Two Point Campus takes everything I loved about Two Point Hospital and improves upon it, with more varied levels and objectives and even more humor.
It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since Two Point Hospital arrived, and in truth, I still return to it regularly. Sure, it’s a throwback to the classic Theme Hospital franchise, but more than that it’s a surprisingly relaxing management sim that has you juggling plenty of tasks at once.
Instead of a sequel, though, we’re getting Two Point Campus, which takes the management simulation from healthcare to education. This allows smart changes and increased flexibility throughout, and in our recent hands-on preview, I found it incredibly hard to tear myself away.
It’d be fair to say that much of Two Point Hospital’s DNA can be found in Two Point Campus. For one, you’ll kick things off with a building, and be tasked with constructing class rooms, hiring teachers, and managing the likes of bin and vending machine placement, as well as ensuring students’ and staff’s needs are met. There’s even that same satisfying animation when you build or remodel a room.
What’s different here is that whereas Two Point Hospital just kept going in many ways, Two Point Campus’ levels are divvied up into school years. You start with an intake of students and are judged on their grades at the end.
If that sounds restrictive, let me assure you that it actually makes each level feel more focused. Take the game’s tutorial level, for example; players begin with a science lab, and once you’ve got the hang of that, you can add another course for Virtual Normality for the next school year. By breaking things up, you actually get in more of a rhythm than by just watching days tick by with little to no meaning.
By the time I finished the tutorial, I was right back into Two Point habits like putting plant pots where I could, and making sure there were way too many vending machines in each building. As with its predecessor, Two Point Campus’ UI is clean and easy to read, while the University tannoy drops sarcastic remarks about a lifetime of student debt. Franchise veterans will be pleased to know that the excellent radio DJs are back, and they’re as Python-esque as ever.
Day and Knight
While Two Point Hospital did offer a variety of level-based challenges, Two Point Studios has really let their imagination run wild here. In the short slice we played, we were able to work at a culinary school, teaching Gastronomy, as well as a Knight school for teaching, uh, Knight… things.
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While we know to expect the likes of a Spy school and Clown school down the line, we also got to build our very own, less problematic wizarding school to rival Hogwarts. The grounds are cursed, there are multiple magical courses to teach, and there’s even the most horrific of elements — a large loan with outstanding debt.
Aside from being a change of scenery, these ever-increasing feats of education require careful management of resources. As relaxing as Two Point Campus can be while everything is going well, it only takes a few luxury items to see your carefully planned budget fall to pieces, especially when students will request the most bizarre things to increase their happiness — like a bench press, or even a restaurant booth shaped like a car.
Then there are considerations like social events, and ensuring your sports team is ready to take on rival schools. The break between school years is incredibly helpful, though, letting you put things together at your own pace.
Two Point Campus feels like it’s taken the promise of its predecessor and run with it. It’s imaginative, enjoyable, and really just an absolute delight to play.
With a few months to go until launch, one thing is clear: the kids are alright.