Two Point Hospital: Bigfoot Review
It's been a few months since Two Point Hospital provided the cure for a very long standing itch. At long last, we had the chance to run a healthcare facility full of weird illnesses and amusingly unpleasant conditions once again, only this time with all the quality of life improvements you might expect from a modern management game. While the itching might well have been sated by a solid dose of nostalgia and modern technique, Two Point Studios and Sega are back with a some aftercare and a little more of what ails you in the form of TPH's first DLC package - Bigfoot.
Opening up three brand new hospital locations in the frozen north of Two Point County, Bigfoot dishes out a slightly different challenge. Literally, given an abominable snowman is a local VIP and will occasionally drop by to make sure your toilets are clean and your waiting room has a selection of suitable outdated magazines. Beyond the DLC's namesake being in the game though, the real difference in the challenge during the first level, The Underlook Hotel, is that you wont be getting paid for any diagnosis or treatment and are instead relying on grants for hitting targets. Targets include all manner of metrics, ranging from maintaining a cure rate through to simply watering a few plants or training some staff. It's a fresh challenge, trying to prioritize according to what actions will actually reap returns. There's a trick to it that's not too tough to figure out, but the change in pace and focus is welcome.
Arriving alongside this new money making method are a selection of new illnesses. In total, Two Point Hospital: Bigfoot adds nine illnesses with extra visuals and treatment rooms to cure them with, as well as a further thirty four more ailments that don't morph their poor victims into Frankenstein's monster or anthropomorphic dogs but will keep your staff busy. In combination with the pre-existing conditions, this fresh batch of amusing animations can make your already weird looking crowds of clientele seem like something from a cosplay convention gone terribly wrong, albeit in the best possible way.
The second level, Swelbard, is something of an echo of the original campaign's Mitton University, giving you the chance to restore a once lauded research facility to former glory and allowing you to research upgrades for the new treatment rooms you'll be using. The difficulty ramps up a little in Swelbard, it's isolated location means that no qualified staff want to work there so you'll be left to train up your rookie staff and struggle until they're capable. Balancing the increasingly diverse illnesses that come through your door with the need to research and train staff is tough, but satisfying when plans made in the past and effort spent on training a handful of world class staff pay off in the end.
Alongside the levels and illnesses that Bigfoot brings, there are a ton of new decorative items to spruce up your hospitals with. New rugs, posters and paintings of dogs are a very welcome sight for me after playing a lot of the main campaign and getting to know the handful of original cosmetic items well. Other more functional items are in the mix too, with vending machines selling slightly disconcerting sounding absorbent snacks that reduce the need for trips to the loo being one of the most useful and most absurd of the bunch.
The final level added by Bigfoot is Roquefort Castle, a huge plot of land taken up, oddly enough, by a haunted castle. Unlike every other level in Two Point Hospital, this one is a huge, interconnected sprawl of purchasable rooms that allow you to go just a little bit further than ever before in terms of designing your hospital layout. Having to consider where you'll be creating corridors and how a customer will make their way through diagnosis in a relatively efficient way was strangely engaging and most definitely challenging. At one point I found myself with hordes of patients veering close to their demise, each having made death marches between distant diagnosis rooms over and over again. In most other management games this poor planning would be cause to restart the level, but thanks to Two Point's excellent editing tools I could pluck rooms out and rearrange to my heart's content. Quality of life changes that have been patched in since the core game's initial release make these tools shine all the more brightly thanks to their ease of use and sheer user-friendliness.
By the end of my time with Two Point Hospital: Bigfoot I had been pushed to think a bit harder than I previously had about the way I designed my hospitals, I'd been stretched thin by tight budgets in a way the core game hadn't managed and ultimately I'm left all the more satisfied by Two Point Studio's take on hospital management and Theme Hospital's legacy. The Bigfoot expansion's relatively low price and solid additions to the core game make this an easy recommendation for those longing for just a little more time in the Two Point doctor's office.