many hours of my childhood in front of a computer.
But not long after the release of Theme Hospital, some of the key Bullfrog employees left the company. This put Bullfrog’s intellectual property (IP) in the hands of their publisher, Electronic Arts, a company that turns every great IP they get their hands on into garbage. Exhibit A: Maxis and SimCity. In 2001, Bullfrog was merged into EA UK and ceased to exist as a separate entity.
But the Bullfrog spirit didn’t die, it just went into hibernation. Now it has finally awoken in the form of Two Point Hospital.
Two Point Theme Hospital.
Two Point Hospital is a hospital themed business simulation game developed by Two Point Studios. The studio is co-founded by Mark Webley, and Gary Carr, both of who worked on Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital.
That Webley and Carr has drawn inspiration from their work on Theme Hospital when creating Two Point Hospital is obvious, and calling the game a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital would be a grave understatement. Two Point Hospital features the same kind of British bizarre humor, imaginative illnesses and cures, and the same comic visual style. In many ways, Two Point Hospital is Theme Hospital.
Everything starts our rather trivially. The selection of different rooms you can build is limited, the known diseases are few, and everything is moving along at a comfortable pace. Two Point Hospital takes its time to teach you how the various game mechanics work. but it doesn’t get tedious, and things get more complicated exactly when you feel its time to learn something new. Games that have this perfectly balanced learning curve are few and far between.
Doctor to GP’s office.
Running a successful hospital isn’t just about the patients, though. You also have to look after your staff’s needs. As they get more experienced, they want to be promoted – with a hefty pay rise of course – they need better training, and luxurious staff rooms to chill out in. New and unknown diseases also need you attention. When your current equipment can’t diagnose and cure your patients, you have to build labs to research missing technology.
There is no doubt you should pick up Two Point Hospital if you enjoyed Theme Hospital back in the days. But even if the nostalgia-O-meter goes through the roof, no knowledge of any classic hospital sims is necessary to thoroughly enjoy Two Point Hospital.
In summary, Two Point Hospital is an absolutely brilliant game.
This review is based on 15 hours of gameplay with the following DLCs installed. Bigfoot, Close Encounters, Retro Items Pack, and Pebberly Island.