Are You Alright? is a game that helps us understand why some people can be workaholics. There’s something naturally addicting about the busyness of a high-performance job, having a thousand things on your plate, and being able handle it all. Much like the popular time management game Diner Dash, Are You Alright? places you in charge of a bustling business, this time a hospital, and it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t fall to pieces.
You play as a doctor whose father invented a multitude of oversized medical machines that do simple tasks, like check patients’ temperatures and take X-rays, and he wants you to show these machines to the world for him. The story is paper thin, but there is a satisfying narrative progression to getting invited to show off your Jetsons-style machines to new hospitals around the globe. It feels like you’re running a successful business, with every new hospital you’re invited to acting as an expansion of your empire.
Shards of microgame goodness.
To cure the patients who fill your lobby, you need to put them through a variety of your father’s machines. There’s an assembly line progression to which machines they must visit, starting with the thermometer machine and ending with the surgery machine. Once you use your finger to drag a patient to a machine, you must tap it to get your little doctor to travel to it and test the patient.
Testing the patients on the various machines requires you to complete microgames, like Warioware without the zaniness. You’ll need to scan a patient’s stomach for foreign objects like paper clips, or remove pieces of glass from the patient’s skin. As the day goes on and you get into your busy time, the game becomes about keeping the assembly line going, getting patients to free machines, testing them, and then getting them out the door.
Are You Alright? does a good job of introducing a new minigame when you travel to new hospitals, but with the X-ray machine especially, the minigames become tedious and the patient flow seems to bottleneck. Besides, how is it that every patient who walks through the hospital doors has swallowed foreign objects?
Now where does this strip go?
All of your machines can be upgraded to work faster or more comfortably for your patients. You can also hire nurses and make miracle pills that persuade patients to not leave. Free drugs in the lobby, anyone?
There are about 10 or so different patient types, each with their own health needs and personalities. Take the Gangster, whose health decreases rapidly but pays with trunks full of cash if he’s treated well. Patients will leave your hospital if they’re made to wait too long without treatment, but you get a nice visual cue of them smoking if they’re about to split.
Are You Alright? doesn’t do much wrong. It feels great to overcome a tough day at work, a rare sense of accomplishment that Are You Alright? aces. Admittedly, there were times when we got pretty stressed out with the midday rush, but the game is never too challenging. Some gamers could note that as a weakness, but were it any tougher, it would start to feel like a real job. We never would have believed it, but multitasking can be fun if you do it right, and Are You Alright? certainly does.