Two Point Campus Review - Remedial Classes
Updated: Jul 7
Two Point Campus is the follow-up to 2018's Two Point Hospital, itself a spiritual successor to games like Theme Hospital. I'll say upfront that I didn't particularly enjoy TPH and probably wouldn't have bothered with TPC at all (certainly not at launch) had it not been included with Gamepass. TPH was a silly, fairly lightweight management game that suffered from many levels that were overly long and didn't always communicate important information clearly. You also ended up with hospitals that didn't look anything like real hospitals and had the Anno 1800 problem of not being able to tell that your systems were overloaded until everything was on fire.
TPC swaps hospitals for a university setting and fixes precisely none of those problems while adding plenty of new ones. You still deal with aggravating problems like students who complain about needing the bathroom when there are loads of open stalls nearby and the game gives no explanation as to why they're upset. Classrooms all almost inevitably look ridiculous because most of them require an object that's almost as large as the minimum room size, but levels also discourage you from making them much larger by not giving you much more room than what you need to fit the required classrooms when at a full student load for a given major.
It's at its worst when you're starting a new academic year. You earn points you can use to upgrade your course offerings or buy new majors, but you can't see what new rooms and staff will be required until after you've spent the points and there are no refunds. If you decide to spend your 20 points on adding Scientography as a second major only to discover it requires a room you can't fit or a professor you can't afford, you're just screwed. This strongly encourages never branching out beyond the starting courses and maybe one additional major, but even then you can be ruined by a surprise requirement for a third classroom that's only going to be used once all year. This is bafflingly terrible design.
Still, that's not what ruined the game for me. It wasn't even the tedious decoration system that punishes you for not filling every room with random decorations, nor the utterly pointless temperature system that means you have to add an air conditioner or heater. No, it was a tag team effort from grades and annual objectives. You see, the later levels love to offer goals like "have 30 Knighthood A+ students graduate" or "extract 15 artifacts" that don't sound problematic at first glance. The trouble, though, is that these can take absolutely forever to complete and you'll spend most of that time watching the game on (not nearly fast enough) fast forward as it ticks toward the goal. It's hard to know why students are getting the grade they are since that's impacted by several different systems and is never fully explained, but if you've completed every other objective and only have 29 A+ students graduate, well, that's another year of watching the game play itself for you. The artifacts used in the jungle level are by far the worst sinners because each classroom usually only extracts one per year, so hitting 15 will almost certainly require several years of doing nothing.
And that's still not everything that's terrible! Some levels have objectives for higher star counts that require significant new construction, which can be actually impossible to complete without saving up for ages to completely remodel the university. Others ask you to win a sports match or other competition but provide zero feedback about the outcome of the game, so you're left to just repeatedly retry until it suddenly works for some reason. Oh, and all of this is happening while you listen to an almost painfully unfunny PA voice that recycles about a dozen lines over and over again. Mute it for your own sanity.
The only positive things I can say about this game are that I didn't run into any major bugs, the background music is pleasant, and I mostly like the way it looks. I had fun for the first few levels, but I can't give it much credit for that since it ended up ruining almost all of those systems by the end. Other people have enjoyed this game, clearly, but I have no idea why. I wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the end if it wasn't passable as a podcast game, and even then I only barely made it to minimum completion without tearing my hair out.
Time to beat: 20-ish hours. Gamepass doesn't show playtime.
MSRP: Too much. Play it on Gamepass if you absolutely must.