If you enjoy watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ but lament its lack of zombies and graverobbing, we daresay that Hospital Havoc 2 might be just the game for you. In short, it lives up to its name and provides a chaotic, darkly humorous take on the time management genre.
At its heart, Hospital Havoc trades on a time management formula that continues to delight in this iteration. The plot, such as it is, is thinner than most: you start as a medical student who is thrown solo into the crazy world of lightning-fast triage and treatment for many of the strangest ailments imaginable. Over the course of the game, you grow your practice, from a small town office to a sprawling metropolitan hospital. Along the way, a satisfying roleplay system allows you to level up and buff your character with an assortment of wacky devices and power-ups.
A motley crew.
Gameplay is deceptively simple, and every admitted patient follows the same basic trajectory. First, a patient must be directed to a bed. Then you admit him, prescribe medications, and dispatch your nurse to deliver the drugs. Subsequently, you check up on the patient and, hopefully, discharge him– that is, if he hasn’t gone in to cardiac arrest, become a zombie, or succumbed to some other mysterious ailment.
Difficulty ramps up quickly, however, and before long you will find yourself tending to more than 10 patients at a given time– managing their happiness by dispensing food, performing diagnostic tests with a variety of purchasable machines, and tending to their various attacks. Additionally, you will employ your nurse assistant in cleaning up garbage, delivering food, and cleaning beds.
Even though the game can become alarmingly fast and frenetic, you quickly settle into a rhythm and become adept at managing patient health and happiness. Even when your patients expire (and many most certainly will), the game’s scoring system is not overly punishing. This is a gameworld that respects the circle of life– the designers expect some of your patients to die, and to do so painfully.
Land on the H.
As your doctor levels up, you can allocate skill points to various traits, such as movement speed, diagnostic ability, and cure rates. In our experience, these skill-ups were marginally helpful and added a degree of strategy to the game, but did not significantly alter gameplay. Where the real advantage comes is in the form of purchasable buffs and hospital equipment. Some of these buffs can be purchased with in-game coins, which rack up pretty quickly through gameplay, while others are redeemed with muffins, a currency that you can purchase with real-world money.
While we are often deterred when freemium titles essentially require the purchase of in-game currency in order to play at anything faster than a snail’s pace, we found that Hospital Havoc 2’s muffins were not prohibitively expensive (especially when compared to, say, Smurf Village’s smurfberries), nor did we find them to be absolutely essential to enjoyment of the game. Being able to purchase cure-rate enhancing bandages or an XP accumulation buff made progression less glacial and time management easier, but they were not ‘I Win’ buttons. That said, we do wish that non-monetary accumulation of muffins was a bit speedier.
Our only significant criticisms of the game are that it is not always clear as to what some of the buffs do, and sometimes patients will pulse (a signal that they require attention) without any explanation of what they need. Additionally, in some of the later levels, as we ground for experience and items, some of the gameplay started to feel a tad monotonous. Still, nothing obscures the fact that, as freemium titles go, this is a solid one. With a great sense of humor, a satisfying sense of progression, and a wealth of content and features, we found Hospital Havoc 2 to be an addictive and engaging trip through the halls of medicine.