We've been back to Two Point County to build the universities of our dreams in Two Points Studios' latest simulation title.
A few months back, before it received its delay, I had the chance to check out a few hours of Two Point Studios' latest simulation game Two Point Campus. During that preview opportunity, it became pretty clear to me that this was shaping up to be a rather exciting game, as streamlined simulation systems with plenty of depth opened up the way for near untapped creativity in the hands of the player. But that was a take from just a couple of hours of playtime. Now, I've had unfettered access to the game, and have spent a bunch of hours building wacky and weird campuses all over Two Point County, and spoiler alert, it's still clear that this is set to be a fantastic title.
Anyone who has played Two Point Hospital before will have a pretty good idea of what this game is offering up. Sure the concept sees hospitals side-lined for universities, but the concept remains the same. In the campaign portion, you have to travel all around Two Point County to build campuses tailored to specific things. Whether that means heading to Noblestead to create a school for doting knights, or instead to Blundergrad to train the next generation of spies and espionage experts. The scope of the game is broad, but it's handled in such a way that you do have freedom to sprinkle in a dash of personal touches here and there.
For example, the general concept of the Mitton University mission revolves around robotics, as the historic site is aiming to capitalise on the technology boom to reinvent itself - as have many real historic universities around the world. With this being the case, you will have to complete a range of challenges themed around this goal, such as ensuring the site has a functioning robotics lab and enough robotics teachers, and so on. The catch is that you have to do all of this while taking into account the various other simulation systems, such as hygiene, student happiness, and student grades, as the way that revenue is generated in Two Point Campus is from your subjects doing well in their studies - something they can't do without the correct facilities and ways to unwind after a long day. Assuming you have all this under control, and your students are on track for good grades, you can use extra cash to provide clubs or start other courses at this same site, meaning Mitton University, known for its excellent robotics division, could also be Two Point County's clown or wizard training hotspot.
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Needless to say, with such clashing courses and opportunities to explore, normality isn't really in the equation with this game. The courses themselves are wacky and weird, and you'll have to build jousting fields for knights, potion labs for wizards, as well as kitchens for cooks and science labs for scientists. And with this array in mind, the students are a peculiar bunch as well. Between goths and dark wizards, to shifty spies and musicians, to athletes, punks, archaeologists, chefs, and rebels, you'll have quite an unusual crew of students to have to appeal to, which is why the construction suite is so broad as well.
You can really customise the finest details in each of your campuses, and this includes practical things such as having to place radiators at campus sites in a colder part of Two Point County, as is Mitton University, or rather having to ensure that there are enough vending machines and food stalls around to feed your students. Add to this dotting amenities around campus, be it bathrooms and toilets, hand sanitiser stations, bins, and even making sure that there are enough dormitories so that more students can attend your campus so that you can make money. You'll even have to hire/train janitors to be security guards occasionally, all to be able to combat raids from rival schools nearby. There really is a lot to have to handle, but it all flows together in a way that is manageable and quite intuitive.
That being said, if you do make a lapse in judgement and start skimping on what your subjects need or fail to build the correct facilities and rooms, you will start to find grades slipping and happiness levels dropping, which will affect the status and acclaim of a campus, and will see less students wanting to attend and therefore less money coming in. And this can happen pretty quickly, which is why it's handy that Two Point Studios has provided a way to pause (or even speed-up gameplay) so that you can take a moment to plan and strategize.
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For anyone who is looking for a more creative way to play that isn't hampered by tasks and challenges, a Sandbox mode is available. The catch is that you will need to earn one of three stars in a few different campuses to unlock it. But once that's done, you can access a mode where you are less limited by money and other restricting factors - meaning you can unleash your creative potential and truly build the university of your dreams. Sandbox even has a more difficult mode called Challenge that puts further emphasis on financials and so forth.
All in all, Two Point Campus has really impressed me with what I've seen of it. It isn't the most gripping of games out there, but it's super easy to get into, very entertaining, and really nails the feeling of being back at university - something that is helped by the public announcer and daft radio stations that play over the gameplay to ensure that you have engaging audio to fit alongside the broad gameplay systems and the vibrant and often daft visuals and set pieces. Two Point Studios knows how to create a fun simulation game. We knew that from Two Point Hospital. If there is one thing that Two Point Campus does is it affirms that this studio is looking to cement itself as a leading figure in the genre in the industry.
9 / 10
Simulation systems and broad and streamlined. Courses are massively varied leading to wacky campuses. Plenty of unique locations to explore, each packed with their own challenges. Charming art style. Soundtrack and audio is entertaining.
Can feel a bit familiar after a while. Starting a new campus has quite a slow development curve.