Two Point Studios has done it again. The company was forged by the core creative duo behind 1997 classic Theme Hospital, and they already won plenty of hearts with their spiritual sequel Two Point Hospital in 2018. Now, they’ve delivered another excellent game in the shape of Two Point Campus.
For the last couple of weeks, RadioTimes.com has been testing out Two Point Campus on PS5 (we also played the PC version for our Two Point Campus preview earlier in the year), and we’re very pleased to report that we are absolutely obsessed with it. Two Point Campus sucked us in and hasn’t let us go.
Arguably, this is the key to a successful management simulator game. Regardless of the topic at hand (Frontier’s dinosaur-wrangling sim Jurassic World Evolution 2 had a similar effect), what you really want from a game in this genre is to be utterly, ecstatically caught in its never-ending gameplay loops. And that’s exactly what happened to us with Two Point Campus.
As you may have guessed from the title, Two Point Campus makes you the mastermind of several higher education institutes. Your primary job is to build campuses, attract students and make money. Then you can use that money to bolster your courses, your entertainment offering and your faculty, in turn attracting more students and making bigger bags of cash.
Even at that most basic level, the game is properly compelling, toeing the line wonderfully between absolute creative freedom and gentle objective-based guidance. You can do whatever you want on each campus (finances allowing), but there is a steady stream of tips and tricks to help beginners get to grips with it.
When you get each campus up to a one-star rating (think a ‘Satisfactory’ from Ofsted), you normally unlock the next campus on the map, with each new campus offering fresh challenges and new ideas. You can move straight onto the next campus (there are 12 in total), or you can stick with the previous campus to tackle harder objectives and earn the maximum three-star rating. All player types are welcome!
Your colleges/universities start out looking pretty realistic, but after a few levels, you’ll find yourself overseeing Dark Arts classes at a knockoff version of Hogwarts and repelling off-brand Death Eaters. There’s also a medieval-themed ‘Knight School’, a spy school, an archaeology school that Indiana Jones fans will love, and a whole lot more besides.
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The mechanics of the gameplay are easy to learn but tricky to master (every time you think you’ve got a handle on things, a new type of objective is introduced), and the overarching structure of the experience is very compelling (it’s easy to push back your bedtime to take on ‘just one more’ academic year), but we’d say the most enjoyable facet of Two Point Campus is its humour.
There are jokes to be found in every corner of this game, from the geeky Easter eggs of the pop-culture-inspired levels to the outright puns in the names and descriptions of places, items and people. You might not ordinarily think of writing as a key component of a management game, but here it really enhances the experience and keeps you smiling/chortling while you play for hours on end.
It’s not just written gags, either. Slapstick visual moments happen basically all the time — characters take overdramatic pratfalls when rushing from room to room, overzealously whack their broken equipment, and you might even see campus security whipping out a water pistol from time to time. It’s a brand of wholesome, silly humour that fans of Two Point Hospital will know all too well already.
A special shoutout should also go to the audio of Two Point Campus. There are numerous undeniable bangers among the original instrumental songs that will play during your playtime (upbeat pop tunes, verging on cutesy at times), and there are also hundreds of extra jokes to be found in the campus radio broadcasts that break up the music.
This engaging soundscape couples with the compelling gameplay to make Two Point Campus a world that you relish spending entire evenings with, or perhaps you’ll find yourself getting up earlier than usual in the morning to squeeze in a few hours of campus management before you have to start your real job.
It’s not too often that a game comes along that can make you laugh as well as properly challenging you, keeping you entertained as you gradually master ever-trickier tasks, but Two Point Campus has that cunning combination down to a tee. We’d recommend it to anyone that’s ever been hooked on a management game, and it definitely gets an A+ from us.
Two Point Campus launches 9th August on PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox Game Pass and Nintendo Switch.
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