Two Point Hospital was a pleasant surprise when it originally released back in 2018, and it was only better by the time it made its way to consoles back in 2020. Two Point Campus has taken a similar approach to gameplay, though rather than curing ill patients, the player is tasked with managing up to twelve unique universities and while the micro-managing can be stressful at times with so many variables to look after, when the operation is running smoothly it is rewarding.
Two Point Studios remains a young studio, but they have come out of the gates swinging with their specialisation of management sims. For many years this genre of video game has been reserved for PC users due to difficulty in a controller adaptation and while many have tried, some successfully, Two Point have certainly ascertained the ability to make it work, though it takes a little time to get used to.
The player begins their career at Freshleigh, which acts as the game’s tutorial, explaining all the basic skills of management. Once the player has come to grips with how Two Point Campus is played, the player is then free to make their own decisions, remaining at Freshleigh until they have achieved a 1-star rating for that campus, which then unlocks a new location. Star ratings are earned through the completion of several objectives which vary from having the average happiness levels of a campus being above a certain percentage, to healing a set number of students that have obtained injuries through physical training. The objectives needed to achieve a 1-star rating differ from location to location, becoming more challenging in the later stages. The second location is Piazza Lanatra, which is the Two Point Campus’ culinary school. This acts as a more complex tutorial which explains some of the less obvious actions that a player can adopt to succeed.
The key point of Two Point Campus is “management.” All aspects of each campus must be administered to achieve not only a student satisfaction, but also a faculty satisfaction. Each character on campus has a different need and a negative outlook can create a domino effect that consequently effects more than one campus member and while it is easy to pinpoint which members are unhappy, there is never information given that can identify how to repair their discontent. For players that wish to make sure that everyone’s needs are met, time can be paused at any time so that none of it is wasted. While paused, the player can also create new rooms, customise their building as they please, schedule new school events and more.
Each room that the player has access to in the building has a different role i.e., dormitories to accommodate students, faculty and student lounges for characters to unwind and relieve stress, plus several classrooms that provide students with the required academic opportunities. Players also can introduce new studies to their campus, expanding on what is already taught but I feel like dabbling in these new lessons is reserved for the more competent player. There were several times that I would have to re-place object within my buildings as campus members could not reach them, even though it was allowed placement when it was initially bought which was frustrating but, only a minor hiccup.
There are a lot of factors that go into assuring that student and staff requirements are met to avoid any failures or drop-outs and, though each new location offers a generous sum of starting finances, the money slowly begins to plummet. Two Point Campus fortunately provides multiple loan options to get players out of a financial rut, though they incur an interest-rate, of course. Students get bored, which makes them unhappy and unwilling to pay their student fees, so perhaps the player can build a Student Union to fork out the finances to host a dance party to lift spirits. Some students might not be reaching the threshold of passing and so must be sent to private tuition and staff members energy levels will get to a point that they have to take a break, leaving classes without teachers and messes without janitors.
Two Point Campus is at its best within its sandbox mode where the player can work on a creation of their own. Players can set their own difficulty level, or even customise the experience entirely and are free to teach any classes they please. The hours a player can spend improving their campus are limitless and if the campaign felt a little too easy, try and overcome the challenges that beginning with minimal funds can bring.
Much the same as Two Point’s first admission, Two Point Campus is filled with an innocuous and quirky sense of humour that can cause an eye roll or two, but not for the wrong reasons. There is truly little in the way of any soundtrack and even with the constant radio and PA announcements, it went very much unnoticed as I was constantly laser focused on how I could improve my campus.