Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Romance! Drama! Surgery! Ambulance crashes! Heart’s Medicine – Time to Heal is a time management game by way of medical soap operas, like Gray’s Anatomy or Casualty, and I kind of love it.
If you’ve ever played Diner Dash or one of its many imitators, you’ll recognise the drill here. You are Allison Heart, a junior doctor who starts a new job hoping to become a surgeon, but ends up working the wards, then the pharmacy and various other departments before achieving her goal. I’m pretty sure that’s precisely how medical careers work and I’d like to think that hospitals are the hotbeds of betrayal, slapstick, tragedy and romance that the game depicts.
Sure, you’re going to spend a lot of time clicking on various pieces of medical equipment and playing tiny mini-games to tap bubbles out of syringes and sort pills, but in between all of that there are all sorts of steamy and sorrowful shenanigans to enjoy. It’s actually not as steamy as I thought it might be and the love story actually takes a backseat for a while because there are all kinds of hospital administration issues to deal with. That might sound dull but there’s nothing dull about missing assignments of medicine, especially when patients are already under anaesthetic and LIVES ARE ON THE LINE, DAMN IT.
If you’ve ever had even the slightest of soft spots for time management games, I’d recommend Heart’s Medicine. It’s silly when it needs to be, successfully sincere when it wants to be, and as polished as a shiny new stethoscope. There’s a sequel too and it’s called Hospital Heat. That suggests the steaminess will be off the charts, but knowing what I do about the first game’s wicked sense of humour, it also suggests the hospital will set on fire at some point.