The upcoming launch of Two Point Campus is hotly anticipated by many, with the university management game due to launch in August this year. Here at RadioTimes.com, we've been lucky enough to try the game out early, with the developers from Two Point Studios and the publishers from Sega sharing a beta build on PC of the first few levels.
UPDATE: since this preview article was written, we've now been able to play the full game and pull together our final Two Point Campus review. Click that link or watch the video below to see our full thoughts, or keep reading for our original first impressions.
The first thing to note is that fans of Two Point Hospital, the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital that was launched by Two Point Studios in 2018, are going to be very happy indeed.
If you are a returning fan of Two Point's previous work, you'll immediately notice that the graphics have improved while still retaining that kinda cute charm. The control scheme, for the most part, will be very easy for returning players to pick up, even though all of the hospital-related assets have been swapped out for school stuff.
Two Point Hospital offered a wacky spin on medical institutions (e.g. lightbulb-headed patients suffering from 'lightheadedness'), and Two Point Campus does the same for the educational world. And in the handful of hours that we spent with the opening levels of the new game, this comedic work was really enjoyable.
Of course, comedy is subjective, but we found the campus announcements and radio shows to be packed with laugh-inducing content (e.g. "students are reminded that education is non-refundable"). The only shame is that the voiceovers stop when you pause the game to plan out your next build, when we would've liked to keep listening.
That being said, after a few hours, the announcements did start to repeat themselves, which is a shame. But a certain amount of repetition is somewhat inevitable considering how many hours you could in theory spend with a management sim like this. And it's worth remembering that the comedy is backed into the game on a deeper level, as well, with everything from items to course names being sprinkled with funnies.
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Everything here is heightened. Cooking courses involve giant pizzas, for example, and there is even a wizardry course on offer, although we didn't get to try it out yet. And the game is all the better for it. Rather than boring the player into submission, Two Point Campus is thoroughly engaging at every turn – something is always trying to tickle you.
But how is the actual gameplay? If the voiceovers and the comedy visuals are the toppings on your giant pizza, then the actual mechanics and loops of the game will be the enormous and equally vital base. And we're pleased to report that, from what we've seen so far, the gameplay of Two Point Campus should be enough to keep you engrossed for hours on end.
The compulsion to keep playing, building your campus as you churn through academic years and attempt to hit a variety of objectives, is very strong with this one. Those core loops really pull you in, making you want to push through the next set of tasks. As your bedtime passes you by, you might find yourself saying, "Just one more academic year, then I'll call it a night".
This, of course, is exactly what players want from a management sim – something to sink your time into as you reach for those bigger and better feelings of achievement. (Jurassic World Evolution 2 hit us in a similar way, if you're looking for another recommendation). Players want a challenge as well, though, and Two Point Campus also delivers on that front.
You might expect the first couple of levels in a game like this to ease you in gently, but while there is tutorial content there for new players that need it, there is also a heft amount of challenge right from the off. In the second level, in fact, we found ourselves investing in the wrong things, messing things up, and ultimately deciding to restart that campus altogether.
In other games, that sort of mess-up might be annoying – it might even make you want to switch off and do something more leisurely. But here, in game this masterfully made, starting all over again felt like a fun challenge to relish afresh, and we look forward to spending many more hours with Two Point Campus when the full game comes out.
Two Point Campus launches 9th August 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch.
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