Two Point Campus is a management sim that tasks you with creating idyllic and well-functioning university buildings, thriving under the pressures of educational achievement and, hopefully, making a beautiful home for students and staff alike. What it also teaches you is a very hard lesson in managing your finances while forcing you to constantly question your own morals.
You’re the decision maker of your campuses’ desires and sometimes you might decide to skimp a bit for your own monetary gain. Say, deciding your students can make do with a few haphazardly placed vending machines as opposed to a luxurious, assistant-run food kiosk full of culinary delights. Or, maybe even just bung a fridge in their student lounge. Two Point Campus will consistently put you at a crossroads of your own moral compass and how you choose to follow it is up to you.
There’s a lot of decisions to be made as you construct your campus and there’s an incredibly fine line between making money fast or spending with a longer term goal in mind. Two Point Campus, while teaching your students in a variety of fun courses like robotics, dark arts, and knight school, will also teach you a fantastic lesson in how to get the best out of management sims.
For anyone unaware of the work of developer Two Point Studios, they’re the shining stars responsible for Two Point Hospital, the modern-day reimagining of 1997’s Theme Hospital. For many players, there’s a lot of nostalgia from Bullfrog Productions’ original game that has successfully continued into its spiritual successors. From allocating staff members jobs to callouts from the receptionist over the intercom, and janitors cleaning up discarded litter from the corridors, all of these nuances carry into this same but different successor. In Two Point Campus, you’re looking to run an impressive university experience and, while the gameplay didn’t feel entirely new, the aesthetic of running a campus instead of a hospital was a different experience. This makes Two Point Campus one of the best PC games.
Taking the reins of university life
I found myself (let’s call me the unfortunately-named Dean Dean for the sake of this narrative) at the helm of a variety of different campuses — from a dilapidated and haunted castle to a spritely and competitive knight school. First up: the tutorial levels. A stalwart for Two Point and Theme Hospital alike to get you used to the setup, I’ve been brought into the fold as a privately-funded owner looking to achieve a coveted star rating, impress inspectors, and build a university that students want to stay at. (It doesn’t hurt that they bring hefty tuition fees with them that I can lavish on bulking up my campus).
Albert Crank, a well-spoken informative man, is my initial helper, guiding me through my first academic year and showing me the ropes. There’s a checklist of goals that follow you as you progress, from achieving an average grade amongst your enrolled students to defending your campus from invaders, but we’ll get into that later. To start most of your academic years, there’s campus requirements such as building a dormitory, staff room, bathroom, shower room, and so on, to ensure that the university can indeed function. Luckily, you’re given a chance each summer to reinvigorate the campus and make any required, or wanted, changes before students busy the halls once more. And, with the school year mapped out, it felt pacey.
Every year revolves around pleasing your campus residents, whether that’s scheduling in an all-important entertainment boost with a party in the student union, posting up decorative items like posters and water coolers to aid in your campus’ attractiveness, or making sure there’s enough beds in your dormitories so that everyone can sleep well at night. A tired student is not a happy one.
Your students have needs and they aren’t afraid to tell you about them. Whilst you plan your layout and later realize it’s terrible and you need to move everything around, additional rooms and items are requested both by the powers that be and the students themselves. If you fulfill these needs, you’re rewarded with both cash and Kudosh (the in-game currency that unlocks new items and customisation). Both of which can then be spent on bettering your campus, and thus continues the everlasting cycle of thrive, survive, and — as I quickly began to fall into — deprive.
Don’t spend it all at once
As with most management games, your whole success, or chance of such, is dictated by how much money you have to spend. As Dean, I needed to build rooms to house my student’s and staff’s needs, but while I was given starting funds, the cash ran out. This is where the deprivation kicked in. I learnt that patience is key, but patience isn’t one of my strong suits, so I was going to make some mistakes. I fell into a trap of rushing for an easy fix by throwing money at it. Say, I’ll just cut down existing rooms to fit in more, or purchase additional (and quite expensive) plots instead of addressing and fixing layout issues myself. Or I’d just straight up delete luxuries I once thought I could afford to make my students survive on the lowest rung. But that meant they’d eventually threaten to not pay their tuition fees.
For a more patient owner who has the capacity to wait and think rationally about their decisions, each room can be picked up and moved. They can also be reduced in size. There’s a wonderful array of customization options for creating a university campus to be proud of. But, for me, much like my time in games like The Sims, I opted for hard and fast to achieve my goals and then learnt an hour or so in that the game wasn’t going to let me “cheat” the system. It got progressively harder and realizing I was in this for the long haul, I was going to have to take a long, unyielding look at myself first and reconsider my slapdash ways.
The beauty of the Two Point Campus mechanics is that it won’t let you get away with it. Whilst the management sim lets you learn the lessons, it also teaches you that you have to be better. As you progress through the game, more is asked of you. Your students become more fussy, your grades need to be more competitive, and your need to reach a certain campus level in order to achieve a star rating, which will let you move on, is assigned to you whether you like it or not. So, if your campus is functioning at a low-level, you just won’t get any further. This proved a challenge and, honestly, one that was quite welcome.
Finding the sweet spot
In Two Point Campus, it’s all about the balance between managing expectations and managing your budget. A consistent tug-of-war in this management sim and one that has been part of the series from the very beginning.
One year, I’d be winning awards for my campus, collecting my hard-earned accolade at the end of the academic calendar and feeling pretty good about myself. The next year, I’d be met by my first failing student and panic force any future D grades or lower into private tuition. There’s true ups and downs to your experience and you’re constantly measured up for how you’re doing with tasks to complete, end-of-year overviews and, of course, whether you’ve got enough money to keep the place up and running.
And then, a few campuses into my tenure, I learnt about loans. As Dean Dean, I was brought in to rescue the run-down, and seemingly cursed wizardry academy by taking out a big loan to turn the place around. At this point, random events were thrown in, the level of tasks I was given to achieve seemed to take a steep turn, and I was glad that the game had, to this point, taught me the hard lessons of finance because I wouldn’t have survived. Two Point will make you put in the work, but it’ll damn well reward you for your patience.
Two Point Campus MacOS performance
I was pleasantly surprised by how Two Point Campus ran on my MacBook Pro. I’m used to having to turn up the volume on my headphones to drown out the fan working away busily, but for Two Point Campus, the game was running well.
It also helped that there is an abundance of screen resolutions on offer from 2688 x 1680 at 59hz down to 1152 x 720 at 59hz and seven variations in-between. There was also the option of full screen window, exclusive full screen, maximized window, and windowed.
It didn’t hurt that I could also choose my quality preset from very low to very high and, while opting for low, I noted that the graphics didn’t suffer and I was still able to enjoy the cartoon-y, vibrant aesthetics of a Two Point Studios game.
Two Point Campus MacOS benchmarks and requirements
As mentioned, I opted to play on my 2019, 16-inch MacBook Pro with 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9 and an Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB. I ran into no glitches or freezing while running Two Point Campus through Steam and I’d happily continue to play it for hours assured that my fairly simplistic setup could handle it.
Two Point Campus is also available on PC, PlayStation 5 and 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch and Xbox Game Pass for PC and console. Having played the inspiration for it all, Theme Hospital, on both PC and PlayStation, I’d be interested to try it out on console when I no doubt decide to replay it.
For macOS, the minimum requirements are a 64-bit processor and operating system, macOS 12.1, a Intel Core i5 8259U 2.3 GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 775M GPU with 2GB video memory, AMD Radeon 555 GPU with 2GB, or Intel Iris Plus 655 GPU.
Two Point Campus is a shining example of the work that Two Point Studios does best, creating a complex management sim that tests you, your patience, and your skills across a multitude of tasks.
It’s a tried-and-tested method of gaming for Two Point Studios, sure, but one that they’ve seamlessly translated into a university campus environment. I can’t say that I didn’t feel it flew, at times, incredibly close to its predecessor. However, I can say that it’s not a factor that would put me off enjoying it, and the upgraded, redesigned, and reformulated gameplay was very welcome.
For anyone who enjoys managing from above and relishing in hard-fought achievements, Two Point Campus is a game that will provide you with hours of fun. I’m eight hours in and I’m still revisiting old campuses that I grew fond of, enjoying new ones, and returning to campuses that are proving the ultimate challenge.