Home Game Reviews Prison Architect: Great Management Simulator Worth of Upcoming Sequel

Prison Architect: Great Management Simulator Worth of Upcoming Sequel

Prison Architect Review

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Prison Architect Main
Prison Architect

Title: Prison Architect
Developer: Double Eleven, Introversion Software
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Released: October 6, 2015
Platforms Available: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC Game, Mac Game
Platform Reviewed: PC Game
Article Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to Prison

Prison Architect is a prison management simulator released by Introversion Software in 2015. You are placed in the shoes of a prison warden and in charge of building and running a prison, and there is so much more to it than I initially thought. I dove in, thinking it would be about placing cells and setting up security cameras and whatnot, as an average management simulator would be. Still, it quickly became apparent that there’s a lot more to it.

Building and Managing

First off, it is important to note that there are many different mods that you could play, but the general idea is that you start with a blank plot of land, and it’s up to you to design and build up every part of your new facility. At first, it could seem overwhelming since there are so many details you must consider, going as deep as setting up the electricity and water pipelines. Still, the tutorial will guide you through every step of the way!

Art Style and Atmosphere

What visually stood out right away for me was the art style. It’s simple and cartoonish, which seems odd for a prison game, but it works just fine. It keeps things from feeling too dark or heavy, I’d say, which is good since it is a prison game, after all… You will deal with issues like riots, fights, escapes, and even executions. There’s an actual weight to some of the content! The game’s unpredictability is a big part of its appeal. You might think you’ve got everything under control, then a riot breaks out, or you got a prisoner on the run…

Balancing Security and Rehabilitation

The management aspect goes beyond just keeping prisoners locked up, though. You have to consider their needs and try to rehabilitate them, just like in a real prison. There are programs for education, therapy, and job training that you have to manage, too. That balance between security and rehabilitation is tricky but satisfying if and when you get it right.

Challenges and Glitches

There are some rough edges, so let’s look at those. The AI can be a bit laggy; sometimes guards get stuck or don’t behave as expected, as well as the prisoners and staff members, not as often as the guards, but still. These glitches can be annoying, especially when you’re trying to manage a crisis. But overall, they don’t detract too much from the experience and can’t really mess up your gameplay.

Prison Architect 2
Prison Architect 2

Community and Mods

What I didn’t expect at all from this type of game was the community around it. There are tons of user-generated mods and scenarios, adding endless replayability. I’ve spent hours just exploring different mods, each one bringing something new to the table. It’s clear that the game has inspired a lot of creativity among its players. My favorite mod is by far the breakout mod!! Where you are actually placed in another player’s prison as a prisoner, and your goal is to break out! This mod kept me locked for my screen for hours, bringing my total play time to just above 100 hours. I did not expect that I am going to spend so much time playing a prison simulator game!!

Conclusion and Future Prospects

Prison Architect is engaging, creative, challenging, and extremely fun, especially if you engage with the community and the content they create. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely one of the best management games I have ever played! I recommend this game by all means! To wrap it up, a remarkable fact about Prison Architect is how it was funded. The developers released it in alpha state and let players pre-purchase it. This gave them feedback and financial support to keep developing the game. And well, you can pre-purchase on Steam sequel Prison Architect 2 which coming this fall.

Where to buy Prison Architect

  1. Steam (PC, Mac): Available for $29.99, currently on sale for $2.99. You can purchase it directly from Steam.
  2. Epic Games Store (PC): Priced at $29.99. You can find it on the Epic Games Store.
  3. GOG (PC, Mac): Available for $29.99. Currently on Sale for $6.49. Purchase it from GOG.
  4. PlayStation Store (PS4): The game is priced at $29.99 on sale for $6.49 or as a Play Pass free game. You can check it out on the PlayStation Store
  5. Xbox Store (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S): Available for $29.99. You can buy it from the Xbox Store
  6. Nintendo eShop (Switch): Available for $29.99. Purchase it from the Nintendo eShop

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