House M.D. - Critical Cases is a game on the social media site Facebook. It was introduced in May 2012 and ceased being playable in November 2014.
The game does not require medical knowledge. Players play the role of a medical intern assigned to House's team. Game play largely consists of moving from place to place to play mini-games, such as searching a room for clues, picking out a certain type of cell, or memory matching. When a task is completed, a clue to solving the medical mystery is either detected or a diagnosis is excluded.
Players are promoted to the next highest level when they accumulate "experience points".
Like many other social media games, although basic play is free, a player can spend real money to speed up the play of the game.
Players try to collect various types of resources throughout the game to help them advance past stages. Once they complete enough stages, they move up a level and obtain additional benefits. The resources are generally grouped into six medical specialities - glandular (green), digestive (purple), heart (red), chemical (yellow), body (blue) and head (white).
The basic resource is Budget, represented by dollars. Budget is earned by working the two types of lab equipment - the Blood Analyzer and the Imager, or by finding clues in environmental scans. Curing patients also brings in small amounts of Budget. The lab equipment used on both the case's main patient and on Clinic Patients. Environmental scans may also be performed in a bonus area Budget is used to buy Meds and is also used to advance through some stages of each diagnosis.
Meds are used to treat Clinic Patients. Treating Clinic Patients with Meds garners Supplies, which are also coded to the medical specialties - IV bag (green), tongue depressor (purple), oxygen mask (red), syringe (yellow), gauze (blue) and thermometer (white). Budget cannot be used to directly purchase Supplies. Both Meds and Supplies may be needed to advance through some stages.
Clinic Patients can also be converted to Ward Patients. Ward Patients are cured with Supplies plus the intervention of a Specialist. The player starts with one game specialist, Chris Taub, and then obtains other team members as they rise through levels. They can also invite friends who also can act as specialists. When a Ward Patient is cured, the player gets a Ward Favor. Ward Favors may be needed to advance through some stages.
Most actions in the game require Energy. Energy is gained through time, when a player moves up a level, or by the use of energy boosts that can be purchased with House Credits or by collecting tokens.
Certain actions, such as completing a case for the first time, earn House Credits. House Credits can be used to speed up game play and can usually be substituted for any other resource if the player is short.
Several bonus tokens are scattered throughout the game, and are awarded randomly. When certain sets of tokens are collected, they may be traded in for resources such as Meds and Energy Boosts. The most desirable bonus is the Panacea, which cures all patients waiting for Meds in the pharmacy area as well as all the patients in the Ward.
As the stages progress, they generally get more difficult. The first stages can be completed with a few dollars of the budget, but the end stages require over $1000 in Budget, dozens of Meds, dozens of Supplies and increasingly large numbers of Ward Favors.
The player is also awarded Experience Points (XP) for completing tasks. Moving up a stage in a diagnosis gains the largest amounts, and treating Clinic Patients gets smaller numbers. When a certain number of points are gained, the player moves up a level. Higher levels allow the player to accumulate higher levels of Energy (e.g. the energy level has a higher high setting), assigne more Clinic Patient seats, assign more Ward beds, and give the player more Specialists to gain Ward Favors. Certain levels also improve the title of the player, starting at "Intern" and ending at "Master". In addition, when a player moves up a level, their Energy bar is re-set to the highest available level.
If a player plays daily, they get a better bonus every day, culminating in one House Credit for five consecutive days playing the game. In addition, once every 24 hours, the player gets a free spin of the bonus wheel, which assigns prizes as low as "Coffee" (2 energy points) and as high as 100 House Credits. A spin can also be purchased for 2 credits, the value of the lowest prize on the wheel. However, despite the appearance that the wheel's prizes are equally likely, in fact "Coffee" is a very common prize (about once a week) and 100 House Credits might come up once every few months.
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