From the developer behind My Time at Portia and, more recently, My Time at Sandrock, Pathea Games brings an all-new school simulator that offers a fun new addition to the genre held up by titles such as Two Point Campus. While the management, building, and wackiness are all present in Let’s School, the simpler, toned-down core of the game makes it one that fans of the genre will appreciate but may not really move the needle for those looking for the next great management sim.
Starting off at humble beginnings, you’ve received a letter from your old headmaster that the school you previously graduated from has fallen on hard times. Passing the torch onto you, the player must delve into renovations, hire teachers and recruit students while managing expectations, aspirations, and your pocketbook.
The story in Let’s School is, more or less, irrelevant as you slide immediately into the management sim portion of the game following the brief intro and selection of your school uniforms and logo, but having that classic “receive a letter to take over the business,” story like in games like Stardew Valley, is a nice touch.
After deciding on the school colours, uniform, logo, and your own avatar, you enter the tutorial phase of the game, which leads directly into the main portion, which is all about classes, expansion, and upgrading teachers and students.
“The story in Let’s School is, more or less, irrelevant as you slide immediately into the management sim portion of the game…”
Starting off with a major portion of the game, building is crucial to ensuring you have the proper facilities to keep your staff and students happy and enough students in class to earn enough to maintain all of it. With a simple-to-use building system, Let’s School doesn’t get too bogged down in the details, allowing you to easily add expansions to your current buildings and decorate simply but effectively. Saving room formats makes things even easier when trying to expand, which keeps you from getting lost designing structures for hours on the pause button.
From there, things get a little bit more tricky, as the management portion of the game can feel a bit more slow-moving and difficult to keep up with at times. As you recruit students to the school and hire a few teachers, you’ll find that those teachers early-game aren’t really great at their jobs, so training them is necessary to get all your students to pass their classes. This process is expensive though, so balancing that with expansion and adding basic necessities to the downtrodden school, like a playground or food tent, have to be decided between, while your earnings are pretty low.
Setting up your classroom schedule and assigning teachers makes sense, but once your school gets larger and you’ve got multiple classrooms and tons of classes to offer, managing can get a bit confusing. Auto-scheduling can help alleviate some of this, but it takes up some of the time you saved on the building process, especially considering you have to keep the student’s aspirations in mind so that they take the classes they are looking for.
From there, the last real major mechanic is upgrading, which I have previously mentioned with teachers needing training in order to get students to a passing grade, but students can also be upgraded through a 5-star system that makes them more valuable as well. Wacky antics and discipline add a touch of that craziness you’d find in Two Point Campus or its spiritual predecessor, Theme Hospital, but Let’s School definitely doesn’t come close to the charming nature of those titles.
“…Two Point Campus or its spiritual predecessor, Theme Hospital, but Let’s School definitely doesn’t come close to the charming nature of those titles.”
Let’s School does a fine job creating a fun, intuitive management sim for those looking to return to school before Labor Day. The building mechanics have been streamlined to create a process that doesn’t bog down your playthrough, even if the scheduling and teacher/student management slows it down a bit. While it teeters close to entering that old Bullfrog Productions style of management sim between kids goofing off and needing reprimanding and the animals, you can take it, but all in all, Let’s School doesn’t come close to getting to that upper echelon of the genre.