Two Point Hospital (Switch) Review
Ever since Cities Skylines’ rocky performance on Nintendo Switch back in 2018, we at Vooks have been eagerly anticipating a large-scale simulation game to nail the landing. With Two Point Hospital, we have a genuine contender for not only the console’s best sim game but also the best port, full-stop.
Made by Britain-based Two Point (the console ports aided by Red Kite Games), comprised of team members who worked on the classic Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital seeks to tap into the niche hospital management market neglected in recent years. Having not played Theme Hospital back in the day, I don’t get the nostalgia vibes many others might from this medical outing. However, you won’t need nostalgia to recognise a terrific game here.
Immediately from boot-up, Two Point Hospital establishes a delightfully off-beat sense of humour. Populated with cheesy Wallace and Gromit-like plasticine characters, deadpan surrealist radio commentary, and ridiculous made-up illnesses to cure – your time overseeing hospitals will be anything but dull. Quintessentially British by nature, Two Point Hospital’s comedy punches up against bureaucrats and politicians alike, taking the piss out of a not-so-fictional setting where profit margins are far more important than people’s health.
Most impressively, Two Point Hospital features an excellent tutorial system, guiding you through its many elements at an approachable rate. Simulation games can be intimidating beasts but here running a hospital has never been so welcoming. Two Point Hospital begins with an overworld map with only one hospital lot available from the start. From here, a highly interactive tutorial takes place, walking you through the basics in a meaningful way. You’ll learn how to hire staff, install different treatment rooms, keep patients happy, plus plenty more at a gradual rate.
To help ease the learning curve, specific objectives need to be met before proceeding. This extends to unlocking larger and more complex hospital lots; similar to the rating system adopted by many mobile games, Two Point Hospital employs a three-star approach. In order to unlock the next hospital, you must earn at least one star before moving on. Each star is gated behind a set of milestones such as patients cured, money earned or staff promoted. Additionally, early-game hospitals limit the variety of illnesses and unique challenges to face, so you can focus on honing the basics and not spreading too thinly in trying to treat multiple ailments at once. I favoured achieving all three stars moving onto the next hospital, as I believe it better prepared me for the incremental challenges that laid ahead.
Pleasingly, Two Point Hospital’s challenge in later hospitals feels rightly earned. Instead of arbitrarily throwing more patients at you, new gameplay elements are introduced at a rate that lifts the difficulty at a good pace. For example, several hospitals in, I expanded to two buildings, was treating a myriad of conditions – including Jest Infection, where people are permanently dressed as clowns – but I began encountering a steady rate of patient deaths.
Why was this happening? I bought new facilities as they unlocked, did what I thought was right, but the fatalities kept racking up?
What happened was in adapting to new challenges, I neglected the basics. GP Clinics became overcrowded, waiting times were through the roof and people kicked the bucket before they could receive treatment. The solution? I had to install more clinics and diagnostic facilities, hire more staff and adjust break policies, plus ease patients’ wait periods with more snacks and arcade machines. Two Point Hospital does a stellar job of presenting increasingly complex dilemmas with achievable solutions. Identifying and solving hospital crises is incredibly satisfying, especially when you turn a makeshift morgue into a tidy profiteering exercise for the Ministry of Health.
To go into explicit detail of what Two Point Hospital entails would spoil part of the experience, considering discovering zany illnesses and their equally whacky cures is such a joy. To divulge a little further, you’ll occasionally encounter optional challenges to test the limits of the hospital. For example, you can attempt to cure a transfer of patients afflicted with a particular illness within a time limit. Succeed and reap the rewards, but failure will diminish the hospital’s reputation, affecting the number of patients you attract.
By now, you may be wondering how Two Point Hospital performs on a Nintendo Switch. Handheld play comprised more than 90% of my time as a hospital manager, and I have no complaints whatsoever. Perhaps slightly longer load times than my brief foray into the PC version? Totally negligible, to say the least. If anything, the cursor controlled by the left-stick isn’t as precise as a PC mouse, plus the lack of hotkeys is a minor inconvenience. However, the Switch’s face buttons are used effectively, with ‘Y’ bringing up the swathe of menus, swiftly navigated by the directional and shoulder buttons. You’ll need to spend decent chunks of time in the menus; managing a hospital requires juggling patients’ happiness, staff fatigue, salary and training requirements. Not to mention minimising deaths, but these things happen!
Two Point Hospital triumphantly succeeds on multiple fronts. It succeeds as a deeply rewarding simulation experience with a fantastic learning curve and a good challenge. Additionally, the port quality from the folks at Two Point Studios and Red Kite Games is phenomenally smooth on Nintendo Switch – even when your hospital halls are filled with dying patients.
+ Brilliantly optimised port
+ Excellent learning curve
+ Satisfying depth and challenge
- PC controls still feel best, but not by much