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Galacticare screenshot

Galacticare review – Theme Hospital in space

There really is no other way to describe Galacticare than “Theme Hospital in space”. Although unrelated to Theme Hospital (or its spiritual successor, Two Point Hospital) in any way, it’s clear that Brighton-based developer Brightrock Games has kept its inspirations at the forefront every step of the way. But it’s no bad thing: if you’ve enjoyed a humorous hospital management game in the past, there’s a very solid chance you’ll enjoy Galacticare, too.

It’s very easy to hit the ground running in Galacticare, particularly if you’ve already played Theme Hospital or Two Point Hospital. Setting up your hospital feels very familiar: build diagnosis and treatment rooms, place a reception desk, and make sure you have enough seating and decorations to keep your patients happy.

The illnesses your patients present with, too, aim to be humorous — you’ll find Star Warts (self-explanatory), an unfortunate bodily odour issue known as Aroma Borealis and Space Invasion, a by-all-accounts painful condition that leaves a patient’s skin twinkling like the night sky.

Progressing through Galacticare means completing a series of levels, all set in different hospitals. Each time, you’ll have a series of particular tasks to complete, which typically revolve around dealing with an influx of patients suffering from a particular illness. But setting Galacticare apart is its sci-fi theme, which it really leans into at times. You’ll not need janitors here, for example: instead your hospital will be maintained by an army of medibots. You can even have some of your treatment rooms managed by holographic doctors, saving you on staffing costs.

Galacticare screenshot
Image: Brightrock Games

Your patients and staff aren’t all human, either. As you progress through the game you’ll be introduced to different species, from cute monkey-like Tenkis to the Ohdes, who resemble E.T. You’ll occasionally even have to treat a giant space beast who’ll park outside of your hospital, needing to be examined by sending a flying shuttle out to it. Each species has unique traits, and as you treat more of a specific species you’ll increase your reputation, earning rewards as you go.

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Like its inspirations, your goal in Galacticare is, ultimately, to treat as many patients as you can in order to earn as much money as possible. You’ll want to ensure you have the best hospital facilities, your staff are kept trained, and your corridors are tidy and well-decorated. Your patients are vocal and they’ll let you know if anything is not up to scratch, so you’ll want to keep an eye on their thoughts and feelings if you want to succeed.

Galacticare screenshot
Image: Brightrock Games

Perhaps what stands out here is just how well presented everything in Galacticare is. OK, one character’s Matt Berry impersonation may have rolled our eyes, but every character is well voiced and brought to life with a great amount of personality. It makes each challenge you undertake while playing that much more impactful: having a voice character deliver it to you rather than just a text box really does make a world of difference.

It’s a great-looking game, too, absolutely nailing its sci-fi design. It’s colourful, bright and bold, and no part of Galacticare feels dull and clinical. Instead, you can decorate your walls with huge neon letters, stand weird, gloopy monuments in your hallways and paste space-rock concert posters up in your treatment rooms.

We’ve had a great time playing Galacticare. Yes, one could consider it somewhat derivative of Theme Hospital, but it’s injected with enough original ideas of its own that it feels like a unique experience. It’s clearly aimed at the same fanbase, and as part of that fanbase, we can say Galacticare is a success. We’d have liked to have seen a few more funny illness names — there are over 20 in the game, but only two or three made us chuckle — but helping patients, shaping your hospital and training up staff remains thoroughly entertaining and rewarding.

This review of Galacticare is based on the PC version of the game, with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

Galacticare review - GameSpew's score

Galacticare
8 10 0 1
Clearly inspired by Theme Hospital and Two Point Hospital, Galacticare takes humorous hospital management into deep space. Building the perfect hospital and helping patients from a range of species is every bit as enjoyable as its inspirations, and with high production values, there's a lot to like. Some of its humour might not quite land, but we think if you're a Theme Hospital fan, Galacticare is a no-brainer.
Clearly inspired by Theme Hospital and Two Point Hospital, Galacticare takes humorous hospital management into deep space. Building the perfect hospital and helping patients from a range of species is every bit as enjoyable as its inspirations, and with high production values, there's a lot to like. Some of its humour might not quite land, but we think if you're a Theme Hospital fan, Galacticare is a no-brainer.
8/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Excellent voice acting and presentation
  • Hospital management is fun (and very familiar)
  • Engaging level progression

We don't like...

  • Disappointing condition names (Star Warts is great, but Cranial Fracture?)
  • Perhaps a little too similar to its inspirations?

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