In 2018, Two Point Studios released its first game, Two Point Hospital, and introduced a new generation of gamers to the wacky and unconventional world of Two Point County. Now they invite players to return to their clay-inspired world to take on the management duties of various college campuses at Two Point Campus. Much like its predecessor, Two Point Campus embraces puns and slapstick humor to make an otherwise rigid institution more endearing.
In my hands-on preview with Two Point Campus, I had the opportunity to check out some of the campuses that players were going to be responsible for in the game. I had no idea at the time how much larger the Two Point Campus was going to be in its finished state. While I was already impressed with the game’s humor and creative design choices, it was the challenge and attention to detail that ultimately hooked me.
Two Point Campus: what you’ll love
If you don’t know how to play a management simulator, Two Point Campus has you covered. The early school scenarios the game launches new players into are relatively tame, serving as effective tutorials where players can understand the basic concepts of the game, such as meeting their students’ needs and setting a class schedule. Players learn the importance of placing Vending Machines and Benches as well as building Dorms and Classrooms during these tutorials. Each scenario rewards a star for completing a set of tasks. Tasks increase in difficulty, and completing all challenges for a particular scenario will reward the player with a three-star rating. Players must collect stars to unlock additional college scenarios around the Two Point County map.
Scenarios begin during summer vacation, with the player controlling when they are ready to start the college year. During the downtime of the preschool year, players can undertake the construction of new buildings on campus, landscaping, and make adjustments to the classes that will be offered on their campus. There may also be certain requirements for the upcoming year that the player will need to meet before starting, such as hiring additional teachers or building classrooms that meet the needs of the courses offered. Once your campus is ready, you can start the year.
Housing students, providing (arguably) nutritional snack options, and a path to a degree is just the start of running a campus. A lot can – and does – go sideways in the classic two-point slapstick fashion. Your campus may be awash in frog rain, cursed by a jealous witch who sends meteor showers just to make you miserable, or even the victim of rabid sports fans harassing your hard-working (or barely-there) students and staff. ) just before the big game. . Dealing with most issues you will encounter on your campus, however, is as simple as having adequate, well-trained staff on hand.
Typically, console-based management simulators have trouble transferring hotkeys and menu shortcuts to controllers. Even Two Point Studio’s previous game struggled to be compatible with controllers for its Xbox version. Thankfully, it seems the studio has learned from past mistakes, as the UI and keybindings for Two Point Campus were developed with the intention of being controller-friendly from the start. The game’s menus, while robust, are condensed and thought out in such a way that every item can be accessed with just a few button presses or mouse clicks.
Menus can provide players with valuable data with which to plan their strategy to overcome certain scenarios. Some campuses may be too cold, for example, and a temperature overlay can be used to verify that the location of the heater is sufficient to warm students. Similarly, an overlay can also be turned on or off to check things like student or staff happiness and campus cleanliness. When a student is at risk of failing or dropping out, an alert appears that allows the player to focus on that particular troublemaker and deal with them accordingly.
However, improved menus and controller bindings aren’t the only upgrades Two Point Campus offers over Two Point Hospital. The Two Point Campus development team has come up with an all-new editing system for facial animations, adding extra life to the already comically animated counties of Two Point. These new animations add to the liveliness of the characters, making them more believable in this absurd world of which they are a part.
Two Point Campus: What you won’t like
For all the things Two Point Campus pulls off, there are still design choices that feel like missteps that crop up every now and then. The game’s early levels are incredibly simplified and can feel like they’re holding back more advanced players, even when it comes to their three-star challenges. Alternatively, the difficulty spike outside of these tutorial scenarios is surprisingly sharp, and it might be off-putting for someone diving into management simulators for the first time.
Two Point Campus uses both cash and in-game currency called Kudosh. Kudosh is also needed to unlock items related to student classes, such as class-specific libraries or learning stations. These items may be required for a student to pass a course, but there are no lists of required items for students or indications that these may become necessary items before they do. Actually. In the case of some items, like class-specific libraries, they aren’t even available to unlock until a student needs them. If you spend your limited amount of Kudosh before you receive an alert that these items are needed, you can quickly find yourself in a difficult situation where a large number of students are failing, considering dropping out, or refusing to pay their fees.
The more a player finds themselves struggling, the more pop-ups and alerts begin to flood the player’s screen. A notification can alert that five students are considering dropping out, but be immediately followed by additional alerts for each student who encounters a problem. It can be nice to click on an alert and immediately focus on the problem student so they can try to solve their problem, but when those alerts quickly take over the notification area, they can just get overwhelmed and lost view the problem you are having. re specifically trying to take care of.
To add to the chaos and clutter, enabling Two Point Campus’ subtitles puts them squarely above the notification area. The captions have white text with a semi-transparent black background which, when layered on top of the text box for notifications, can lead to an absolute mess that makes both elements hard to read.
Two Point Campus: Should you buy it?
The management simulator genre can be a difficult beast to tackle. Oftentimes, games of this genre are bloated with menus and overlays as well as a myriad of choices that can quickly defeat a newbie player. Two Point Campus does a great job cutting the fat around the menus and options to keep things simplified enough that almost anyone can pick it up and try it out while still leaving enough depth to keep hardcore sim fans active. engaged.
The menu layout, however, means nothing if the game itself isn’t fun. This is where Two Point Campus shines the most. Classes you can offer on campus feature humorous puns like Food and Funny Business, and you can’t help but smile as you watch your students whip up a giant pizza in the kitchen you’ve built for them to use as their living room. of class. There’s something incredibly satisfying about challenging a rival school to a Cheeseball tournament and then seeing your students bursting with life after a win. Realistically, the idea of running a college campus is something that sounds boring and uninteresting, but through sheer willpower and fantasy, Two Point Studios has managed to make it not only a fun experience, but also fun.
Two Point Campus is an Xbox Play Anywhere title and can be accessed seamlessly on Xbox and PC. While I personally found the game better suited for playing with a mouse, the controller scheme is just fine, and it’s perfectly reasonable to switch between the two platforms. Whether I was on PC or Xbox, the game ran flawlessly and never experienced any crashes or instability. Two Point Campus is launching on Xbox Game Pass, so whether you’re an experienced sim manager or looking to dip your toes into the genre for the first time, you can give Two Point Campus a try.