Education, as I am reminded every time I'm overcome by a wave of masochism and log in to the Student Loans Company website, ain't free. Except this time it is, because Two Point Campus—last year's comedic university management sim that took pride of place as our own Katie Wickens' personal GOTY pick—is letting you play it for free this weekend on Steam.
This is Two Point's follow-up to its Theme Hospital-like Two Point Hospital, which you could probably tell from the name, and continues its medical predecessor's trend of surreal humour and mild catastrophe. To celebrate its first birthday, it's free to try until Monday, July 31, and is 50% off until August 10 too, if the free period convinces you the provost's life is the one for you.
This is a management game in the classic Bullfrog vein: You'll spend a lot of time hiring and firing peculiar little weirdos and laying down blueprints for your myriad facilities. You balance a budget, make sure your students are tolerably happy while you wring them dry, and in general try to ensure the entire edifice of your venerable institution doesn't collapse under the weight of its contradictions and discontent. It's basically a one-to-one simulation of running a real university, in essence.
To give you some idea of the academic opportunities on offer here, Two Point Campus' classes consist of things like wizardry, espionage, and one of the expansions sends your students into space. In his Two Point Campus review, PCG's Fraser Brown called it "a guaranteed good time, bursting with energy, charisma and slapstick shenanigans" even if it "ends up feeling beholden to the model of Two Point Hospital".
Plus, if you're in the right millennial age bracket, it might prove to be one of the most potently nostalgic experiences you've had in a while. Not bad for (temporarily) free.