Academia School Simulator Review – Top of its class?

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Academia School Simulator is a management game that let’s you build the school of your dreams, everything from construction, staff and down to the crest of the school. This was released by Squeaky Wheel Studio Inc back in 2017 for Steam. Academia School Simulator the companies second game release and first in this genre. Have you ever wanted to run your own school? Then this is certainly the game you’ve been waiting for.

Academia School Simulator – Angling For An A?

As School Principal, you get to watch your students as they get bullied, find love, flunk exams, and try to survive the battlefield known as school. After looking at the steam page for this game I was super excited to play before I jumped in. Memories of Prison Architect flooded into my head and got me excited. I’ll discuss this more in the gameplay portion but I honestly highly recommend doing the tutorial first. After going in blind and I was stumped, I gave up my pride and did the tutorial. Academia School Simulator has recently just left Alpha stage 4 and is finally in V1 of its full release as of 28th January 2021.

Gameplay

Academia School Simulator is just endless in possibility. First port of call is to give your school a crest and a name. You can even pick if you have a cat or a dog! Then you cAN decide how much difficulty you want to give yourself running this school (budget, health problems and even how rowdy your students are). The amount of options even on the first page couldn’t get me ready for the building phase.

Once you’ve given your school a name and a crest, you get put in the driver’s seat to do whatever you want. If ever you struggle to know where to take your school you can be guided by “grants”. These reward you with money and bonuses. This was super handy in knowing where I was going/what to plan for in the future.

You can be as cookie-cutter as you like or go completely free-form in what you build, it’s truly endless. Personally, I failed my first attempt as I forgot humans need a bathroom in order to function properly. This resulted in students relieving themselves in the hedges outside!

Now that you have built your school you will have staff and students to manage. Usually, they’re hungry or making a mess wherever they walk. During the school year, you can get random events throughout. If done correctly you can raise your school’s renown, and earn some extra cash to spend around the school.

Despite being a very poorly organised school I did actually turn profits overall and thoroughly enjoyed my time playing.

Graphics & Audio

As with Prison Architect, Academia School Simulator has a cute pixel style that I personally enjoy seeing on simulators like this. From the classrooms, the environment and the various people you have around. The school lends to the simplistic and casual atmosphere you’d expect from a game in this genre.

The music is not especially inspired, but at the same time allows players to relax and stay upbeat without becoming repetitive. Most audio bar the background music is school bells, wildlife and traffic past the school.

Longevity

As of right now, Academia School Simulator doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, but given the genre, the need for a story is kind of minimal. Especially given that they’ve hit a home run with the simulation aspect.

A very simple genre, a spattering of random events that happen throughout the school year. One thing that was very notable however was the inclusion of disciplinary issues such as tardiness and bullying.

Overall, the longevity of Academia School Simulator is very vanilla but certainly isn’t missing anything. Given the genre and style, everything given is absolutely splendid.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I definitely feel Academia School Simulator is a great game. The casual and relaxing nature of the genre washes over you instantly. If you like calm games where you can switch your brain off and be creative, look no further. I hope there are more modes introduced eventually to stop it from going stale. All in all, i’m very glad to award this game the Thumb Culture Gold Award. Hopefully over the coming months there will be more added to make this game more fleshed out.

 


Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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One thought on “Academia School Simulator Review – Top of its class?

  1. Did the game get added to after this point? I enjoyed Prison Architect and this game had the same lead artist with the team having a similar game to that in mind, as can be seen by his active presence in the steam forums.

    Although I’ve only played on Easy mode so far (ie all the options mentioned in the review set generously) I agree it’s a much more chilled out experience. No constant struggle with contraband and bloody riots thankfully! Although even on easy budget I failed my first school by not building the classrooms needed to open within the initial budget.

    From there though it’s not a hard trial and error to get the student’s needs satisfied and work toward getting them their best possible grades! The year ticks over quickly and more students (and therefore income) want in your school, soon snowballing to where you can afford to get more ambitious with your setup! Add to that the above mentioned grants and you can get into that position even quicker!

    You are dealing with 4 years of students each with names and some variety in appearance, as well as likely having 6 faculty teachers also each with names and individual stats. Even the Janitors and Cooks have names! All these make it an addictive pleasure to watch the school schedule tick over in the place you’ve built, check how the students are doing in their subjects down to individuals if you want, building and tweaking as creatively as you like.

    I personally have 3 schools running rather than grinding one into excess and boredom, which is made enticing partially by having 10 uniforms to choose from which can help you feel reason to create a different environment. And if you don’t like the uniforms you can download fanmade mods to replace them off steam workshop or quite easily create your own, along with mods for other areas of the game and game-saves.

    Now for the disclaimer that I do tend to find school based games a treat, and as the review mentions there isn’t a story mode so the game only really lasts as long as you enjoy getting up to your own devices. Still there’s an addictive gameplay loop and plenty of grants and steam achievements you could set your sights on, and a sandbox of imagination to get creative in.

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