Heart's Medicine: Season One
From the developers of Delicious Emily's Holiday Season comes another gem of a time management game every casual gamer needs to experience. Heart's Medicine: Season One takes place in a hospital where the newly-arrived Allison Heart is just beginning her residency. Help sick patients by tending to their needs, shuffling them through the hospital as efficiently as you can, never forgetting to take good care of each person. The storyline is fantastic, the presentation is superb, and both the variety and the game's pacing are perfect. Heart's Medicine is simply one of the most well-balanced and entertaining time management games you can find!
Most casual games start off by showing you the developer's logo, then dropping you into a title screen. Just like a good TV medical drama, Heart's Medicine begins in media res, pushing you into the game without a warning. Your first task is to follow a doctor's instructions to save a man's life. Click when the doc says click, find the items he needs, and you'll do just fine. This intro serves as the backstory, showing you how Allison was inspired to become a doctor.
Six years later, the real game begins. Initially, you've got four main stations to take care of, each operated by a simple click of the mouse. Patients come in and take a seat at the top of the screen. Most will need to change into super-comfortable hospital gowns first, so click them, then click the screens to let them change. Afterwards, seat them at the diagnostic chair or bed, depending on their preference, and tend to their complaints. Some patients will need a simple bandage or other treatment. Most, however, will need more care in the form of a short mini-game. The first you'll encounter has you moving a magnifying glass over part of their body looking for "sore spots". What's a sore spot, you ask? A piece of glass, a fish hook, or a bee stuck in their skin. You know, the usual.
After a patient is taken care of, send him or her to the computer to check out. Then it's back to tending the other patients, as the clinic never seems to slow down. Heart's Medicine takes place in several different departments, switching every five shifts, bringing an enormous variety to the game's two dozen levels, and letting you experience the pediatric ward, the lab, and the prenatal ward. Each features a different setup and different gameplay, most notably the new set of mini-games as you take care of each patient.
Analysis: Heart's Medicine: Season One is a bit like a playable medical drama. The characters are unique and interesting, making you want to learn more about them as opposed to clicking through dialogue as fast as you can. And that's just the warm caramel filling you find when you bite into the rich and varied gameplay that includes some puzzle solving and hidden object elements.
Just like its cousin Delicious Emily's Holiday Season, the art style in Heart's Medicine is amazing to watch in action. Characters are smoothly animated and drawn with soft, almost fuzzy lines that give them an inviting but somehow semi-realistic appearance. Everything in the game looks great, even the cuts and wounds you'll spy under your magnifying glass.
Best of all, Heart's Medicine takes care of breaking monotany before it begins (as if it would ever set in with a game this unique) with some very cool trophies and bonus objects you'll find in certain levels. And let's not forget our guinea pig friend that runs around and can be captured. So, if you think all you're going to be doing is picking bees out of patients' legs, think again.
Plenty to do, plenty to experience, and an expertly-crafted gameplay/presentation package you'll fall in love with, Heart's Medicine: Season One is an excellent start to what will be a must-play time management series.