Galacticare could, quite feasibly, be a Two Point Hospital DLC set in space. We’ve been hands-on with a demo of the upcoming space-faring hospital sim and other than its intergalactic setting, the whole thing feels very familiar. It’s not a bad thing, exactly: we love Theme Hospital and its spiritual successor Two Point Hospital. But Galacticare is so similar that it has us squinting our eyes at it very suspiciously.
The benefit of the similarities at least meant we were able to hit the ground running, instantly knowing what to do. Though because of that, Galacticare’s extensive tutorials were a little tiresome. The opening level had us placing a receptionist’s desk followed by a diagnosis room (i.e. a GP’s office). It even requires the same amount of space as such a room does in Theme Hospital.
Decking out your hospital’s corridors is a familiar experience, too. You’ll need benches, bins and vending machines. Oh, but toilets don’t require a whole bathroom to be built: this is space after all – a simple toilet capsule will do the trick. It all looks great, though: we’re digging the space vibe, and it’s been brought to life with a lovely level of detail.
Thankfully, there are some differences – namely in the types of ailments you’ll be treating. Being in space, you’re not just dealing with human patients. Some are human, but others are various alien species, opening the floodgates for weird and wonderful illnesses that you’ll need to learn about and effectively treat. And, just like its inspirations, Galacticare aims to be humorous and satirical in all that it does.
Broken bones are dealt with in the “boning chamber”, for example, which may or may not make you titter like a schoolchild. And all characters are well-voiced, including an appearance from Ben Kearns doing his best Matt Berry impression, which had us raising an eyebrow. It all adds to the charm, admittedly, and coming from a British developer, we’re not surprised it’s filled with Bullfrog-style humour. The only problem is, it all feels a bit… copycat.
If you’re a fan of Theme Hospital and Two Point Hospital, then no doubt you’ll be glad to know of something new on the horizon that scratches the very same itch. And, we admit, it’s still a joy to be healing patients in a tongue-in-cheek environment. But we just wish that Brightrock Games had tried to stand out a little bit more. The space setting is nice, but when the gameplay is so, so similar, it’s hard to praise any sort of originality here.
Still, when Galacticare releases this year on PC and consoles, we’ll be intrigued to try more to see if it does more to differentiate itself. For now, it’s one for your radar if you’re simply happy to indulge in more Theme Hospital action.
You can try Galacticare yourself with a free demo landing on 19th June as part of Steam Next Fest