We've built the university of our dreams in Two Point Studio's upcoming simulation game.
If you're a fan of simulation titles and games where you have to build intuitive cities, and facilities, you've no doubt come across the Two Point franchise before. Known formerly for Two Point Hospital, a game where you have to create a complex and functional hospital to treat all kinds of peculiar and weird ailments, the creative developer behind that light-hearted and charming management game, Two Point Studios, is now looking to expand its efforts by leaving medical practices behind in favour of the pursuit of knowledge. Set to arrive on August 9 (after a delay pushed it from its May 17 release date) the next title on the studios' docket is Two Point Campus, and ahead of its upcoming launch, I've had the chance to dive into the game to create my own university at two particular sites.
If you've played Two Point Hospital, you'll be glad to know that Two Point Campus features a very similar style of design. It's UI is incredibly streamlined and easy to understand and operate. It's visuals are bright, colourful and incredibly detailed. And the concept itself is kooky and strange and doesn't bog itself down with too much reality. What I mean is that you can have students attending your university to study science, gastronomy, or rather wizardry, it simply depends on what courses you are offering.
This is generally the core premise of what Two Point Campus aims to be. Unlike Two Point Hospital, the idea behind this game is to cater to your students and do whatever you possibly can to ensure they succeed and achieve the best possible grades. Whether this means providing libraries to accommodate extra study sessions, rooms with extra gear to make classes all the more rewarding, or even by offering up a range of amenities and facilities to ensure attending students feel comfortable and happy when living at your university. It's important to prioritise the wants and needs of your students as you will only make money through success, as better grades means a better reputation, which leads to more students attending and thus more tuition fees to fund expansion and the improvement of your university and its grounds.
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Of course this cycle does need quite the formidable and complex simulation system at its core, and Two Point Campus definitely seems to be offering that up. You have to manage pass rates by providing ample amounts of resources and equipment for students to use and learn with; happiness by making sure students have social spaces and plenty of ways to entertain themselves outside of study hours; cleanliness and hygiene by providing bathrooms, shower rooms, bins and by hiring janitors; all on top of finances, hunger levels, staff happiness, and even dealing with the occasional inspection. There's really a lot to keep tabs on, but it's served up in a way where as long as you're on the ball and constantly improving and expanding and handling problems as they pop up, it should never become overwhelming. If you don't however, well things will start falling apart very quickly.
While you can feel the influence of Two Point Hospital in Two Point Campus, be it the visuals (they are both part of the overarching Two Point County universe at the end of the day), management systems, or wacky nature, Two Point Studios has made several strides in an effort to make the experience all the more freeing. You are no longer tied to building templates as you can create your own building shapes and sizes, and even demolish and restructure buildings that have been provided. Likewise, you can fiddle with the exterior of your campus (assuming you remain in the campus grounds that is), meaning the duty of environmental management is under your control, and you can place trees, flowerbeds, benches, pathways, fountains, sculptures and more however you see fit. And the best part about doing all of these things is that Two Point Studios has even created a new set of tools to make the customisation process incredibly easy and without hassle.
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But what would a university campus be without students? In Two Point Campus, your duty doesn't just revolve around educating your subjects but also in helping them develop as people. You'll need to organise social events such as clubs and student union gigs, and will also need to help students develop relationships and grow as people and into amazing alumni that will represent your university post-graduation and look back on their time fondly and with passion. And you'll have to do all of this while students are present and on-site during the academic year, as the summer break serves as a pause where you can collect yourself, expand and improve where necessary and ensure you're ready to deliver on a new, bigger and better year than before.
Needless to say, there's a lot to explore and Two Point Studios doesn't even stop there as the game will include a range of unique universities and build sites to tackle, each with their own speciality. That could be the gastronomy-specialised Piazza Lanatra where students navigate fine dining at a university that is based in what seems to be a city centre inspired by an Italian townscape. Or rather, you can instead take on a different challenge, one where space is your biggest nemesis, by taking to Freshleigh Meadows, a university based in what looks like a small English village, that operates with low expectations but a high ceiling. In both cases, it's your duty to put your students first and create the most fulfilling, exciting and complex university you can muster, all to draw in diverse students from all over Two Point County. And this will really happen, as on my first science course, I had eight students attending, and out of those eight there was a goth, two punk dudes with mohawks, and one character that you could associate as a stereotypical nerdy science student.
The point is, if simulation or management games are your jam, then Two Point Studios' Two Point Campus is really shaping up to be another one to watch. From what I played, this is set to be a polished and streamlined title that provides the player with plenty of freedom and opportunities to express themselves by constructing the university they always wanted to attend. It's also a very light-hearted and humorous game that pokes fun at the true nature of undergraduate study, with the public address announcer and radio stations often giving silly and shockingly real remarks such as "students are reminded that there is no such thing as free time". Either way, with plenty of sites to conquer and even a sandbox mode to provide even more freedom in how you play, Two Point Campus is absolutely one to watch when it does launch this August.