For fans of the tycoon or management genre of games, the success of Two Point Studios has been comforting to see. Here is a studio that is bringing back a classic gaming experience updated with modern comforts, and ensuring that fans have something new to obsess about. After four years of support on Two Point Hospital, the focus now shifts towards education with Two Point Campus, and despite some issues, this is pretty much an A in grading, once you factor in the bell curve.
Instead of running through patients just to see your income go up, the new challenge lies in helping your beloved students get good grades while taking care of their other needs, including social relationships, while also collecting some hefty tuition fees. The institution and environment might have changed, but the management premise remains the same.
Different levels demand varying requirements, ranging from the standard profit margins to more interesting ones like getting enough kids to beach parties, all while juggling the intricacies of running a school that is home to students for the next two or three years. Hence, it’s not only their grades that are important, but also their need for food, drinks, relationships, clubs, and more.
It can certainly be overwhelming, at least when you first encounter such mechanics, but on some level, that is to be expected. After all, Two Point Campus takes a more humanising approach to the wacky characters on screen, and the extended period of time spent with the students requires a bit more investment in their wellbeing.
Education is taken care of by a variety of general lecture theatres and a handful of more specific course-related rooms, lending a more humour-laden lens on topics such as Knight School, Archaeology, or even Spy School. Making sure there are accessible bathrooms and showers is always good to keep up the general level of hygiene, and social spaces for both staff and students allow for rest, romantic or social gatherings, and even rocking concerts.
Students are also able to join one of the five clubs available in the game, giving them one more avenue to expend their youthful energy, while also picking up useful skills like speedwalking or literally being one with nature and keeping the campus clean. Two Point Campus definitely delivers on an all-inclusive campus experience.
With this general setup, most of the 12 levels found at launch will largely follow the same initial stages as you begin to set things up. Build a dorm here, get lecture theatres ready, and hire the right staff to kick things off. From there, each school year brings an opportunity to change things up either by incorporating a new course or by increasing the level of the current one. Of course, the more progress you make, the more facilities will be required to house the larger population.
This generally creates several problems that will become common issues for players as even with the new and welcomed ability to finally build outdoors and add your own campus buildings to levels, space is often only available at a premium. Squeezing everyone into tiny classrooms doesn’t do well for their well-being, and you might not even have the extra cash to cater to the increased need for more rooms and staff if you wish to meet the ultimate objectives.
There will likely be some debate about whether this constitutes a fair challenge or it’s a balancing issue, but experience dictates that with patience and proper planning, enhanced by foresight from failed attempts, success is not impossible – you just have to learn to make concessions and tough decisions in Two Point Campus.
If it means forgoing your aesthetically pleasing university campus for a boring, functional one, then so be it. Expel students that are more trouble than they are worth and keep them from clogging up your Pastoral Care offices. Fire all those pesky employees who have the annoying trait of Bin Blindness to stop them from dirtying up the school. Management doesn’t always have it easy.
Before long, you are going to have a bustling campus full of well-trained staff, research projects earning you new items and money, and students that are happily learning and getting those precious A-grades to help you roll in the dough. At least, that’s the aim for every level as you try to hunt down all three level stars to show off your efficiency.
It also helps that each school year is chocked full of wonderful and diverse animations, be it for your employees or the colourful collection of student archetypes that also possess a diverse set of traits. No matter what they are up to, Two Point Studios has kept to their promises of improved and increased animations that just liven things up. The cheerful music does its part to keep things breezy, as does the occasional radio ad read or short stories.
The biggest complaint about Two Point Campus is that it certainly does the management side of the experience well, but perhaps too well that it may leave the player wanting more to do. It makes sense that a perfectly designed campus runs smoothly, but beyond placing items in a room, one might yearn for something more engaging to differentiate one course from another.
There are some inklings of that in specific levels, like catching rival moles at your Spy School, or deciding what ancient artefacts to keep or sell, but the rest of the courses are less involved. Imagine being able to guide your students in building robots with specific functions, and then utilising them around the campus, and that is definitely something the studio is capable of doing.
The current review build also contains some minor pathing and item placement issues, although a future patch will easily remedy any of such problems.
Nevertheless, even with some gripes, Two Point Campus is easily an improvement over Two Point Hospital. There is increased engagement with new systems like relationships and clubs with old ones that power the management aspect of things, animations are vastly improved, and there is a good variety of courses to run and items to ponder over. Just like any student enjoying a summer break, Two Point Campus is a ride that we hope will never end, but only get better.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Having learned from their debut project, Two Point Studios has delivered with Two Point Campus in most areas, but with room for improvement that we are sure they will embrace wholeheartedly with prolonged support.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 7/10
Presentation - 8.5/10
Value - 8/10