An expertly crafted game with depth, humor and fun. Just be prepared to do a little level grinding.
Monsters get sick, right? Humans do, animals do, even plants do, so it's only logical that the sometimes furry, scaly critters come down with a case of the flu once in a while. That's where Monster Hospital comes into play, a frantic time management game from Beeline Interactive that lets you heal hundreds of sick monsters while managing the ins and outs of running a successful hospital.
Monster Hospital is laid out like a traditional time management game blended with light simulation elements similar to Smurfs’ Village or We Rule. As the new hospital administrator it's your job to make sure everything runs smoothly, from patient treatment to the hiring/firing of staff, equipment upgrades, and more. Monsters enter with frowns and slumped shoulders hoping for a cure. With simple drag and drop motions, players pick up and drag each monster and place him or her at the appropriate station, moving them through triage, diagnosis, treatment and recovery as quickly as you can. Icons above each monster's head will show you when they're ready to be moved, you just have to make sure there's an empty space ready to receive them.
Monster happiness plays a big role in the game, as indicated by a row of hearts at the foot of each character. The longer a monster has to be kept waiting, the lower their happiness. You can use a ciderade from the conveniently located vending machine to perk up monsters from time to time, but its effects are small and quantities limited, so your only reliable weapon is speed.
After each round of treatment you'll be scored based on efficiency and will have a moment to upgrade the hospital as well as manage the staff. Depending on the number of patients you've treated and the amount of supplies you have, you'll be able to add new fixtures to the floor or upgrade existing ones with accessories, all in the name of keeping the monsters happy and moving out of the building as efficiently as possible. When you're satisfied with how things look, pick a new emergency to handle and get ready for the sick patients to come pouring in!
A lot of items are thrown around as you complete different challenges, and at first it's overwhelming to keep track of them all. What are those syringes used for? And the coins? Device parts? Vitamins? After some time you'll see exactly where everything fits into place and it won't be much of an issue. The most important things to watch are coins and vitamins. The former allows you to upgrade equipment, while the latter lets you speed everything up from stocking the ciderade machine to moving monsters through medical stations.
Where Monster Hospital trips over its own ambitions is with its in-app purchases. For most games, microtransactions are used to hurry things up or unlock additional content. Here, the game relies a bit too much on the hurrying feature, putting you in situations where it's almost required to spend extra money to get through the level without failing miserably. It's a slight balancing issue that can be taken care of with a little level grinding, but you'll notice on more than one occasion that you’ve run out of important items that can be conveniently refilled with a small in-app purchase.
Monster Hospital could have been simplified a bit to make it more instantly engaging, but the resulting product has a good amount of depth and quite a bit of staying power. It's a grind, for sure, and one that relies a little too much on in-app purchases to keep things moving, but everything else falls right into place, creating a game that's entertaining, funny, challenging, and just so darn cute!
- Exciting gameplay that it just challenging enough to keep you interested. Great visuals with creative monster designs that are fluidly animated.
- In-app purchases are leaned on too heavily.