(XO/PS4/Sw/PC) ★★★★★ Age: 7+
The world and his wife know the health system is a basket case, and that's even before Covid-19 hit. Many of us might figure we could run it better, given the chance. Well, here's your opportunity, though it's doubtful the HSE has ever had to deal with such absurd conditions as Inflated Ego and Heart Throb.
This whimsical medical management sim bears a strong similarity to 1997 smash hit Theme Hospital such that it would have been better called Hospital 2.0 than Two Point Hospital. You could say it's a spiritual successor, which is a polite way of noting it lifts the original's ideas wholesale while adding a modern polish.
But that would be unkind to the developers, many of whom worked at Theme Hospital creator Bullfrog back in the day. TPH certainly retains the goofy humour and basic structure - build treatment rooms, hire staff, diagnose patients with their wacky fictional illnesses, juggle budgets and, um, discreetly banish the ghosts of the dead you fail to save.
But wrapped in a delightful Aardman-esque art style and sweetly tuned for console controls (as opposed to the original's mouse and keyboard), TPH has been adeptly updated for modern audiences. After a hard day at the office, a few hours in this hospital is the cure for what ails you.
(Switch/PC) ★★★★ Age: 15+
Owing a sizeable debt to the Ace Attorney series, detective novella Murder by Numbers melds faux-dramatic interrogation scenes with interludes of picture-puzzle solving.
This bizarre mash-up features an actress in a TV detective show forced to turn real-life sleuth when her producer is murdered.
Coming from the people who brought us the charmingly daft Hatoful Boyfriend - a pigeon-dating sim, no less - MBN's script is full of whip-smart and groanworthy one-liners.
The vibe is partly Scooby Doo with a liberal dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the sparky interplay between the ensemble case.
And then there's the puzzles - pictograms solved Sudoku-like via a number-based grid - that purport to offer clues. In truth, there's not much kin between the two. But MBN is too witty and too much fun to let the disconnect bother you.