Fans of “tycoon” style games will love this new college campus simulator from Two Point Studios. Two Point Campus launched last Tuesday, and I’ve played it more than twenty-four hours in the week since. I am so absolutely hooked on this game. It has brilliant game design, that delivers on micro and macro-management strategy. The different curriculum you can teach at your schools offer unique challenges and immensely immersive experiences. I have a feeling the best is yet to come, but I feel prepared to offer my opinion on the game at this point. I also want to get this review out to people who may be thinking about picking it up.
I would say pull the trigger on Two Point Campus. If you like management simulators, this is a big win. Whether you are the academic type or not is irrelevant, with courses like espionage, clown college, or knight school. There is a lot of course variety, and all the different individual game worlds’ sandboxes are available reasonably early. So far, I have focused on the career mode, not the sandboxes. Sandboxes have unique options such as “Creative” mode, wherein you start with more resources than you could ever use, so you can focus on creating your fantasy campus, for example.
The time I have played has been a nearly constant learning experience. New elements are always being strategically introduced. Keeping things fresh, without overloading you with information. I felt a little intimidated early on, as I tried to micromanage every student. I quickly learned that if you want to manage certain students, you should mark them so you see them much more easily among the mess of bodies, buildings and furniture. Especially useful when say, you run a culinary school and all the students wear the same chef’s outfit.
Even when I knew I couldn’t manage every little detail of what happened on campus, I enjoyed using the slowest of the three time speed options, without including paused. This way, I could be a lot more involved. Patience is powerful. Generosity is godlike. If you always put the humans on campus ahead of selfish desires, you’ll succeed. You may want to offer meager accommodations to save money, but small benefits like a nice staff lounge, well decorated areas or splurging on a killer concert in the student union can pay off bigger than any amount of minimization. In later levels managing money tightly is a necessity, but you should still always try to find a way to put people before profit.
In focusing on people, you’ll sort through job applications for the perfect person, not just a suitable candidate. You’ll know what new skills to train your staff based on the strengths and weaknesses of them, and your campus. Being attentive to student needs will prepare you to meet objective goals. Parties directly enhance student ability and happiness in impactful ways. Truly the most collegiate thing about this game is the fact parties are like a superpower. You can schedule events to occur at the same time every year, which saves you from spending a ton of time booking individual parties year round.
People who are into collegiate living will have tons to love in Two Point Campus. The collision of personalities, dorms packed with beds, ramen and coffee for fuel. There are so many thoughtful touches. Not only is the content interesting, it is also practical in design. I’m playing the game on Xbox Series X, and I was flying across the controller interacting with the game by the end of the first world. PC would probably be even easier. The ability to build structures and furnish them is a total blast. I relish walking the tightrope of planning out the future of my campus layout, while adapting to needs along the way. In the end the result can be something better than I had originally planned.
The visuals of the game serve their purpose well. It is a very simple, low frills graphical design. It certainly has charm, though. It relays information well, and ultimately that is what you want in a game such as Two Point Campus; elegant simplicity. You slowly figure out what all the icons mean that can appear above somebody’s head. Everything is easy to understand. As someone that struggles with games sometimes being too much to handle, it is refreshing to enjoy a game so much in the genre. The audio design is fantastic. Satisfying blips as you build or complete assignments, and a modest, yet quite solid soundtrack. I often play this game with a record on in the background, however. It is a perfect game for such matters.
The challenge in listening to vinyl while playing Two Point Campus is how often I sit and play the game for an hour in silence after the current side of the record has finished. The game is just so engaging and immersive. I take great pride in my universities. The feeling of getting three stars on a campus is remarkable. Like looking at your grades at the end of a hard course and seeing a high grade in actual college. There are more than enough various campus worlds to keep you playing this game for countless incredible hours, even before you explore the possibilities of sandbox mode. The world each campus exists within is always so adorable, and makes you wish you could actually visit.
Two Point Campus is available on basically any console you can imagine. I see it going for $40 most places, and while I believe it is worth that much, easily, I am very grateful that it was also launched on Xbox Game Pass. Also on this service is the game that preceded this one: Two Point Hospital. This is a game I would highly recommend to any gamer. It is so approachable, lighthearted, humorous and lovable, I think you’d have to already be sour not to enjoy it. I will be playing for dozens more hours, I am eager to see what challenges and rewards each campus offers.
Credit: Two Point Campus. Screenshots by me.