At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Dave Wickham Nintendo DS Oxygen Games GAMEINVEST 1 Here
Requirements Also on... Buy from Amazon.co.uk
None Wii, Windows PC Click here to buy Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward.

Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward review

The name Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward, especially coupled with the box art, conjures up memories of Theme Hospital, the classic hospital-building sequel to Theme Park. Now, for me these memories usually involve quite significant amounts of failure, but this didn't change that it's a thoroughly enjoyable classic.

Unfortunately, the setting and basic premise - running a hospital - are where the similarities stop. Instead of seeing you design and manage the day-to-day operations of a medical establishment of your own, Hysteria Hospital places you as a nurse and hand of god in the most understaffed hospital in the world.

There are two play types - Play (which will be referred to as "Story" herein) and the (thankfully misnamed) Endless. Both have the same basic gameplay - patients come in, you drag them to the triage nurse, and you then either follow the process for treating them (drag them to the needed equipment, use the sole nurse to pick up their prescription, take it to the patient, potentially repeat the last 2 steps for a different piece of equipment, then clean up, perhaps fixing some machinery along the way), or drag them to the ambulance waiting outside if you lack the required medical paraphernalia, all whilst trying to avoid keeping patients waiting too long and leaving without paying you anything.

Where Story and Endless mode differ is that story mode has 7 different hospitals, with 9 levels per hospital. With each of these levels, you are set goals to meet in terms of number of patients treated and amount of money made, and you're up against the clock. At the beginning of each day you are also allowed to buy and sell equipment, but don't get too excited; you are fairly limited in what you can do. Endless, by contrast, gives you a reasonably stocked hospital with no customisation potential, with the game ending when 9 patients have walked out without treatment.

If you didn't bother reading the second paragraph of this review, you may be hopeful that the buying and selling of equipment might provide a similar experience to Theme Hospital. Unfortunately, no. When you start in a hospital, it already has a collection of bits and pieces which can't be sold or removed, and the amount of expansion is very limited - for the first few hospitals, you can only place a couple of new bits of equipment, and even when you expand onto multiple floors it doesn't help too much. Additionally, there is a somewhat annoying design in the buying/selling system - if you just make enough money to buy an expensive bit of kit in one hospital, then have to move to another one, you don't get the money back nor do you get to move the kit. Quite frustrating when you buy it shortly before the end of a set of levels, then don't earn it back for a long time.

Ultimately, whilst the premise of Hysteria Hospital feels like it should have the potential for a good game (after all, look at Theme Hospital), the game itself is just far too repetitive, inflexible, and unchallenging to really be enjoyable. I've only failed two levels, and both of those were due to a brief lapse of concentration, leading to a backing up of patients who would then all leave before they could get treated. It's possible that Hysteria Hospital could act as a simple time-filler, but there are plenty of more enjoyable games out there to fill that gap.

Ratings

Overall With some more variety and flexibility in hospitals and gameplay, Hysteria Hospital might be a fun game to play when you've got a few minutes free, but unfortunately it just ends up getting dull and repetitive. 5/10

Click here to buy Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward from Amazon.co.uk.

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