Two Point Campus: First Impressions

By Heidi Nicholas,
It turns out that I am about as adept at managing a university as I am at running a hospital — in other words, everything descended into chaos and confusion shortly after I stepped up to the post — but I had a blast playing Two Point Campus, which feels like a natural progression from Two Point Hospital: bigger and better, with more opportunity for creativity, more of a vested interest in the lives of the game’s subjects, and more of the wacky sense of humour you’d expect from a Two Point game.

two point campus preview

In Two Point Campus, you’ve graduated from running a hospital to the management of a university, and one of the biggest changes — apologies to my Two Point Hospital patients — is just how much more you care about your students in Two Point Campus. In Two Point Hospital, you might have wanted your patients to get better, but the busier the hospital got, the more you were trying to get your patients in and out as quickly as possible to make room for the next long-suffering invalid. In Two Point Campus, your students are with you for a while. You get to recognise them, to become invested in their relationships and their lives at the university, and to want to design the university around them, rather than trying to hurry them out the door. Because of the game’s new relationship systems and your increased interest in your students, you find yourself anxious to get them involved with clubs and parties as well as their studies to help improve their university experience. I was watching with pride as my first students completed their first class, and I found myself keeping tabs on individuals — such as the lone student who had the confidence to dance extravagantly — and alone — in the corner at my first Student Union party.

You can easily get carried away with the sheer amount of stuff you can build, customise, and place for your university (you’ll be able to build outside, too, which will open up a whole new vista of opportunity) and that’s how I ran my university into debt; by cheerfully decorating the university with a too-optimistic trust in my bank balance. I started out with the tutorial in Freshleigh Meadows — slightly insulted at their “low expectations” of me — and as soon as I’d earned a star there, I moved on to Piazza Lanatra to start with the Gastronomy course; but, alas, I had been too arrogant, choosing to begin another course in my university without properly having catered to the wants and needs of the first lot of students. Fast-forward to my students being in danger of failing their courses, my staff threatening to quit, dizzy frogs passed out all over campus after frog rain fell from the sky (did I not mention that bit yet?) while I, in complete and cheerful denial about the situation, carefully placed yet another Wizard’s Owl decoration in one of the dorm rooms.

two point campus preview

Due to the extensive level of detail, there’s a huge amount of information flying at you on the screen. If you’ve played a lot of Two Point Hospital, you’ll likely feel more at ease with this, but it can still feel a little too much to begin with. It’s also not always clear where to find a specific piece of information, either; my students were insisting that they weren’t having fun (which was rude, considering the shiny new Student Union and Student Lounge I had built for them), but I wasn’t sure, out of the many tabs of information I could pull up, which one would tell me how to fix the problem. There’s just so much information available that it could take a while to feel like you’ve got to grips with it all. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Two Point Campus is clearly a game you’re meant to spend a lot of time in, but it can feel a bit over-complicated at first. There’s just so much to keep track of — your money and Kudosh, the individual needs and wants of each student, their academic progress, the maintenance and expansion of the university, the demands of your staff, your mail, the university year itself, and a whole lot more. If you’re a fan of in-depth sim and management games, you might be rubbing your hands with glee at the idea, but it could be daunting to newer players.

You use the summer break to your advantage to get the university ready for the flow of students that begins to pour in as soon as you start the year, and the university really feels as though it’s coming alive around you as you build, adding necessities like dormitories and classrooms, as well as smaller things like benches for socialization or places to sign up for clubs. You need to check in with your students — if they’re not happy with their dorm, you might need to expand, or if they’re having trouble with their courses, they might need private tutoring. You can customise nearly everything, including occasionally the wallpaper or staff outfits. Two Point Campus’ sense of humour is evident throughout, from the glib announcements from the bored school administrator, to the way students behave in their classes, and the bizarre names of prospective teachers. The level of detail — right down to the “bookworms” that pop up all over campus, granting you money for clicking on them — greatly adds to your investment in the game, and kept me interested in my students as actual individuals.

two point campus preview

We haven’t yet got the Two Point Campus achievements, but Two Point design director Ben Huskins gives us a few hints, and says the team has “generally divided the achievements into those we’d expect players to get in a normal playthrough of the game, those that are more for completionists, and then a few curveballs to provide some interesting challenges, or encourage players to try new ways of playing. We ran through everything in the game, and came up with a bunch of ideas based on these categories, then we whittled it down to the final list based on the ones people found most interesting,” Huskins continues. Two Point Campus’ sense of humour will no doubt be evident throughout — “well, it wouldn’t be a Two Point game without a few groanworthy puns and obscure references, so expect a few of those in the achievements list,” Huskins warns. “We’ve snuck in a few nods to Two Point Hospital as well, so keep an eye out for those. I’m hoping some of the achievements get people to focus in on a few of the more ridiculous parts of the game!” Huskins added that “a few curveball achievements are always good,” when we asked about what he thinks makes a great achievement list. “I love having a reason to play a game in a new way, try out a few features that I haven’t been using much, or use those features in a completely different way,” Huskins says. “It’s easy to play a game and only scratch the surface in a few areas, so it’s great to have a reason to explore parts of the game you might have otherwise missed, and in doing so discover nuances of the game, sometimes real game-changers.”

What do you think? Will you be attending Two Point Campus when it launches later this year? Let us know in the comments!
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Heidi graduated with an MA in English Literature, and now enjoys writing news, reviews, and features across TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. When she’s not writing, Heidi is usually either looking for her next RPG, or trying to convince the rest of the team to hear about yet another delightfully wholesome game she has found.