Did you always want to go to university, but never had the brains what would let you in? Well now you can simulate the experience of building your own learning institution in Two Point Campus, a Tycoon-style university building sim, from the makers of the frustratingly fun Two Point Hospital.
Instead of healing the sick, this time you’ll be constructing facilities to nurture the minds of the future generations of scientists, chefs and athletes of obscure sports.
What starts out as a seemingly simple idea – build and grow a university – quickly snowballs into a tail-chasing exercise, where you balance the needs of your students and staff against the functionality of your campus. You’ll choose the courses that you wish to run, and then develop the buildings to match. You’ll also need to develop support facilities to assist students in their learning, including dormitories, toilets and the absolutely essential coffee stands. Access to all of these help your students gain happiness, which helps improve their ability to learn and graduate.
While you have absolutely no bearing on who signs up for your educational programs, you will be managing a small army of teachers and assistants to provide the students with the support that they need. Each has their own specialities, which allow them to be more effective in certain areas. Teachers support classes in their specialist subjects, while assistants can provide support for everything from running a noodle stand to packing books on library shelves. It’s here that you’ll realise why the university experience is so expensive, because even basic labour costs just slightly less than a second-hand textbook.
There’s also a lot more weeding than you likely would’ve thought necessary for the janitorial staff on your payroll. In fact, you’ll probably end up with a 1:1 ratio of students to janitors by the end of your development, as they struggle to keep up with the sheer size of the educational elephant. The janitors fix everything, pick up garbage that gets thrown around at an alarming rate and ensure that the general appearance of your facility keeps the happiness levels of your staff and students at a high. A messy campus means unsatisfied students, poor grades, less money, and that you’ll be out on the street teaching three-card monte to street hustlers.
“Throughout, Two Point Campus is an addictive experience with quirky moments that provide a Sims level of chuckles…”
Keeping beat throughout the Two Point Campus experience is the Two Point Radio, which is a mix of elevator music and a few radio DJs who are basically PG versions of Lazlo from the GTA franchise, but with 50 per cent of the innuendo. Like the rest of the Two Point Campus vibe, the music is light and cheesy. Perfect for the mood of the game, but it lacks the style of other tycoon-games like the excellently fun Evil Genius 2.
The placement of items when using the controller is a little less snappy than some people will like. So, for anyone with specific tendencies towards neatness, order or everything being placed exactly aligned with everything else in the room, you’re going to have a bad time. The menu system is also a bit clunky, but slightly more intuitive than other tycoon games, especially considering the number of things going on.
Both the students and the faculty can be incredibly needy, and they’ll let you know about it on an increasingly frequent and repetitive basis through the suggestion box. Apparently, some students need specific posters put up in learning areas to assist them with the completion of their studies. Why they can’t do this themselves, we may never know. It’s a level of micromanagement in the game that distracts more than pleases.
While Two Point Campus seems to be a light and easily accessible business sim, at its core is a devilishly complex web of interacting systems that can easily grow out of hand at an alarming rate. It behaves about as rationally as a freshman on O week. Sometimes you will be completing assigned tasks, without really having an end goal in mind. Other times you’ll have no clear reason why all of your students take all of their classes in one of the learning rooms that you’ve built to handle the overflow. It’s up to you to address one or more of your constant issues, before they set off a catastrophic meltdown of your house of cards.
Throughout, Two Point Campus is an addictive experience with quirky moments that provide a Sims level of chuckles, with a Tycoon level satisfaction of empire building. In the end, your university may rival Harvard or may warrant a total tear down, but one thing is for certain, someone will learn something along the way.
Two Point Campus is available now on PS5, Xbox, Switch and PS4.