THOSE who are old enough to remember Theme Park World or Zoo Tycoon likely have warm memories of management sims.
They’ve been making a comeback of late, and Two Point Studios is following up the success of Two Point Hospital with the university themed Two Point Campus.
There are some strange courses in Two Point Campus
The former did an excellent job of reminding us nostalgically of our love for the genre.
However, Two Point Campus had to do more than this showing us that these games are still capable of innovation.
A university setting is the perfect place to prove you have something new to bring to the table.
While management sims have been set in prisons, factories, and even entire cities, Two Point Campus is the first mainstream game to take place in higher education.
There are obvious similarities between this and Two Point Hospital, of course.
You are still building rooms, hiring staff, and slowly growing your business.
However, changes have been made that reflect the new setting making sure you are aware that you are running a school, not a hospital.
While hospitals aim to get patients in and out as quickly as possible, university students tend to stick around for a while.
Rather than getting them educated and out the door, Two Point Campus focuses on keeping them happy with a good quality of life, which will reflect in their final grades.
It’s split up into academic years, so you have a break between each one in order to plan your expansion.
You can improve your courses and student campus during the summer holidays, giving you a big boost in income over the next academic year.
It gives an idealised version of how a university should be run.
Student happiness is one of the biggest factors in how good their grades will be.
This means adding items like fountains, statues, and plants increase happiness and relationship across the campus.
The end goal is still to make as much profit as possible. A point which was not lost on the developer.
The game isn’t a cutting satirical piece on the state of capitalism and education.
However, it does get just enough jabs in to let you know that it’s not coming from a place of ignorance. Two Point Campus is full of witty charm.
Beyond humour, management games need a strong hook. Something that will keep you playing until the early hours of the morning.
Each campus you build can be themed around a specific subject.
This means you can move from the culinary arts to a wizarding world in just a click.
However, it’s small things that really help sustain engagement.
The objectives are balanced, meaning you are never waiting too long before you can get the next box ticked.
There is also a lot more you can do to improve your school, from researching better equipment to running events.
By always having something you can work on and improve, it becomes harder to tear yourself away.
However, once those objectives run out it can be hard to find the motivation to keep going.
You can complete most levels using only half the space, and while some will love building for the joy of it, completionists may find it lacking.
That being said, Two Point Campus is probably the best the management genre has on offer right now, and the perfect entry point for someone thinking of taking the dive.
On the other hand, if you know that management sims aren’t really for you, there isn’t anything here which will convince you to change your mind.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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