In recent weeks, casual and mobile games developer Big Fish Games has seen its share of new games rise up the top iOS app charts with its recent surge of new adventure-style puzzle games. However, the company is releasing a new title that is moving away from that focus with an arcade-like time management game, Hospital Haste HD.
Akin to titles such as Dinner Dash and Tapper World Tour, this new game makes players treat ever increasing numbers of hospital patients with growing varieties of quirky ailments. Free to download, but requiring an in-app purchase to unlock the full game, the app is fun to play, offering a quickly growing series of challenges. Long story short, the game is about what one would expect from Big Fish Games.
Players have just finished medical school and they’re off to build their own clinics. As dreamy as that sounds, there is one problem: In order to do so, players must not only earn enough cash for all the equipment, but also possess five medical certificates proving their skill. In order to do both, users work for different medical facilities around the world and in a Diner-Dash-fashion, they treat patients over the course of the day, juggling ever increasing amounts of responsibility.
In the game, users are presented with a 2D cut away of a multi-leveled hospital and must use the touch screen to pick up treatments and deliver them to patient rooms. At its most basic level, players must first touch and drag a patient to an empty room before their health decreases to zero and they leave (this decreases as patients are not attended to, for the duration of their hospital stay). From there, players must pick up their charts — delivering them to the room — followed by their treatments. After they are healed, the room’s laundry must be cleaned and delivered to the washer.
Here’s the catch: One, the player avatar must walk the full distance between where items are picked up and the corresponding patient’s room. Two, only so many items can be picked up at any given time. As levels progress, more and more patients enter the hospital (though they do stop after a period of time, as the day “ends”), which means users must remain very aware of the order in which they arrive.
It sounds easy, but as the game progresses, more and more “complex” sicknesses begin to appear that require more treatment items beyond just medicine. From head-spinning dizzy spells to hyper-allergic patients, players will often find themselves managing not only several patients, but different numbers of treatments, several items, as well as time. The game even begins having new patients appear at multiple entrances to the hospital; adding yet one more thing to be aware of.
In order to mitigate the challenge, users will earn cash based on their performance. This is then used to upgrade different parts of the clinic. For the most part, these include logical bonuses like rooms that heal patients faster, faster avatar movement speed, or the ability to carry more treatment items.
It is also worth noting that performance is not is rated by one’s score. In order to pass a level, in general, a certain score must be acquired, but on top of this, an “Expert” score is also available, which grants extra points if reached. What makes the game more interesting, however, is that score can be augmented by taking extra things into consideration. For example, when players treat patients, a small icon on each floor of the hospital will note what type of patient stayed in which room. If users treat subsequent patients of the same illness on the same floor, they will earn score bonuses.
Hospital improvements help with a secondary currency as well. The faster and better that patients are treated, the more health — represented by hearts — they will have when they heal. These hearts are then used as currency to buy new equipment for that dream clinic mentioned earlier. This equipment is then placed in the user’s own virtual clinic, but sadly, it cannot be decorated as they see fit. Everything is pre-placed, but users are able to upgrade all of it to look more high tech and professional.
As far as monetization goes, the game is free-to-download and offers a fair amount of game play for free. That said, Big Fish Games continues to utilize the monetization method it has been using for most of its newly released games in recent time, which is to make it free, but then prompt the user to pay for a full version unlock after a demo period. In terms of Hospital Haste HD, the game currently runs $4.99, but also like all of Big Fish Games’ new releases, it is marked down in price. At the moment, it’s 50 percent off.
There aren’t really any complaints to be had about the game. Though Hospital Haste HD has a premise that’s been seen and done before. The game itself is pretty fun, and the sicknesses all come with a moderately amusing visual to them. It is also nice to see Big Fish Games steer away from the adventure games for a moment. With any luck, we will see some more inventive game mechanics and premises from this casual games developer in the near future.