Galacticare is a freaky, funny and unique hospital sim | Hands-on preview

by on June 16, 2023

I don’t tend to say this lightly, but in just the short period of time the Galacticare preview lasted, it really impressed me. It’s not often you get to diagnose and treat a skin infection in a gigantic space whale roughly the size of a London bus named Baz – but in Galacticare, it’s fairly commonplace.

You play as the new Director of the titular Galacticare, a hospital that orbits a far future Earth and treats the illnesses and injuries in patients both human and, well, not. You’re aided by the CEO, Kora Orion, and HEAL, a sarcastic AI with a stiff British accent and a mean streak. Your job is to outfit and staff the hospital, treat patients, decorate and facilitate the various treatment rooms and save as many lives as you can. Which, sadly, won’t be all of them.


This is because far-future medicine is bat-shit crazy. From a skin treatment machine that dissolves a patient’s flesh then reapplies it sans-scars, to a machine that forcefully removes bones and replaces them with fresh ones, the few treatment machines available here were funny and, frankly, mildly terrifying.

The preview began with an empty room that requires a reception desk, some decoration, and a few treatment rooms. You’ll then hire staff, open the hospital, and set about the running of it. Your responsibilities include adding décor and entertainment, vending machines, toilets, seating areas, a staff lounge. Your doctors and patients can be human or “Odhe”, which are little grey men strongly suggested to be the species who visited Roswell, among other things. There are likely many other species, treatments and options in the full game, but the preview is limited to just a few.


Medi-bots whizz around the place and can be assigned to maintenance or cleaning, while you’ll need to constantly monitor the moods of both patients and staff to keep the place operating on an even keel. Placement of items and upgrading rooms or staff couldn’t be much simpler than it is, which is good, because there will be a hell of a lot to juggle in the full game.

The primary hospital setting acts like a sandbox hub, but Kora mentions heading to oversee a music festival somewhere in the next mission which strongly hints at more dynamic fieldwork in the full game. If that’s the case, sign me up right now.

A lot of Galacticare is rooted in humour – even when a machine malfunctions and kills a patient there’s something oddly humorous about it. When HEAL told me I need to pay my staff “due to capitalism”, I sniggered. Even the maladies affecting your patients like Star Warts and Jellification are quite funny in context. Also, strange aliens will occasionally infest your hospital, such as Vomitongues, which literally make people puke everywhere on contact, or Solarks, which deposit vast amounts of cash into your bank account when you catch them.


Now and then your doctors will level up, allowing you to increase their skills. This is important to keeping them happy, as pissed off staff will abandon your hospital and you’ll need to hire rookies to replace them. You can also unlock room upgrades, and some of your patients – like the aforementioned Baz – will give you unique gifts as thanks. Baz even comes back later to sell you some upgrades, items, and a magic space-gel that stabilises critical patients.

While the preview is limited, it hints at a level of creativity and fun in the main game that I absolutely cannot wait to experience. Like Two-Point Hospital, Galacticare splits its time perfectly between genuinely challenging management and tongue-in-cheek humour, but with a distinctly Red Dwarf-ish flavour that I can’t get enough of.

Galacticare is due to launch later this year, and I’m already looking for excuses to go and see the doctor.