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Game Info:

Heart's Medicine - Time To Heal
Developed by: Blue Giraffe
Published by: GameHouse
Released: September 20, 2016
Available on: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows
Genre: Simulation, time management
Number of players: 1
Price: $12.99 (Steam); free with in-app purchases (Android, iOS)

Allison Heart has arrived at Little Creek Hospital, eagerly anticipating her internship with the resident surgeon. Unfortunately, the surgeon has already chosen an intern, and doesn't want to train two at the same time. Allison must make her way through several other departments before she can hope to intern for the surgeon. Along the way, she will make friends, fall in love, and go through a situation that could shake everyone at the hospital.

Heart's Medicine – Time To Heal is not the first game from Blue Giraffe or GameHouse. The two also are known for the popular series Delicious, a restaurant simulator. Heart's Medicine plays out in a similar fashion. The player needs to direct patients to different stations, then command Allison to attend to their needs. Some of these can be accomplished by having the proper tools on Allison's tray, but some require the completion of a minigame. The longer Allison takes, the more hearts a patient will lose, and the more unsatisfied they will be with the service they receive. Of course, the happier the patients are when they check out, the more points the player receives.

Heart's Medicine - Time To Heal
Highlights:

Strong Points: Great story; decent music; active gameplay
Weak Points: Some minigames don't work as well on the computer
Moral Warnings: Some blood; lots of medical-related imagery that could be seen as disturbing; alcohol use; censored swearing

What really drives the game is the storyline. It starts with a dramatic tutorial of sorts, with Allison and another med student, Jenny, trying to save the life of another doctor while racing along in an ambulance within a storm. The bulk of the game takes place as a flashback before the ambulance scene. The game is divided into six sections, each dedicated to a different section of the hospital, and further divided into ten levels. Each section also contains a different chapter of the ongoing story, which plays out like an episode of a medical drama. The story is engaging, with humor and seriousness blending well.

The graphics are cartoonish, but the animation is unusual. During the gameplay portion, the animations are smooth. However, during the cutscenes and story elements, the characters appear as a series of still images that change as the dialog progresses. Although it adds to the style of the game, the initial transition may be a bit jarring. Dialogue is presented in the form of speech bubbles, and there is no voice acting in the game. The music is quite pleasant, but at times it does seem to delve into “hospital soap opera” territory – which could fit the setting of the story, at least. Controls are handled with the mouse or a touchpad. Some of the minigames are easier with a touchscreen, which is pointed out in one of the tips. When playing on a computer, you may have some frustration with a few of the minigames when using the mouse.

Heart's Medicine - Time To Heal
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The storyline can be completed in approximately 10 hours. However, you can replay levels in order to get more stars in each level, complete different challenges, and collect gems in order to unlock more decorations for the hospital wing. Achievements also are present, which can form a portrait of the hospital staff. These achievements also will appear in Steam if played on that platform. The full game can be purchased on Steam for $12.99. On portable devices, the first five levels of the game are free, but the rest of the game has to be purchased in order to continue. According to Apple's store, the cost for the full game is $9.99, or different levels can be purchased for less than that. I could not find a similar pricing breakdown on Google Play or for the Amazon Kindle, but I suspect the fees will be similar for Android users.

Since the game does take place in a hospital, you can expect some gruesome imagery, such as pulling shards of glass out of people, or setting bones. Surprisingly, though, there is very little blood. One of the characters does swear, but the offensive language is replaced with non-letter text (e.g. %&#@). One character is seen drinking in the game, but it doesn't end well. The game is pretty clean on the moral front.

If you have an interest in time-management games and “restaurant simulators,” you may find Heart's Medicine a fun variation. Those who are interested in a good story may enjoy the game as well. Although it does work better on tablets, patient people can enjoy the the game on the computer. The company provides a free demo which covers the first five levels of the game. Heart's Medicine – Time to Heal delivers a lot of heart.

About the Author

J. Todd Cumming

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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