College can be a time of self-discovery and personal turmoil. For many, it’s where we start to understand who we are and where we’re going, experiencing plenty of inner struggles along the way. Thankfully, Two Point Campus doesn’t quite make us relive all of that. Instead we get to see college life play out from afar, designing a unique experience for cohorts of young, impressionable NPCs.
Two Point Campus is presented in identical fashion to Two Point Studios’ previous game, Two Point Hospital. The UI, level select, and soundtrack all bear similarities. Campus even shares the previous game’s setting of Two Point County, complete with reappearing fictional celebrities and personalities. These immediate comparisons are what you’ll notice throughout the bulk of the game, and it works largely in the game’s favor. Two Point Studios makes it clear that they’re not here to reinvent the wheel, but to simply improve it.
Wasting no time, we dive into the first campus Freshleigh Meadows, serving as a tutorial for the game’s basic mechanics. We learn how to build rooms, how to improve grades, and keep the student population reasonably happy. Students play a much bigger role in Campus than the patients in Hospital, who were treated as quickly as possible and then sent on their way. Here, the students remain for the length of their course which, depending on their specialty, could be one to three years. They gain XP, forge friendships, and even enlist in quirky extra-curricular clubs. Some clubs are deceptively harmless, like the Nature Club. Though you’ll quickly see a stark increase in students reducing their modesty down to nothing but a conveniently-placed leaf. NPC students are treated with importance — the player is encouraged to help them grow and increase their academic level throughout their time on campus.
As the level progresses, we get to the end of our first academic year and the start of the summer break. This is a chance to do any major renovations to the campus, increase and improve the courses on offer, and generally prepare for the year ahead. It’s a useful way to give players a chance to catch their breath, offering a brief respite from academic chaos. As the student body increases, you’ll need to build more facilities and hire some more teachers. Expect things to get busier from here on out.
Part of the pandemonium comes from student requests throughout the year. Some ask you to host more parties in the Student Lounge, some want more minor decorations to adorn their student digs, and some requests are a bit more demanding. The requests come in the form of little messages in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. The notifications are small, and easy to miss, but can quickly ramp up if you’re not careful. A large portion of the student requests are for club-related items, the higher end of which can be pricey. Let’s take the Speed Walking Club as an example. If it’s the most popular club on campus you’ll eventually start to receive requests for a Speed Walking Track — this item isn’t unlocked by default, and costs a hefty amount of Kudosh to obtain, and even more cash to place. Now if you’re not in a position to buy the item and decline the request, you could end up with seven more subsequent messages from different students demanding a Speed Walking Track. Before you know it you’re yelling at these virtual kids to give up and take a hint. But it’s a minor annoyance in an otherwise highly enjoyable management sim.
Two Point Campus gives players a lot of room to get creative throughout the main campaign, and even more so during its Sandbox Mode; players can choose to play fully unrestricted, or adjust the challenge to their own preferred level. Start with a near-limitless amount of money to spend on whichever items you want, or try something tougher with a small amount of cash and items you’ll need to work to unlock.
The game plays out in the same fashion as Two Point Hospital, and you get roughly the same experience. The same tongue-in-cheek humor is frequently delivered by our radio personalities and tannoy announcer — “Welcome new students. We’re more afraid of you than you are of us.” There’s an end of year round-up, challenges to complete, and requirements to be met. But Campus excels by offering players a bit more depth to their gameplay, more ways to choose how a level plays out. To put it simply, there’s just more to do.
But the game isn’t without its faults. During my time with the PlayStation 5 version of the game, I ran into a few bugs. The most notable involved NPC DJ Sue Chef performing a show in one of my Student Unions. Not much really happened. She stood at the side of the stage for the duration of the “show,” while lines of students waited patiently for the party that never quite got started. Time passed, the event concluded, and DJ Sue Chef found herself permanently trapped in the SU — a nightmare I’ve certainly had in the past. The PS5 controls were laggy at times while navigating through the item menus. Using the analog stick proved to be a little unruly and switching to the directional buttons allowed for more control, but they weren’t always responsive and took a few presses to get going.
Despite the minor bugs, I had a solid experience with Two Point Campus. Each level provided enough variety and challenge that it never grew stale. The hours simply melted away. Two Point Studios have again proved that they’re savants of the management sim genre, infusing games with personality and charm. Two Point Campus bestows players with the chance to bring order to academic chaos in Two Point County, one institution at a time.
DBLTAP Rating: A-
Two Point Campus, developed by Two Point Studios and published by SEGA, is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, macOS, and Linux.
DBLTAP was provided with a copy of Two Point Campus for review by its publisher, SEGA.