Students are shit

Two Point Hospital was hailed as an infectious charm offensive as it did its part to live up to the legacy of Bullfrog’s perennially nostalgic Theme Hospital.

The game received a lot of downloadable content, before it was announced last summer that the developers had aimed the scythe at old fields: the school bench. Now Two Point Campus is here, and it’s about as quirky, wonderful and charming as its predecessor from 2018.

The class clown

As the name suggests, this time you will build and manage your very own university, and it will therefore be done using the Two Point method.

Pay attention in class!

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This means that the visual style is almost identical to the one we got in Two Point Hospital, and sees clumsy rubber figures embarking on one activity more absurd than the next.

A normal school day would of course be too boring, and instead the developers put their unique stamp on university life. During a session in the game’s research lab, for example, the students will mix unstable chemicals in a large flask; economics studies attract exclusively young people in dresses and whites; while archeology students excavate dinosaur skeletons and primitive people in shelters and weather.

The game also experiments with more non-traditional fields of study: Further in the game, you unlock, among other things, knight schools, clown courses and a university set in a medieval castle where you can teach students black arts and sorcery.

Everything is playful, delicious and exceptionally colorful, and it’s a constant joy to see what the developers manage to come up with. There is a lot of fun baked into the game’s many, small details, and the many small animations are particularly whimsical.

The campus will eventually become quite large.

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Whiny students

The game consists of a total of 12 unique maps, all of which introduce new fields of study and new mechanics.

Part of the latter is directly taken from its predecessor — such as staff training, marketing and heating and cooling regulation — while student associations, love and social gatherings offer plenty of new and exciting content.

The students also need to feel good in order to do well at school, and then it is important to listen to feedback and work actively to ensure the best possible learning environment. This initially involves keeping the campus clean, tidy and filled with the required rooms.

There was a lot to correct here.

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A bunch of green (scissors) students.

Espen Jansen/Gamer.no

This may sound simple, but the students in Two Point County are, like most students, both fussy, whiny and horribly grumpy. Sometimes problems can be solved easily – litter in the classroom can be solved, for example, with a couple of extra bins and a new janitor apprentice – while at other times it’s not as clear where the knot in the thread really is.

I see, for example, that Paul Mop has to go to the bathroom something terrible, but there is a toilet two meters down the hall. And why is Bobby Explosion really so thirsty when I’ve already placed water dispensers and soda machines on every other corner.

The same applies to the grade requirements, which sometimes simply cannot be achieved. For example, I sat for five straight years – while constantly working to improve student life – waiting for the students to manage to pry the average grade up to a B+.

This was among the requirements to achieve one star on the map so that I could progress in the campaign, but no matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t work out. The whole process ended with me having to expel the worst students for having an abysmal average grade in a fraction of a second, but that’s not a good solution.

In general, I find many of the sub-goals in the game to be a bit slow and difficult to achieve, and this is in stark contrast to the very good flow I felt while playing Two Point Hospital. There I was happy to progress on each map to get both two and three stars, but this is not the case in Campus so far.

A breath of fresh air for Gordon Cougar and his friends.

Espen Jansen/Gamer.no

Phenomenal but repetitive radio theatre

In addition to having a good study environment, the game also requires you to organize student parties, form clubs where students can spend their free time and spice up the university with elements that contribute to interaction between students.

The suggestion box in the bottom corner of the screen is the epicenter of the students’ wishes, and is constantly filled with objects and facilities they desire. It’s a great way to get pointers on where it’s most pressing at any given time, but also feels a bit simple and repetitive in the long run.

Clubs are important to keep students motivated and active.

Espen Jansen/Gamer.no

Repetition is to some extent a consistent theme in Two Point Campus, because it is a nightmare that plagues the experience every now and then. For example, the start of each level feels very similar every time, despite each map having one or more unique mechanics and a distinct look.

Here you have to build the essential rooms with the start-up capital you are given, choose which classes to hold and then start the school year. The ability to save rooms and templates from previous maps makes the process a little more palatable, but I would have liked to see even more variety in how the different levels kicked off.

The radio that scrolls and plays in the background while playing is unfortunately also characterized by repetitive content. This is a shame, because the radio show of the surly and pompous Sir Nigel Bickleworth is one of the very best things about the whole game. Here you are served stupid commercials, wonderful “cheesy” elevator music and a number of other terribly funny tricks and inventions.

A typical school lesson.

Espen Jansen/Gamer.no

I chuckle and laugh out loud repeatedly while playing – in particular, an audio game about a missing cheese made me chuckle very well – but it is therefore disappointing that there is a lot of content that repeats itself.

Conclusion

Two Point Campus lives up to its predecessor and literally overflows with the same charming presentation that made Two Point Hospital so endearing in 2018.

Future archaeologists in action.

Espen Jansen/Gamer.no

Here you get a particularly light-hearted version of student life, and it’s hard not to get excited by the game’s combination of exciting subjects, exciting simulation and satirical student radio.

Cheeseball is the regional sport.

Espen Jansen/Gamer.no

During the more than 30 hours the campaign lasts, you are constantly peppered with new inventions and ideas, and the vast majority of them lead to genuinely unique and interesting challenges spread over 12 visually distinct maps.

Sometimes, however, there is too much of a good thing: There is a lot that can go wrong, and I wish the students weren’t quite so inept and whiny. It is also a bit disappointing that radio features and messages on the public address system are repeated so often.

Perhaps the most annoying thing is that Campus does not have quite the same enthusiasm for its sub-goals as in its predecessor. Where I previously spent a long time on each level thanks to easy-to-understand and achievable objectives, the end of each level sometimes feels more like a must-run that I just have to finish.

All in all, playing principal, inspector and builder in Two Point County is still an extremely good atmosphere, and this is an automatic must for the simulator enthusiast.

Two Point Campus launches on August 9 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and Windows (tested).

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