Two Point Hospital is a surprisingly great console adaptation of a genre that’s otherwise been scarce outside of PCs.
Two Point Hospital was a welcome return to the heyday of classic sim games that used to be so popular back in the day, when it launched on PC in 2018. It managed to have the kind of charm and whimsy that made games like Roller Coaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon so endearing across all ages, along with the depth and intricacies that made those games so enduring over time.
It was surprising to hear that Sega and Two Point Studios would be bringing the game over to consoles – sim games traditionally aren’t a good fit for those platforms owing to their far more limited control schemes – but they’ve done just that, and now that the port is here, we can confidently register our surprise at just how well it has translated over. This is the same full-fat experience we got and liked on PC (well, mostly. We’ll get back to that in a bit), but now on your console of choice.
The conceit of the game, in case the name hasn’t tipped you off, is that you build and run a network of hospitals. It’s your job to manage your enterprise and ensure it’s successful, while also not gouging people with your prices so much that you start getting bad press, and people stop coming to your hospitals. Two Point Hospital keeps its tongue firmly in cheek as it goes about this premise, and the subtle prods at the failings of the profit-driven healthcare system are a blast.
"Two Point Hospital keeps its tongue firmly in cheek as it goes about this premise, and the subtle prods at the failings of the profit-driven healthcare system are a blast."
The humor in the game goes beyond just satire. The afflictions people suffer from are patently absurd (such as having a utensil stuck on their head, which is definitely not a medical epidemic), the staff you hire will have really funny backgrounds and employment references, and the soundtrack, punctuated by a radio-show style talk show host, manages to catch your attention often with just how absurd it is.
Beyond the humor, the game works more or less how you expect it to: you build facilities in your hospitals, you staff them with the right professionals, and you try to balance your income and your expenses. Things get more and more layered and nuanced over time – more facilities become available to you, you’re asked to start also addressing tertiary concerns for your patients and staff alike (such as a staff room, or vending machines for refreshments), you’re managing multiple hospitals at once, and even a single hospital can have multiple buildings.
To the game’s credit, it does an excellent and admirable job of slowly rolling these things out, with really well explained tutorials that are doled out at a steady pace, so you never feel too restricted in terms of what you can do, while also not feeling too overwhelmed by any of it. These tutorials do a great job of showing you the ropes of the management and sim aspects that comprise the core loop of the game, whether you’re a veteran of sim games, or a newcomer to the genre.
And that core loop is addictive. It’s easy to lose hours into Two Point Hospital, slowly building up your medical empire, punctuated by you addressing each crisis as it comes, not even realizing how much time you have spent on the game. Like any good sim game, Two Point Hospital can entirely take over your life, if you let it.
There is some friction to it doing that in the console version versus the PC one, however. While the developers have done a competent job of trying to map the controls to the more limited controllers on consoles versus the versatility of a keyboard and mouse setup, they naturally run into some hindrances and roadblock, that do grate during the experience. This can include something as simple as wanting to cancel out of item selection when building a room (and accidentally cancelling everything you have done so far), to just having to dig deep into menus and submenus to find the information you are looking for. None of this is game breaking, but it does intrude upon your enjoyment with frequent pangs of annoyance.
"It’s easy to lose hours into Two Point Hospital, slowly building up your medical empire, punctuated by you addressing each crisis as it comes, not even realizing how much time you have spent on the game. Like any good sim game, Two Point Hospital can entirely take over your life, if you let it."
The other big change here is that while Two Point Hospital is mostly full-fledged, it lacks the sandbox mode that is available on the PC version. The sandbox mode is, as the name implies, just where you start a hospital and manage it without limitations or prescribed objectives, and a staple of the genre. According to the developers, this is coming to the console versions by the end of March, so it’s a temporary issue, but if you mean to buy it now, for that mode, it’s something to keep in mind.
I also want to talk about the performance of the game, which can stutter surprisingly, and run into frequent prolonged loading screens when saving your file. A part of this can be attributed to the game being built on Unity, which doesn’t seem to handle consoles too well – but at any rate, the developers have promised that updates and patches, including some available at launch itself, will smooth those things out.
There’s very little to complain about with Two Point Hospital otherwise. While it’s not the best sim game ever, it’s a damn good one, and the fact that it’s come over to consoles is great, even with the understandable concessions considered. While it won’t appeal to a lot of console players, those who give it a try will find a funny, charming, and incredibly addictive game that they can lose hours of their life to.
This game was reviewed on PS4.
An extremely addictive core gameplay loop; excellent tutorials that slowly acclimatize you to more and more layers to the game's mechanics without ever overwhelming you; extremely clever and funny with its humor and satire; a surprisingly well done conversion of the game to consoles
The controls are finnicky, and can often be annoying; some performance and stability issues
There’s very little to complain about with Two Point Hospital. While it’s not the best sim game ever, it’s a damn good one, and the fact that it’s come over to consoles is great, even with the understandable concessions considered. Those who give it a try will find a funny, charming, and incredibly addictive game that they can lose hours of their life to.