Ever wanted to see if you could do a better job running the education system?! Well now you can with Academia: School Simulator! Let’s see if you can make it suck less than your actual high school did. Academia gives you all the tools you’ll need to design, build, and welcome in students, teachers, and staff. You’ll work towards goals to earn grant money and increase the reputation of your school, passing up any rival schools in the rankings (I hope). The game just released on steam so grab it while it’s fresh!
If you’ve watched the trailer or seen the game at all you’ll of course get some very familiar vibes from a game called Prison Architect, which is developed by a completely different company but has the same artist Personally, I haven’t played it and have limited experience watching the actual mechanics so I’ll have to leave it at face value. From what I’ve seen, however, I’d say Squeaky Wheel has done a good job of taking the style and making it their own.
I really like this style of game. I like the art, I like the challenge of it, and overall I had a lot of fun playing it. I’m looking forward to playing a lot more of it and hope they continue adding to it over the months to come.
At the beginning of the game, you are able to choose all your school’s basic attributes: title, motto, colors, uniforms, principal type, and difficulty level. There is a decent amount of customization to change the gameplay and I started on just normal default to test things out. I didn’t really see a lot of tutorial type pop-ups or guidance but that could have been me not paying close enough attention. As a result, I felt a little thrown into the game ut since it’s not my first time playing a builder game it wasn’t too much of an issue. If you aren’t however it might take you a few minutes to get acquainted with the UI and hotkeys before you feel comfortable.
In order to make money in the game, you will have to select grants and do the objectives to earn funding. You’ll have more money to start building with if you start on easy mode, which I highly recommend if you’re new to this style of game.
The first thing you’ll need to do is build an office and hire your principal. There will be 15 students in each class (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) so you’ll build 1 classroom for each and hire a teacher for each school subject. Be sure to pay attention to the grants in your list so you know what you should be building/aiming for. Be sure you read everything because that’s where to tips are on how to find things in the UI!
Check! Done! Woo!
Do you like that dopamine hit of accomplishing goals and checking things off lists? If so you’ll love this game! Seriously, I was plowing my way through objectives for grants for the few hours I played. It felt gooooooood y’all! Very satisfying. I totally built my school in perhaps the most inefficient way possible but hey, it was still a fun time. Lessons were definitely learned for playing through it next time.
In addition, there are little scenarios and events that pop up throughout the game that give you a little extra to break things up and add something new. You’ll get an end of the year report to give you stats of how you did in several categories and give you a rank. A lot of information can be found out during the year via the different UI and charts.
I really do like the graphics in this game. Everything is simplistic but nice and clean. Text is easy to read and nothing hurts my brain. There’s even a warning at the title screen which is animated to make it static to avoid dizziness/illness – something I greatly appreciate as someone who’s got pretty sensitive sim sickness.
Grab yourself a copy!