Game On Review :: Prison Architect

August 26th 2013

Prison Architect 2

You’re in my house now, BOY!

Murderers, crack addicts, thieves and the so-called innocent all fall under your duty of care. Sound good?

Well yes actually, because Prison Architect gives you the ability to not only throw Bubba back into his cell, but also yell, “You’re in my house now boy!” without the fear of a good old fashion shanking.

To give you an idea, it’s basically the same concept as The Sims with the addition of convicts replacing Brazilian sounding minions.

Sure, you’ll try and keep your inmates happy. Ultimately though, prisoners will decide the chairs aren’t meant for sitting, they’d look much better as the centrepiece for Johnny Robber’s skull. Then when the riots happen, you’d better be on top of it! All this on a budget seemingly configured by Tony Abbott.

This is where I think the game becomes as confusing as the Ketchup vs Katsup debate.

Prison Architect 3

At first look, Prison Architect is a quaint bit of fun; building your concrete empire populated by floating torsos with a perfectly geometric circle for a head.

The bios of each prisoner are witty, like ‘John Dawson’ – “murdered an entire family”. Wait, that’s not funny, I was expecting charged with arson for burning loins.

Therein lies the confusion. I don’t think the developers really knew what to do with the result of their serious vs. silly debate, resulting in the Ole Del Passo girl exclaiming:

Prison Architect 4

…which hasn’t really worked.

I should mention this game is still in Alpha. So I can forgive the bugs; like security guards being built into the foundations, which I’m sure would look lovely with an added water feature.

The major problems center on the vague introduction to the game…

There aren’t any levels or goals or even a tutorial to help understand what the point is, so a lot of the time you’ll find yourself frustrated by the lack of direction. At some point you’ll have to put your prisoners to work, but figuring out how to allocate tasks becomes as fun as trying to turn right whilst driving in Sydney.

Prison Architect 1

Potential for Prison Architect is high, however I’d rank the current performance as moderate. There are some nice incentives to purchase the game, like having your name added to the prison roster so you can live out that manslaughter fantasy. Personally though, I’d hold off until there’s a bit more added to the game.

Prison Architect, available now for PC through Steam.


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