Academia: School Simulator – Review
Follow Genre: Simulator, Manager
Developer: Squeaky Wheel Studio Inc
Publisher: Squeaky Wheel Studio Inc
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, Android
Tested on: PC

Academia: School Simulator – Review

Site Score
6.8
Good: An accessible sim with a sandbox feeling
Bad: Poor balance in cash flow compared to (basic) creation
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

With an overload of sim games, there is pretty much a sim for everybody out there. Prison Architect, Goat Simulator, The Sims, Eurotruck Simulator, the list goes on and on. Ever wanted to try and recreate the sadistic time that used to be your high school experience? Or maybe test your management skills? Then Academia: School Simulator might be the sim for you.

Story

Academia: School Simulator is one of those games where you get to create your own story. You do so by simply playing the game and building up a school the way you think is right. On a micro-level, there is some story going on when looking at the reactions of students and faculty in your school, but on a macro-level, the connecting factor to a “new game” mode seems to be missing. This is a point of critique as well because the game could actually very well use something that’s allowing you to grow in understanding the game, leading up to an ultimate end goal. Right now every game mode feels more or less the same while playing, aside from some interesting variations such as the scenario mode. A good thing is that there are many customization options to make your school feel like yours.

Graphics

The graphics in this game look tight and clean! While the characters might be simple, Academia: School Simulator gets its communication right. It’s easy to keep the entire game organized and there are even search tools available when you need to look for a certain object. It’s organized great and rooms are decorated with big letters, indicating which room is what. The game has the great same crisp quality completely zoomed out, as well as completely zoomed in, which is nice.

Sound

To keep it short, the music in Academia: School Simulator is not so great. It’s actually rather annoying how low the quality of the music is, in the level of noisiness and the loops, though sometimes it also has somewhat the sale chill vibes as music from The Sims. The sound effects are a lot better though, and it’s cool to see that you can zoom in to listen in on a room. Academia tends to pay attention to the micro-level as much as it does to the macro, just like with the graphics.

Gameplay

Academia: School Simulator is a game that’s easily comparable to Prison Architect. Aside from being a management and creation simulator, the game almost literally plays like Prison Architect. You can designate zones, build walls and floors, and place objects wherever you want. The designated zones will tell you what they need to fulfill their designations, such as becoming a “cafeteria” or a “toilet”. Complete the requirements and you got yourself a room that’s being used by students and faculty. Academia: School Simulator even has an impressive blueprint mode, where you can extensively plan out everything you want to create in the future. So far, all the good things.

Where in games such as Roller Coaster Tycoon the cash flow is decided by your visitors paying entrance fees, such mechanics don’t limit your gameplay. You might just need to save a bit for your creations. The cash flow in Academia: School Simulator is a lot harder to manage. Not only is your main income coming from student admissions which is essentially a once-a-year thing, but it’s also very hard to guess how much money you will lose on building new stuff such as classrooms. Aside from giving you just enough to cram those students together in a tight space, the game’s main issue is being terribly unclear in what your students really need after that and what the consequences will be if they i.e. do not have a cafeteria for a while. These are things you will have to discover by trial and error, meaning that, as a new player, you will probably have to start over a couple of times. This is really a poor design choice. As much as we encourage developers to not baby their players, holding some hands at the start really is a necessity up to a point in games such as these.

The long-term objectives in a main new game are also unclear. This is why we would advise new players to start with scenarios because they are somewhat easier and not forcing you to start from scratch. Then there is also the research system. Researching is a requirement to unlock even the most basic elements you’d expect to find in a school sim game. Elements such as janitors who can clean all the crap students leave behind, or hall monitors to face delinquents. It’s just a weird choice to lock away such basic elements you’d expect in a game like this, especially when the game already gives you little money to start with and has little ways to improve your cash flow. A shame, because playing around in the game is actually really fun. This is why it’s a good thing that there’s a sandbox mode, but you shouldn’t feel forced to flee to something that’s not the main mode at all. Despite the long road that Academia: School Simulator has already walked, there are definitely some game mechanics that need fine-tuning.

Conclusion

Academia: School Simulator is a fun yet tiresome game. Creating and planning is all the fun, being limited by figuring out the best approach to survive like the poorest investor ever is not. We felt the researching system is broken as it limits the basics you’d expect to find in a school as well. A shame, because aside from the terribly strict “normal” settings, the game has a lot to offer.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Academia: School Simulator - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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