Surprisingly enough there aren't many games set in a school (well, that aren't Japanese and the types of game we wouldn't dare link to), and even fewer in the seemingly most obvious genre: management, Theme Park-style. The only one we can think of is No Pineapple Left Behind, which was more about the students and was mostly satire.
Now finally we have a proper school management title in Academia: School Simulator, developed by Squeaky Wheel, the creators of Political Animals, and the artist of Prison Architect. Academia is out now on Steam Early Access and there are a number of bundles promoting it.
Academia: School Simulator allows you to build, design, run and manage a school, where you can give students the best - and most expensive - education possible or go cheap and do giant classrooms with lazy teachers. Students explore, find love, get bullied, fail exams and generally live. Finances can be micromanaged including the types of food and drink the teachers or students get, with the ability research and specialize in different subjects. There will be various random events to deal with, including staff strikes and inspections, not to mention issues such as bullying and truancy. You can compete for the best school award too. Oh, and there will be mod support too, although probably not in the current version of the game.
The game is available on Early Access now and the team are expecting to be in Early Access for around a year. Humble Bundle also have various Kickstarter-like bundle tiers on the game available. $25 gets you the game and Political Animals, $35/£27 gets your name in the game, but for a whopping $200/£157 you can get a custom Teacher sprite in your own image. Neat.
We thought Squeaky Wheel's last game Political Animals was lovely but was a mite on the tough side with very little hand-holding, for better or worse. Academia certainly looks stylish, coming from the artist behind the distinct blocky style of Prison Architect, and the idea of "Theme School" is a compelling one certainly. Let's hope Squeaky Wheel can pull it off.
The trailer for the game is below. Academia: School Simulator is out now on Steam priced $20.