Two Point Campus review - I love uni again

The key art for Two Point Campus, featuring characters sitting outside the school gates.

The key art for Two Point Campus, featuring characters sitting outside the school gates.

Uni wasn't the best experience for me overall. Is it supposed to be? At 17 years of age, I had to choose the direction I wanted my life to take for the next four years and beyond. That's a bit much, isn't it?

I wanted to give my students at Two Point Campus a better experience. It helps that the subjects they're studying seem way more interesting than the entire semester I had to spend learning how corporate balance sheets work.

Well, I say I want to give my students the best possible experience, but it turns out that Two Point Campus has all the ingredients I need to make my fictional students suffer non-stop. Maybe I'll do both.

A cafeteria room in Two Point Campus with multiple stalls selling food and drink. Students sit and drink on benches next to the stalls.
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It's genuinely funny

I’ve never played Two Point Hospital. It always looked cute and funky, but the passage of time was never kind enough for me to sit down and give it a go. What a silly decision that was, eh?

Two Point Campus is just really funny. It hits a very specific sweet spot. I can tell it isn't trying too hard to make me laugh like a stressed-out standup whipping up the crowd, but it keeps delivering a stream of good vibes and chuckles as I play. A particular favourite is the rather unique names the game comes up with, which sound like Bob Mortimer bits (I haven't met Ronnie Hotdogs, but I have had Chuck Spatula as a janitor and Frank Oshun as a teacher), but you can find all manner of reasonably funny riffs to keep you going.

The campus radio will regularly play the game's original tracklist filled with bouncy bops, interspersed with a quirky campus radio presenter bantering on a variety of goofy themes depending on which school you're currently managing. Even during the gameplay when you spot little animations or random events that scupper your campus' plans, the not-taking-itself-too-seriously vibe percolates into a moreish delight. It isn't all a hit, sure. But usually, I'm out here smirking away, pointing out yet another ridiculous name and adding more and more of the exact same tree to my campus because it looks nice.

The Sweet Room for Gastronomy students in Two Point Campus
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How do you run a campus?

I played The Movies by Lionhead Studios non-stop back when it came out in 2005. I even went back to it a couple of years ago and to me, it mostly held up to the impossibly high standards of modern-day gaming. It takes a lot to make a game in this genre that'll last the test of time both in tone and execution, so it was always going to be a tricky proposition for Two Point Campus.

Thankfully, the landing was well and truly stuck. There's gigantic depth to the game, but the tutorials are spread over numerous campuses. Sometimes you'll discover things ahead of time (I was taking out loans long before I was told that's an okay thing to do), and on rare occasions, there'll be a feature locked off until you get to the right level. In general, though, I felt like I was pushing my understanding of the game forward, and Two Point Campus' various helpful little teachers were there to help me every step of the way.

Unlocking new stuff does feel great, and although the game is always teaching you new things throughout the first few campuses, you can always fiddle around and make your university exactly what you want to. I added a Funny Business course on top of the Knight School that was going on, helping me bring in a bit more money through tuition and diversify my student body a bit. It all feels nice and natural, allowing you to proceed through the game at a pace that suits you.

Students in the Potion Room of Two Point Campus
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Some tricky tests

Of course, it's a game with all kinds of tickers and numbers to keep track of, so there's always going to be a bit of an issue when things begin getting stressful. Maybe you don't have enough toilets so half your students are absolutely bursting for a wee, while others are flunking their exams and require tuition. I did find some aspects of this a little frustrating - “there's a shower in the next room mate, please just go to it instead of whining about being filthy” - but for the most part, it's part of the challenge set by the game.

Managing your money is always a tricky ask too, especially since students can just stop paying tuition if they're grumpy. If only that was in place when I was a sour-faced student. I'd be rolling in it. Money comes through tuition fees, dormitory rent, and a few other bonuses. Often, you'll see profits rolling in and get too excited, but Two Point Campus is a game of frugality. Don't spend all your money during the term, because when the new cohort of students comes in, you'll need some nice deep pockets. I've been caught out by this - both upgrading your course and getting another year group in mean more students, more students need more lecture theatres, more dormitories, and most importantly, more toilets.

This is how the difficulty spikes, as your campus becomes more profitable, things get more challenging. Across more space, you need to provide more services. Sometimes, your workers will be in what feels like the wrong place at the wrong time, but usually, it's nothing to get flustered about.

As much as I do think my students could wee behind the sunflowers in the nicely-organised outdoor area, I'll capitulate and build more bathrooms. Just be warned: they'll all have giant windows.

Two Point Campus
Two Point Campus is a delightful treat. Consistently funny, enormously satisfying, and challenging to boot, it'll take you right back to the best years of your life, or make the worst years of your life better.
9 out of 10

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