Finally a game that gives you the opportunity to put on a cute little nurses outfit – and which girl wouldn’t want to do that?
Upon first seeing the packaging for Hysteria Hospital I was immediately reminded of the classic Theme Hospital from several years back which saw you taking over the management of a hospital and dealing with the various illnesses that came your way. However such a comparison is unfair on Hysteria Hospital, as the gameplay is in fact very different.
Rather than managing the hospital, it is your job to ensure the smooth running of patient treatments as a newly graduated nurse, and the only nurse in fact, at the only place that would give you a job in these troubled economic times! Happily you do get to choose whether your in game nurse is Male or Female, though this has no bearing on the game play other than as a representation of yourself. You also get to choose the colour of your outfit, yet again with no direct effect on the game.
Patients arrive at the waiting room, as one would expect all by themselves, however all movement beyond this this point is down to you, illness having obviously robbed them of any autonomous thought! So expect to be going stylus crazy dragging their ever weakening bodies from pillar to post until you’ve managed to cure them.
First stop for all patients is a visit to the triage area, where they are assessed and prescribed a course of treatments which you must them take them through. At it’s simplest this means dropping them onto a bed or treatment area, sending your nurse character to go pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, and handing it to the patient. Prescriptions are numbered so if you are treating more than one patient at a time you know which treatment is for which patient. To aid in this you have two hands, yes go on – count them , so you can carry more than one prescriptions at once, however you will need to free both hands to change down a bed or treatment table after a patient has used it, such is the lot of a nurse’s life.
More complex forms of treatment will be required as you progress through the different levels and onto new hospitals which means that more exotic equipment will become available to you. These items must be bought first though as you also, unusually for a nurse, are in charge of purchasing – as well as payroll and machine maintenance for that matter! Paid for by the profits you made from treating all those now happy patients you can normally start picking these items up after only a few levels… if only the NHS had it so easy!
One downpoint in the game is that little is made of what these conditions are that the patients are being treated for. You merely get an icon indicating what needs to be done, and the game looses a bit of characterisation here that might have helped you feel more for these poor guys rather than just shovelling them through your hospital as fast as you can. Then again maybe that’s an accurate portrayal of modern healthcare?!?Â Another small criticism is the slightly annoying repetitive background music. The game could have benefited a lot from some more hospital like sounds and tannoy announcements to set the atmosphere a bit better. Also the text that explains your graduation at the start of the game is rather poor, indicating a rather direct translation to my mind, and forcing you to click, click, click through it was a little uninspired.
In essence that is the complete gameplay aspect of HH, the challenge comes from trying to keep your cool when things start getting backed up. Knowing this however won’t stop you from panicking when you find yourself with 3 patients all needing treatment tables, and only have two, both already in use. You do have a get out clause however. A handy ambulance is on constant standby to which you can drag any patients you know you won’t be able to treat in time, indicated by a heart shaped health status over their heads, and they will be whisked away to an alternative hospital. This hurts your efforts less than leaving them to run out of health all together though, at which point they will get mightily miffed and storm out of their own accord. Of course you make no profit from anyone dragged to the ambulance, even if you have part treated them, so over-use will result in failing a particular levels patient and profit quotas.
So is there fun to be had here? Well â€“ this is no E.R. or Grey’s Anatomy, and there are no Dr. Ross or Dr. McDreamy in this place to make it worth your while coming back to work every morning. However as long as you are not here just to ogle at the eye candy doctors and are not expecting a remake of Theme Hospital (which if you’ve read this review you shouldn’t!) then you should be ok. This is a fast paced, sometimes frantic stylus based gameplay and if you like this style of game then you should certainly get quite a bit out of this title. Each level is pretty quick to get through, which for hand held gaming is a real plus point, as too many games that come out on multiple platforms overlook this when making the portable version.