Building a Better Hospital With Game Insight’s Social-Mobile Title, My Clinic on iPad

My ClinicWhen it comes to social-mobile games, Russian incubator company, Game Insight has published some rather popular titles including the highest-grossing app in all of Android Market, Paradise Island HD and one past social title, The Syndicate! HD. Their latest release, which appears to be developed by a group within the incubator called 17bullets (though they have no official website), is a free-to-play title, My Clinic. Released May 19th, the game currently holds the #21 spot on the top free iPad apps list and has even breached the top 50 at #42 on the top grossing chart as well.

A social game where users join friends and attempt to build a successful hospital, many of the mechanics of the more “standard” virtual space business sim type of game have been streamlined. In fact, the game functions, more or less, the same as its predecessor, The Syndicate! HD. That said, the game does hold some features that coax players further into both returning more frequently and purchasing more virtual items inside the app.

So players have gotten their hands on their very own clinic, and are tasked with its management and growth. Don’t worry. This isn’t too hard, as the game comes down to managing three primary elements: patients, employee morale, and efficiency.

BuildingThe first is the bread and butter of the game. Depending on the user’s progress, they will be able to treat a variety of ailments ranging from frostbites to pampered patients with a broken nail. Regardless of the perceived illness, patients will take any where from a few seconds to several hours to treat, paying the player when treatment is complete (the longer the treatment, the greater the payout). Thankfully, unlike most social games, the player need not worry about returning at a timely manner.

In many social games, like the farming kind, returning after too long a period of time has expired will result in a lost of profits (e.g. crops spoil). However, this will never happen in My Clinic. That said, players do receive a bonus for returning and claiming pay when it is ready.

Part of the reason many social developers implement this “spoiling” feature is to urge players to come back frequently or spend purchased virtual currency to “revive” these failed crops; or suffer lost profits. This is more a negative reinforcement. My Clinic tends to focus on positive reinforcement.

In order to get users to return more frequently, My Clinic incorporates two major game mechanics: Emergency patients and aggravations. The former is a rare medical emergency that will not normally appear with the rest of the patients and these jobs typically pay more money.

Aggravations, are a bit different. These are problems that will occur at some point during treatment and are displayed on the treatment’s progress bar. In order to treat an aggravation, players must return when the progress bar is passing through this area and apply a virtual item that can be purchased with both in-game cash or virtual currency. Doing so will not only accelerate the total treatment process, but will earn immediate revenue and can earn users “collection items” that can be used in their 2D virtual space.

EquipmentThis virtual space game doesn’t have the same level of creativity that many other business sim games have, but it can be upgraded to be more aesthetically pleasing and more functional. As users upgrade their hospital, they will be able to hire more doctors which can be both friends, which are free, or non-player characters (which can be bought with virtual or in-game currency). The latter, however, only has a limited supply and new NPCs can only be hired daily.