Back-to-school is edging ever closer and if you are curious about how hard it is to run one you’re in luck.
Sega has delivered a sequel to its popular Two Point Hospital city-building game by turning its focus on academia.
On the surface, this is no boring delve into school budgets and creaking poorly-funded government infrastructure.
It’s a cartoon hoot-a-minute look at a mash-up between an all-American fictional college system and a very British sense of humour.
So expect vampire pupils, power napping clubs, epic student rock gigs complete with laser shows and sporting campus games of cheeseball.
But as time goes on and the hand-holding tutorials die off into what are effectively 12 themed sandboxes, you’ll find yourself playing a wonderfully humoured, deep and progressive management simulator.
One that allows you plenty of freedom to design huge, beautifully constructed educational institutions or small, bonkers wizard or dragon-slaying schools and everything in between.
The tempo of an academic year is perfectly set as the makers give you a small basic set-up when you start.
You’re tasked each time to improve the school, make it your own with experimentation and creativity, eventually successfully improving both your financial bottom line and, more importantly, your kids’ knowledge and grades.
There’s a direct reward between keeping the pupils well-rounded and happy, supporting their learning, and doing well in this game.
That’s welcomed as you’re then challenged to not only offer strong classes in their chosen subjects, like providing rooms for magic spells or a laser science lab, but also places to eat, sleep, have fun and socialise.
So you find yourself spending as much time on designing garden layouts for the right ambience to encourage pupil interaction as you do hiring top teachers to boost their intelligence.
Then there’s the bonkers elements too that give it a unique Two Point twist, so expect to spend the money you earn from pupil tuition fees on things like hiring rock bands for party nights, fairground punchbag machines and arcade games for entertainment.
It all makes the kids happier after all, as long as they knuckle down for some learning at some point.
Under the hood, you also have to keep on top of mess by hiring janitors, adding in bins too, and your walls will start to get adorned with artwork and corners will soon have a smattering of indoor plants as the requests come in to give the place a more attractive look.
Fancy garden fountains, park benches, even mazes and outdoor food stands all add increasing layers to what eventually becomes quite the plate-spinning act for any wannabe school leader.
It’s all sprinkled with giggly, schoolboy humour and as the game never takes itself too seriously you can’t ever feel too frustrated with it either.
The user interface is simplistic and intuitive but also detailed and it never overwhelms.
That allows you to relax and really ping yourself at speed around the sandbox, building out an epic campus without ever breaking stride.
Two Point Campus is huge fun, packed with laughs and has a real British feel to it, despite the visually American sheen.
It’s cartoon design is full of character and deep down it’s a really involved city builder of a game offering a strong challenge of your creative mind.
Well worth giving a go if you’re subscribed to Xbox Game Pass, as it is included in that package and can even be streamed over the cloud, but for £35 on other systems, it is still a great summer title to get your creative juices flowing.