Two Point County has a brand new business venture in the form of the oldest money making scheme in the entire world – education! Well, lucky for you, you’ll be the one doing the fleecing…er…I mean, educating, meaning you’ll be able to enrich the young minds of the folks who wander nearby with enough folding cash to occupy a dorm room. Whether it’s clown college or the wizarding world of non-infringing magic school, Two Point Campus might have the right classes for you. Or maybe not, but if you stick around maybe we’ll build it. It’s not a commitment…well, to be clear, YOU made a commitment with your enrollment, but, let’s not get bogged down in the details right now, ok? You keep making those payments and we’ll keep adding crazy courses. Who knows, maybe it’ll work out?
Two Point Hospital is a favorite of mine (my review), reinvigorating the Theme Hospital formula with a fresh coat of paint and plenty of new fun mechanics. Your impatient patients would pop in to have their lightbulb-heads removed and replaced with normal heads, and you’d collect the fat checks for your diagnosis, secondary analysis, any drugs administered, the specialty machines, and any vending machine snacks those patients might have received. Well, Two Point Campus takes things in a brand new direction that just might surprise you. While it shares some DNA with its predecessor, there’s a whole lot new under the sun.
First and foremost, there are a lot of familiar mechanics in Two Point Campus. You’ll be building out specialized rooms, just as you did in Hospital, though there are some additional tools to help you spruce up your space. Once you’ve built a room you can save it as a template to be used at will. Similarly, you can pick up a room, move it with all objects inside, close the whole thing, or even sell it all wholesale. Dozens of floor and wall treatments can be applied to a single room, or even to all rooms of that type. Similarly, you can apply similar treatments to your staff, placing all your janitors in blaze orange so you can spot them clearly, if you wish. Better still, you can now edit a room with people and objects in it, meaning you no longer have to evacuate everything just to place a chair or move a table. Being able to split a large room into two small rooms with just a few clicks, makes rebuilding your space as you grow easier than ever. Each space also has room-specific buttons that appear, such as whether a dorm is co-ed or not, scheduling options, and when specific classes are scheduled. Most of the time it’ll balance on its own, but when you have limited space you might need to take a more active hand in managing what classes will be in your lecture hall and when.
At launch there are seven main stages, with a dozen available in the sandbox mode. If prior performance on Two Point Hospital is any indication, we’ll undoubtedly see new maps post launch, but what’s here is as varied as it is fun. First up you have Freshleigh Meadows, a countryside college with low expectations that serves as the tutorial area for the game. From there you’ll have a choice that’ll lead to several other possibilities. Milton University is a historic university, which is to say it’s stodgy and boring. They want an administrator that can bring them into the present with modern classes. If you fancy the more fanciful then perhaps the wizarding academy of Spiffenmoore is your speed. The old castle grounds are falling apart, carry an actual curse, and are being haunted by a powerful foe eager to just irritate you the entire time. But hey…you get to educate young witches and wizards! On the other side of the coin lies Noblestead, a wonderful castle with a proud tradition of turning out scores of mighty Knights. They have one problem, though – the local competition. Armor up, you’ve got an invasion on your hands! Piazza Lanatra might give you a break from all that fighting with a bit of fine dining. There you’ll transform the supple mushy minds of your students into the gastro-ninjas of tomorrow. Or at least you can teach them how to make a decent burger anyway.
The last two levels are locked, and you’ll need to prove yourself in other colleges to gain access. Pebberly Ruins is a dream come true as you educate while you excavate. You’ll study the wonderful world of dead things, as you uncover ancient treasures for fun and profit. The last location is Upper Etching, and that’s where money is made by transforming your tuition-compliant sponges into music-moguls for Bungle Records.
As your college expands, you’ll run right into a new feature for the series – building within the environment. Instead of simply purchasing a pre-shaped building adjacent to your main one, you’ll simply construct a new building right on the grounds. Drawing out the desired shape, just build as you would within the existing buildings and set up a brand new space on the grounds. For example, my students were traveling a bit far to my one shower facility and they were beginning to ripen up the place. I built a new facility freeform on the building grounds and made it into a giant co-ed shower – yeah, that’s the kinda place I run. It’s as progressive as it is likely perverted.
If you do want to split up your co-ed cash cows, every room can be adjusted in any reasonable way you can think of, including making bathrooms and showers single sex only. On some of the larger maps it’s reasonable to split up your school entirely, keeping the wizards on one side, while you run the clown college on the other. Those people should never meet, so let’s have separate lecture halls and dorms – the squeaky shoes might irritate the spellcasters.
Speaking of spellcasters, the magic slingers are just one of many course types you’ll employ in building out your school. Witchcraft and wizardry has your would be spellcasters attending courses in prestidigitation and haberdashery hare-pull. Gastronomy is the delicate art of making deliciously-giant food like enormous pancakes and hamburgers, for a start. Clown college will help you sharpen your bowtie twiddling and squirting flower techniques. Robotics helps your students accelerate the robot apocalypse as they construct a massive robot one piece at a time. Potions class is all about that double double boil and trouble life, making love potions and the like. Knight school has you taking courses to become a medieval knight – turns out there’s still a market for clanky sword swingers. Virtual Reality, it turns out, is a real degree that real students will pay real money for. I don’t want to ruin all of the courses, as that’s really half the fun, but suffice it to say you’ll have plenty of classes to attend. Better still, if you have a productive year with lots of passing and returning students, you’ll also get points you can spend in the “Manage Courses” section to level them up, making your school a more effective learning environment, and raising the tuition fee opportunities as you see fit. It’s another satisfying loop in a long list of them that makes the game endlessly fun.
Outside of the main game, you’ve also got a sandbox to keep you busy. Four modes await you in the sandbox – challenge, creative, standard, and custom. Challenge gives you a fixed amount of money and a challenging balance sheet to manage. Creative takes all of those challenges off your plate, including the finances, and just turns you loose to build whatever your heart desires. Standard operates like a regular level, with a normal amount of challenge, but with the freedom to pick your map. Custom lets you pull all of the levers for starting cash, kudosh, adjust the income multiplier, assign a monthly allowance, temperature, course points, how many plots are available, how items, upgrades, room, and staff customizations are unlocked, and whether you’ll face staff requests, VIP visits, disasters, or invaders. Effectively play your own way.
There are a few nagging issues in Two Point Campus that can be a pain to deal with as you aim for those tougher stars. For example, I’ve placed radiators and space heaters in every room and outside, blanketing every square inch, and yet I can’t keep my students happy about the temperature. In fact, you’ll see it drop from 85% happiness with temp down to 60% and it’s hard to understand why. Similarly, there are moments where your students are struggling with a course, and no amount of tutoring seems to help. On a whim, I chose Chaotic Evil and expelled anyone with less than a C+ average, and still my overall average wasn’t hitting the requested B+. When pure evil isn’t enough, it’s hard to know what else to do. I proceeded to decorate the entire space with more “Hang in there” cat posters, potted plants, and various other things to raise the desirability of every aspect of the space, but these dolts still wouldn’t learn. I ended up restarting the level, which “unstuck” the objectives, allowing me to complete them. This happened to me on two levels, but I’m not sure what I did wrong. Still, these few nagging issues are decidedly infrequent so it might just be a hiccup in my pre-release code. Based on their past patch work on Two Point Hospital, I have every confidence they’ll knock the Cheeze Gubbins crumbs out of whatever got stuck in no time.
If there’s one thing that the Two Point games have done well, and Two Point Campus is no exception, it’s a signature humor. Around every corner is a new challenge to keep things interesting, with plenty of humor strapped to it. The announcer from the first game moonlights at the campus, and the dial is always tuned to Two Point Radio. Dozens of hours and there’s very little repetition beyond the music, and you can always swap that out if you stuff them in the right folders.
The thing about Two Point Campus that really elevates it above Two Point Hospital is the “love the one you’re with” approach. Two Point Hospital featured a parade of increasingly bizarre ill folks that you can treat, bill, and eject from the premises. Here, you are courting customers, and those customers have other choices. Bringing in new freshman students, you’ll need to keep them entertained, fed, in a comfy bed, and if there’s time, maybe educate them a little bit. Their education is important to your bottom line, so you’ll send them to private tutoring and ensure they have an engaging and attractive learning environment. This will help them pass their exams and come back for another year. Round and round, new students will join your school, and you’ll have to expand your facilities further to accommodate the increased student body. This, combined with the ability to reconfigure more easily than ever will keep you constantly reconfiguring and optimizing the school as you try for those precious three stars.
Two Point Campus
Charming to the point of overflowing, Two Point Campus is hilariously funny, endlessly engaging, and has improvements to the formula around every corner. Attracting and keeping your students while fleecing them for everything they’re worth has never been more fun.