Two Point Hospital came at the perfect time - managing to capture the nostalgia of Theme Hospital, the charm of modern games and enough humour to make even its somewhat depressing setting feel almost hopeful.
Two Point Campus is both a stark realisation that everyone gets older and a brilliant new direction to take the world. I can't wait to see what it becomes when it finishes its education.
Like its predecessor, Two Point Campus takes its time with you at the start. As you might expect from the name, you are tasked with creating, maintaining and growing your own campus for hundreds of incoming college students. This requires building your own classes, hiring the right people and keeping everyone content with food, entertainment, clubs and even the facilities to form new relationships.
It quickly snowballs as your scientography students line the corridors alongside knights, clowns and some VR obsessed geeks. It's this wide range of options and classes that lets Two Point Campus free to explore tonnes of locations, styles and different jokes.
You can go at your own pace by spending points in the right classes and buying more grounds at the right moments but, if you really have what it takes, you can throw that all out the window and micromanage every last decision. You can do this by sending staff off at the right time, training them or expelling anyone who doesn't reach your standards.
On my third year of the second main unlockable campus, I expelled someone who was about to fail - just because I didn't want a failed student at the end of the year awards. They got sad and stormed off-campus. Five minutes later, three more students had the same problem. Turns out I had nowhere to sit or sleep on any of the campuses and my students were all exhausted.
Adamant it was somehow the student's fault for not paying attention to the right clumping of pixels on the screen, it bit me back months down the line when I found out it was all my fault.
It's these tiny little watercooler moments that tell the story of Two Point Campus. Now onto my fourth main campus, I'm constantly tempted to swap right back and see what new things I can discover.
A New Year
In Two Point Campus, you are constantly working towards something new. As well as saving up your money and making the right space for everything, you earn Kudosh through challenges and goals. This can be spent to unlock new items to put around campus.
Your students will regularly tell you their dreams and objectives and, if you want to keep them all happy, you need to find a way to help them out. This, alongside relationships, stats and more, leaves you genuinely caring about the students that arrive at your campus.
Part of the magic of Two Point Campus is how personable and charming every little inch of it is. You can often just pick one person and follow them around, waiting for them to interact with their classmates, go to class and fall asleep at the end of the day in the newly renovated dormitory.
This ability to just watch a living ecosystem thrive is part of what made Theme Hospital stand out all those years ago and Two Point Campus knows this. You are often left facing the consequences of small decisions you've made last year in a way that makes you feel knowledgable about what's going on, even if you find yourself bankrupt next year.
This ability to watch everyone through their success promotes a certain level of creativity in the way you go about running your own college. While you may learn habits like placing sanitizer at every doorway, you can never fully prepare for an earthquake or outbreak.
This leaves you hiring seven janitors for the right moment, building your classes in odd shapes and building far too many dorms, just to keep your campus afloat.
Ultimately, the college experience is one about personal discovery, new experiences and a transitional state into adulthood. Two Point Campus represents Two Point County hitting its majority. It is a validation that this formula can work outside of a hospital and, from what I've played so far, it absolutely nails it.
Two Point Campus Preview Thoughts
Two Point Campus is a goofy, charming encapsulation of a formative time of your life. Though we all have to move on and go to new heights, there's no shame in indulging in the past just a little. Especially when it's so fun. Two Point Campus still has a few things to iron out before it launches in a few months but what I've seen so far makes for an excellent addition to a pretty wonderful world. Although the jump from hospital to campus is a big one, we all need to make scary steps sometimes.