The clear successor to Bullfrog Theme Hospital, and led by part of that game design team, Two Point Hospital DNA is filled with much of the same absurd sense of humor and user-friendly simplicity that made the original so beloved by fans.
This time, however, developer Two Point Studios is breaking with its past and tackling a game with a completely different theme, albeit with the same simulator mechanics that have made Two Point Hospital so popular.
Two Point Campus features players managing their own educational institution as they try to make sure students, teachers and other staff are happy enough while keeping their bank balances out of the red zone.
While there’s some concern that moving out of a hospital setting will result in a less funny game – after all, that’s what makes the dark comedy Two Point Hospital so funny – than what we played on Campus, that doesn’t seem to be the case so far.
The game still has countless jokes, graphics, and humorous text scattered freely, from nonsensical courses that players can set up to recurring receptionists whose regular loudspeaker announcements are a constant source of excitement.
The preview we just showed you consists of four separate tiers, each set on a different themed campus. The first, Freshleigh Meadows, is level training and teaches players the basics of building rooms, hiring staff, locating facilities, and meeting student need.
This startup campus offers two study programs. In the first year, students can enroll in Scientography where they use giant tools with giant pistons and giant hammers to learn all things scientific. After completing the first year, players can expand the campus with virtual normality courses set in a VR lab.
The second stage, Piazza Lanatra, focuses more on culinary education. While the previous two courses may be added later to increase the number of students, the core course offered here is a gastronomy degree which teaches students how to prepare a variety of dishes (usually large, such as pizza or giant cakes).
The third level takes place on a medieval-themed campus called Noblestead – this is where students attend Knight School, where they learn swordplay and skirmishes.
This level also introduces new mechanics such as medical issues, disasters, and rival schools (where other students show up to fight and must be dispatched by trained janitors).
Finally, the fourth stage of the preview we played with was Spiffinmoore, which was clearly inspired by everything in Harry Potter. Of course, all things wand-based is the main subject here, with separate Witches and Dark Artists courses available for students.
This phase also adds additional non-educational elements for players to consider, including credit management and the need to take care of the environment around campus.
Although each campus has its own theme, the general game cycle remains the same. Players must ensure their campus thrives by attracting a steady stream of students each year, using their tuition fees to expand in subsequent academic years, adding more courses, and buying lots around to build expansion buildings.
However, it is not easy to set up several rooms and sit down to watch the money come in. As in real life, each course lasts for several semesters and this means that different subjects are studied over the course of the study.
Although the game follows a calendar like most sim titles, it takes the form of a school schedule in which the class of each course is scheduled for the year. However, some courses take place in different rooms or require different equipment.
For example, in the gastronomy major, students spend their freshman year in the spicy kitchen, where they take courses with names like “Salt, Pepper, and Hottest Meatballs.”
In the second year, however, their classes go beyond the savory, and some of their classes are in the sweet kitchen, where they learn how to make desserts. Which is well and good if you have Sweet Kitchen.
The game gives you enough warnings when there are upcoming classes that require certain things, but if you don’t have the money to build them in time, problems will arise. After all, students here pay a lot of money for a first-class education.
One thing that surprised us while playing Two Point Campus was how easy it was to build things. As you can see in our gameplay video embedded at the top of this article, it’s very easy to put together a working base campus from scratch in no time.
This is also the case with Two Point Hospital, but it looks like the interface has been tweaked to make things more user-friendly.
The quality of life improvements added to the post-release hospital are here, including the ability to clone entire rooms and save templates. This means that if you build the perfect lecture hall and need a second one after a few years of school, you can simply copy and paste the existing space instead of building it from scratch in (very short) time.
While we’ve only spent a few hours with Two Point Campus at this point, it seems clear that Two Point Studio will likely have another winner here.
The game should be out by now, but has been pushed back to August – this will ensure that any remaining minor bugs are resolved, although for now (only based on the early stages of course) everything feels nice and stable and smooth.
More importantly, what we’ve played so far has been great fun, and Two Point Studio is well aware of what has worked before and has no qualms relying on that power for the sequel. Lessons have been learned, one might say.