Have you ever had the urge to see what it would be like to be an overworked nurse in an absurdly busy hospital which couldn't function for even a day without you? No, because you're probably sane. Nevertheless, that's just the experience Oxygen Games has brought to the Wii in the form of Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward.
The basic concept is simple enough: you play the role of a nurse whose job it is to usher patients around the hospital, collect and deliver prescriptions, clean up, and so on. All of this is achieved by use of the Wii remote. Pointing and clicking at patients allows them to be dragged around the hospital and dropped in the correct areas. The simplest patients, for example, only need to be dragged twice: firstly to the 'Triage Dept.' for diagnosis, and a secondly to the required location where they can be healed (an operating table, a simple bed, or any number of wacky machines). Other patients may require multiple treatments, however.
While the patient is waiting to be treated, it's up to you to run across to the pharmacy and pick up a relevant prescription and deliver it to the patient. Some patients will require upwards of two or three prescriptions, but you can't just focus on these alone - you need to multitask! In addition to all of the aforementioned, you'll also need to be cleaning beds (and dropping off the dirty laundry) as well as fixing any machines that have broken down. In order to do all of this efficiently, you'll need to queue up actions in a logical order - by clicking multiple objects, your avatar will perform the necessary tasks in the order they are tapped as soon as possible.
While the game is still easing you in, none of these tasks pose much of a problem and you'll likely find yourself easily reaching your healed patient quota for the day. It's all quite enjoyable, too. There's a certain satisfaction to be had from queuing up jobs and watching someone else perform them rigorously while you sit back in your chair. As you move through the game, however, things start to get complicated. Patients start arriving far more quickly and often fill the waiting room (which can hold four or so patients), and you're even required to perform your duties across multiple floors via use of an elevator (used by both your patients and yourself).
There are options to ease the pain, though. At the end of each successful day you can customise which treatments your hospital offers (you can even choose where to place these for easier access, but options are limited) as well as offer pay increases for staff to improve their efficiency (faster diagnoses and treatments, less machine breakdowns, etc.). This all costs money, of course, but assuming you treated the required number of patients the day before, you should have plenty. The coffee upgrade, which improves the speed at which your nurse rushes around, is particularly essential. But, even with upgrades maxed out, you're still in for trouble.
Unfortunately, the game's response to the Wii remote isn't perfect. As things become more and more hectic, failing to drag a patient to his or her required destination the first (or second) time proves to be not only frustrating, but devastating during the harder stages of the game where every second counts. For a game which is built on twitch-reflex gameplay, which can be frustrating at the best of times, this becomes a pretty unforgivable problem. It's a shame, too. Just as the game ropes you in and promises to come into its own, it does quite the opposite and leaves you with a frustratingly repetitive mess of little appeal.
The core mechanics are initially satisfying, but eventually become repetitive and frustrating.
The isometric angle works well enough, and the visual style isn't entirely without charm, but it's very basic.
The music is mostly inane and repetitive, but some of the voice samples are quite amusing, if overused.
A few solid hours of entertainment in the story mode, but little replay value unless you're a masochist.
Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward is an unfortunate game. It begins well enough by luring you in with a simple yet satisfying mechanic, but eventually breaks down into an overly frustrating and repetitive slog as complexity and difficulty increases but the rewards do not. You might get a couple of hours of enjoyment out of this, but it's probably not worth the effort for most.