College management sim Two Point Campus, which just came out on pretty much every gaming platform and Xbox Game Pass, is the sequel to 2018’s Two Point Hospital. Both games use an identical art style, similar UI, and contain the same mix of zany, weird sight gags and jokes. But while Hospital was all about stressing you out over choices, Campus is more chill in how it lets you care for the students coming to your schools. The change works, but the game still has some UI issues and performance problems to iron out.
Two Point Hospital could get surprisingly intense. While the world is colorful, silly, and filled with weird diseases and jokes, balancing patient needs, staff demands, profits, and more during more intense moments isn’t funny at all. It’s hectic and exciting. However, it was also a game built for PC, and was intended to be a spiritual successor to the beloved Bullfrog classic Theme Hospital. While I loved Two Point Hospital, others were put off by how intense things could get, as well as the PC menus and UI. It was a great game, but built for a certain type of person.
Two Point Studios built Two Point Campus from the ground up to be a different type of management sim, removed from the demands of history and with console players in mind. This leads to a different kind of game. Two Point Campus isn’t here to stress you out. Instead, it offers a more relaxed and personal management sim in which you worry more about your students’ physical, social, mental, and emotional needs than say balancing the books or making sure nobody dies. The stakes here are certainly lower than when running an emergency room, and with breaks between school years, Campus will feel calmer and more inviting to folks who might not have grown up playing the old PC sims.
Some might be disappointed in the slower pace, but I’ve greatly enjoyed the change. This is a game where you can (and will) spend a lot of time fiddling with things. Moving objects, re-shaping classrooms, building lecture halls, adding dorm room decorations, and tinkering with layouts and hallways are all in your purview. And compared to the previous game, all of it is now much easier to do on a controller.
In my experience with the game’s first few levels, money isn’t too hard to come by if you are careful early on not to go into debt by building everything possible at once. So instead of worrying about profits, Campus quickly becomes a game in which you spend a lot of time just making sure your students are as comfy, healthy, and smart as they can be.
It’s quite a contrast to Two Point Hospital, in which your patients were merely walking piggy banks and you never really stopped to think about them as people. In Campus, students feel more like actual humans, and because they stick around for a few years before graduation, you’ll start to develop more of a connection with a lot of them.
When my institution’s grades started to slip, I felt more invested in improving the college’s facilities to make sure all my young charges could get back to achieving higher grades. And when the kids got lonely, I’d make sure to listen to their individual needs and help them meet other students, so they could develop new friendships and romantic relationships.
It all culminates when they finally graduate. I felt an odd sense of pride as I watched them all march off to the nearby bus stop, diploma in hand. Well, I also felt a pang of fear, as I watched a ton of tuition fees vanish, too.
Okay, so yes, this is still a management sim, and while the stakes are lower and the overall vibe of Campus is more chill, you still will need to keep an eye on your money if you want to build the biggest and most amazing three-star schools in the county. And because I cared more about my students, it made it harder for me to cut corners or hold back on things they all wanted, like more bathrooms or working showers. I mean, I still didn’t give them what they wanted all the time, and did have a tendency toward cramming them into tiny dorm rooms. But I felt bad about it, I swear!
Unfortunately, I also felt bad when playing on PC, as I ran into some performance issues and UI problems. None of them made the game unplayable, mind you, but still worth mentioning.
With a controller, the UI feels good, but mouse and keyboard suffer some quirks that I think can be fixed in a patch. At the moment they cause some annoyance. More than once I ended up selling a whole room by accident or misclicked the wrong item. And when my campus got too big, I noticed some slowdown, something I never noticed in Two Point Hospital or other similar games I’ve played on this same, very fast computer.
Hopefully, all of this can be fixed in the future. Considering how much support Two Point Hospital got post-launch, with tons of updates and DLC packs, I expect Campus to only get better over the next few months and years.
Two Point Campus is a worthy follow-up to Hospital. While some may find Campus’ less hectic and high-stakes nature a drawback, I enjoyed the change of pace. I can always play Hospital if I want to save lives. Instead, Campus let me connect with students and a school in a way I really appreciated, which also subsequently made squeezing the kids for every penny they had a lot more challenging. I still did it, but I didn’t enjoy it. Okay, I enjoyed it, but I never cackled about it. Not very much at least.