If you are the kind of person who loves shows like ‘ER’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ then Hospital Tycoon might be a game you really enjoy. In fact, part of the great appeal of the game, which was released in 2007, is that unlike many tycoon games it does have a rather organized ‘backstory’ that is not unlike an episode of one of those dramas. There is some humor, some of it pretty cheesy and this is not a very serious tycoon game in the way some other offerings are, instead it is more of a console style game with some elements of management involved in it.
The graphics in the game, as it is a newer offering, are superior to many tycoon games and they are in a rather cartoonish style that suits the light-hearted feel of the game.
The basic premise of the game is to manage the hospital. The game flows in ‘episodes’ and while your actions do not affect the basic backstory you will not be able to progress to the next one until you have completed the ‘objectives’ set. These include buying new equipment, hiring new staff, and, in a House style twist diagnosing and then hopefully curing patients who present various different, often very strange, symptoms. You do have a research team to help you make these diagnosis but the ultimate decision, and the fate of the patient, is yours.
The biggest challenge in this game is the behavior of the staff. Medical staff come in a number of different skill levels and expect different salaries in order to continue to work at your establishment. Some of the medical equipment can only be operated by specialists.
However, in this game you only take part in the relationships with other staff members. You cannot assign doctors to work with certain patients and basically the staff do whatever they see fit. This often means that some of the patients that needed urgent care will die – which is not good for the hospital’s bottom line – and so you do have to work very hard to keep as many patients alive as possible with a sometimes very uncooperative staff.
Hospital Tycoon is a rather light gaming offering when it comes to the tycoon game genre and fans of titles like Zoo Tycoon, which involve serious and constant micromanagement, may find this game rather silly.