Prison Architect – Preview
Follow Genre: Simulation
Developer: Introversion
Publisher: Introversion
Platform: PC

Prison Architect – Preview

Good: addictive, a lot of potential, regular content updates
Bad: trial and error learning curve, lack on tutorials
User Score
10.0
(2 votes)
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Have you ever dreamt about designing and managing a prison? Is coordinating daily routines for over hundreds of prisoners your calling? Prison Architect might be just the game for you. Don’t worry, normal people are also bound to enjoy it.

Uplink, Darwinia and DEFCON are all games made by Introversion studio. Most younger gamers won’t probably know of these games but they did make a firm impression in the gaming industry. Their latest game has been in development for the last year and is currently in alpha.

As the title might tell you, your job as a player is to first design and then run a prison. Currently the tutorial is very limited, instructing only how to build simple things. After that, you get a piece of land and the rest is up to you.  Building your first buildings is as simple as marking out where the foundations should be and your workers will do the rest. Then you can choose the functions of the areas you’ve created with a simple marking tool. Each kind of facility requires different items, some mandatory (i.e. toilets) and some optional (i.e. windows). Thanks to contracts early in the game you get some guidance as to what to build first as well as some extra funds. Your budget will be limited at first, requiring you to think about which staff to hire. Will you hire more workers to speed up construction or hire some extra guards? After a short period of building, your first inmates will arrive and the real fun begins.

You’ll have to start over a few times to get the basics of your prison right. Spending too much on staff early on, will end you up broke later. The more prisoners you can facilitate, the more funds you earn but logically they will be harder to maintain. Building too many cells may end you up short to build showers. Allowing too many prisoners will result in uprisings and make no mistake, this game won’t show mercy. Angry prisoners will kill your guards and escape.

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Graphically Prison Architect keeps it simple. It uses simplistically drawn figures and objects. A welcome distraction from titles aimed to push the boundaries, the game focuses on gameplay and mechanics. It’s surprising how emerging that can be. You’ll find yourself playing for hours trying to get some extra prisoners in there, designing your next building or starting over to see what you can differently. It’s also nice to just sit back and watch how your prison will hold up without your own interference, you’ll be surprised at the outcome.

There is a bureaucracy system in place to allow for some extra management options as your prison grows. After hiring a warden you choose what to focus on and that will provide you with different possibilities to run your facility. Every few weeks a content update is provided for the game. Lately an impressive contraband system has been added allowing you to track where prisoners stole weapons or various other items.  This shows that the game studio still has some exciting content up their sleeve. Through Steam Workbench, players can upload their prisons for other players to try out. It’s amazing what people have already accomplished to create with limited amounts of resources within the game. Hopefully later on we’ll see mod support.

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Conclusion

Prison Architect is a game to keep an eye for. In the alpha there’s already a strong foundation in place and it’s up to the developers to keep adding content to game. Hopefully we’ll see some scenarios in the future or maybe a sort of story mode but this independent studio is right on track to deliver one hell of a game.

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Prison Architect - Preview, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Veflow
Veflow


I'm currently studying software-development. My main hobbies are gaming (software/hardware) and music (jazz saxophone player). I game primarily on PC (and also love building them) but also play on PS3, iOS and Android.

3 Comments

  1. Elexus
    Elexus
    November 28, 2013, 6:06 pm

    I’m curious how this game will turn out when it’s finished, it looks very enjoyable.

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  2. Rick52975
    Rick52975
    December 2, 2013, 11:16 pm

    I got it in the sale, really enjoyable… when it works. It can be very buggy for no apparent reason, and there isn’t a tutorial level as such, however a few Steam guides, a workshop beginner level, and a few hours of gameplay and you get to grips with it easily enough :)

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    • ThaMofo
      ThaMofo
      December 3, 2013, 1:04 am

      True, but it’s still in development. So hopefully the bugs won’t stick around. ^^

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