Ah, university. A place to study. A place to find yourself. A place to go to gastronomy class to make a giant-sized burger, pop to a lecturer for private tuition, snooze in the library, take another quick nap in the corridor, bust a move at the union party, and maybe even blow a love trumpet.
Or maybe that’s just from my experience of Two Point Campus. This is the follow-up to Two Point Hospital, from Two Point Games. It allows for the studying, the burger, the private tuition and even the love trumpet. You're tasked with building and managing a dream university, which means that you deal with students in all their lurid variety. It’s a sim game that understands university isn’t just about studying, it’s for learning about life.
As such, I found the game focused as much on extra-curricular activities and making friends as on going to class. There’s a much bigger emphasis on relationships compared with Two Point Hospital. People are no longer simple fodder for a parade of weird illnesses; students have personalities, likes, dislikes. It makes sense. This isn’t a quick hospital stay, but three academic years where I watch my students grow and flourish, receiving acknowledgment of my (and their) accomplishments in end-of-year awards.
By adding friendship items like benches and games, I watched students bond together in a flurry of chatter, boosting their happiness. It’s all very heartwarming. Best friends might even blow that aforementioned love trumpet (really, it’s a thing) or (cover your eyes) jump together on a love bed. The relationships are inclusive too - anyone can bond with anyone.
I built structures for students to get involved in outside of class, with the game explaining I needed to fulfil the three Rs: relax, rest and relieve. I quickly built a student union and scheduled parties and gigs, keen to give these students a taste of my own experience. The final game will have various amusing student clubs too - in this preview a napping club was available so students could get some shut eye in the corridors to regain some energy - something I definitely could’ve done with after those parties.
Lessons, though, remain the core of campus life. Trailers have shown a wide variety of classes to dabble in, from music lessons to knight school and magic classes. As much as I was keen to build my own magical music school, this preview was limited to three classes: Scientography, Visual Normality, and Gastronomy. The animation team have had plenty of fun here, conjuring everything from exploding chemicals, to whirring VR terminals and giant steaming cauldrons of delicious food. Both the campus and its inhabitants have far more visual detail and flare than before.
There’s much more to it all than simply plonking down a themed classroom and watching lessons unfold, too. I built multi-class lecture halls to teach in, outside of the practical sessions, plus a library and private tuition rooms for extra study. And by earning course points I upgraded classes to raise the chance of students earning top grades. That meant a frantic need for extra classrooms and space for study equipment. (Top tip: ensure your library is sizeable as you’ll need space for new reading materials.)
I was keen to try out different lessons, but ultimately it’s up to you if you want your university to specialise. Perhaps you want to hone in on Scientography alone, or perhaps you want to dabble in multiple subjects. There are bonuses, too, for certain classes: Gastronomy can improve the quality of food on campus, while music students can entertain at gigs in the union.
There are so many layers of interlocking systems in fact. I had to fill my campus with both study rooms and entertainment, on top of dorms and bathrooms. I needed to manage book time with fun time. I ensured students were happy and achieved top grades, and I also organised teacher training. And I had to do all that while maintaining hygiene levels and attractiveness.
Yet I never felt overwhelmed. The developers have put plenty of time into onboarding players, with simple missions designed to slowly engage with the many systems - although some options could do with a little more signposting. A summer break between each school year gives welcome space to make upgrades and tweaks before initiating the next term. And with a sandbox mode on the way, I’ll finally be able to put everything learned into practice in a sort of final exam of my own creation.
On top of all that are the many new customisation options with which to fill time while students are busy working. I soon found myself meandering around campus adding decorative posters and ignoring cries for more study materials instead. There are countless decorations to unlock, from posters to furniture, that not only fit in with the aesthetic of the school but with the students too. As the students slot into various stereotypes, it’s possible to build a school to match their taste.
With so much to do, I could easily lose myself in Two Point Campus for hours on end - good job I’m no longer a student with deadlines. With all its interlocking management systems there’s a whole lot to consider, but I found it thoroughly entertaining and its interface intuitive with some familiarity with Two Point Hospital. It’s hilarious too, accompanied by an 80s-style soundtrack and campus radio filled with pop culture references.
And with the sneak peek at other lessons that trailers have given, there’s so much more silliness to come from Two Point Campus. Trust me, that magical music school is happening. As strategic as it is eccentric, Two Point Studios is graduating with flying colours.
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