“Staff Announcement, Incoming patients with Bloaty Head.” It seems so long ago when I popped in Theme Hospital for the first time on my PlayStation. Colorful images of doctors popping patient’s inflated noggins off and the voice of someone over the loudspeaker popping off witty one-liners came back in a flood of memories after I discovered a spiritual successor to the series was announced. Two Point Hospital from Two Point Studios delivered on the nostalgia I had for the original series.
I’m happy to say it improved it in almost every single way. Following the success of Two Point Hospital, we were blessed with a sequel announcement around this time last year. Instead of donning the blue scrubs, fans get to put on their best jersey, wizarding hat, or suit of armor for a college experience like no other.
Titled Two Point Campus, this sequel from SEGA and Two Point Studios puts you in the shoes of a head honcho of a university. If you played Two Point Hospital and its cornucopia of game expansions, the design and gameplay should feel familiar to you. Two Point Campus builds on TP Hospital’s previous concept and gives fans a more in-depth experience than ever before.
Let’s hit the books
If you’ve never played any of their business sim games before, let me give you a brief course overview. Like in Two Point Hospital, the main campaign goal is to make your business thrive and earn those three stars so you can hop on to the next level. You are in control of your campus from top to bottom: Design the layout of your school, hire staff, and keep your students happy. Of course, you’re not just forming a square on the map and adding a door. You have to furnish the rooms and corridors with a variety of items. These can range from vending machines (I’ve been craving cheesy gubbins for the past week) and chairs, to a Crazy Taxi arcade cabinet and fortune telling table.
In Two Point Campus, that customization is taken to the next level. Unlike Two Point Hospital, Campus now lets you swish and flick your creative wands on the exterior. It is called Two Point CAMPUS, after all. Pick and drop your hedges, statues, benches, and dragon towers wherever you’d like. When you purchase a plot of land, you can choose to terraform it without any buildings and create your own. Why need one giant building, when you can build four tinier ones?
The (Two Point) Campus life
For me, the highlight of Two Point Campus is the focus on the actual students attending the campus. Sure, you still have to tend to your existing staff with training and promotions, but following the students through their four year journey at your campus feels extra special and wholesome. In Two Point Hospital, once you cured the patient, you take their money, say sayonara, and they’re out the door. As the all-knowing god-hand of Two Point Campus, it’s your duty to give your students a fulfilling college experience. There are a number of ways to achieve this, and they are an integral piece of the giant campus puzzle that gives you the three-star ratings.
What’s a university experience without a dorm? Well, I guess you can just take the bus to school like I did, but that wouldn’t be any fun or fulfilling. In TP Campus, dorms are necessary to house all of your students. As your university grows and more students enroll, you will need more dormitories. If you don’t build enough of these bad boys, your students will become unhappy, tired, and affect their school grades. That goes for friendships and relationships, too. There are a number of ways to make their relationships flourish.
Set up some love seats around the campus grounds and watch the sparks fly, or pepper in some clubs throughout the grounds and have them be part of something bigger than themselves. And by that, I mean joining a power-nap club and increasing their energy, or signing up for a gardening club and sprucing up my shrubbery. Making sure your students are fulfilled and happy increases their performance and nabs them better grades in class. Guess what happens when your students are performing well? Your monthly income increases! It’s all one symbiotic circle, as Obi-wan Kenobi used to say, and I loved every minute of it.
Whole, new worlds
When it comes to level creativity, Two Point Studios knocked it out of the park. You initially start off in a standard, run-of-the mill campus. Once you pass the first level, you’re whisked away to the culinary capital of the world, where students hone their craft to become the next Gordon Ramsay. It doesn’t stop there, ladies and gentlemen. They even have a medieval-themed campus, a university where you can create the ultimate Cheesy Gubbins sports team, and an archaeological dig site for all you Mummy and Jurassic Park enthusiasts. There’s a ton of variety and each campus comes with its own set of challenges. If the campaign is not really your bag, you can also just play in Sandbox Mode and start from scratch. Who needs restriction on their creative freedom, anyway?
I’m not sure if anyone else had this same issue, but the only small gripe I had was some tiny glitches while I was playing the game. While I would create a new room, the trees that surrounded the campus buildings would turn red. The game claimed they were now in the way of something and had to be moved or deleted. When hiring new staff, I would also get the occasional glitch where the staff person would disappear when I set them down. It’s nothing terrible, but I hope those instances get fixed in a patch.
Two Point Campus final thoughts
At the end of the day, this is exactly what I wanted in a Two Point Hospital sequel. Two Point Hospital was a wonderful spiritual successor to a cherished childhood game, but Two Point Campus graduates the series to a whole other level. Watching your students learn and grow through their four-year journey is extremely satisfying, and the features they give you to make that a reality kept me entertained for hours on end. Combine that with a charming variety of levels, their trademark humor, easily-accessible UI, and you’ve got top marks from this longtime fan.