SEGA and Two Point Studios were kind enough to let us try out a demo for their upcoming game Two Point Campus as we go back to school for a bit. We've had a ton of experience in the company's simulated world with Two Point Hospital, so getting a crack at this game felt like familiar territory, at least from a visual level. So naturally, we assumed we had this in the bag. The reality is we had obsession from the previous game follow us as we attempted to do everything we could to make out campus three stars. So how does that obsessive behavior for a perfect campus play out in this demo? Come along with us as we learn how to run a cartoon college.
So first off, yes, if you have played Two Point Hospital, a LOT of this is familiar territory. It's not a direct copy, this isn't something where they just took the previous game and splashed new paint on it. There are a lot of new challenges in here you have to keep up with. Having the experience helps but it isn't an end-all-be-all guarantee you got this. The demo gave us four colleges to play through. They were Freshleigh Meadows -"Campus Management 101", Piazza Lanatra – "Food For Thought", Noblestead (Knight School) – "Fighting Fayre", and Spiffinmoore (Wizardry) – "Oh, Curses…". We spent a good deal of time in the first two schools before moving on to other fun things. For starters, you're given a campus that you will have to raise from the ground up. This involves selecting courses, providing classrooms, building specialty study rooms, and hiring a staff to teach. Gathering professors is easy enough, you just need to learn how to balance the budget you're given every year.
Once school starts, Two Point Campus will then hit you with the hard requirements every school needs. Starting with dorm rooms, because the kids need to sleep and study somewhere that isn't a classroom. We went with creating a two-bed dorm design so that the students could have another dormmate to chat with, while also doubling up on the student capacity in case the game decided to surprise us with random new students. Another challenge we were met with was keeping the students informed by providing a library and special workstations for them to access that would help improve their studies and help them graduate faster and smarter. Both of these come up frequently, but that's the breaks when you're on a growing campus.
Next, we moved on to making sure they were fed and entertained. One of the major issues we ran into with this is that, unlike TPH, there was no option for any kind of a cafeteria. The only way to feed the student body is through kiosks, as you can see in the image below. We had to install a hotdog stand and a coffee booth, as well as a bunch of benches for people to eat from. Sure, you can put in tons of vending machines, but they don't keep the students or the staff fed as much as you thing. Speaking of which, the staff, as always, require their own break room, and students need activities around the place to keep them happy or at least stress-free. And while it isn't entertainment, you NEED bathrooms in practically every other major area of each building section. Or build a massive line of toilets and sinks. across one wall. Either way, you have to address comfort.
The courses are their own brand of insanity as you will be starting these kids with the basics and moving them up in the world in different ways. For example, in the Knight School, you have to address several specific needs based on the course such as having to deal with rival schools, tending to medical issues, and dealing with disasters. Your courses will help you teach them how to preserve the traditions of knighthood and defend your campus from a number of things that will attempt to slow down learning. Such as germs, freak injuries, and local competitions. You do so through several courses including Knight School, Gastronomy, Scientography, Virtual Normality, and Money Wangling. Eventually, they will graduate as a full-fledged knight to go do… knight stuff… in the 21st Century.
Throughout the year you're given chances to expand the campus. And at the end of every full school year, you go into "summer break" where you will decide what's best for the campus as you add new courses, hire new teachers, put your budget toward new expansions and additions, and ultimately try to make next year even more productive than before. However, not every student is a winner, and you will see some get burned out, fail classes, become depressed, question their motives for wanting to become a wizard, and more. It will be up to you to help guide them with special challenges that are thrown at you throughout the game and will help you earn points to adding new things that go to every campus and specific schools to boost morale and learning.
I really enjoyed this preview demo of Two Point Campus, as it was everything I expected the game to be and a bit more. There are a few flaws here and there, like how some of the presentations overlap each other and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track and appease every little demand. But, it's a demo, I don't expect perfection. The only really depressing part about it is that I won't get the full version until August 9th, 2022.