Once again an indie pre-order game found its way into my game library. Prison Architect is another indie title that stands shiningly apart from its bigger publisher counterparts.
As the name says it is all about building and managing a prison. Whereas building and extending your prison is the largest part of the game. Although you command what to build and where the actual building is done by workers. Just like in Settlers these guys running all around your screen while building foundations, walls, interior objects and collecting garbage. It is pure joy to watch them working.
There is the love for detail that makes buidling a prison pure pleasure. Every cell has to have certain objects (bed and toilet), every office (table, chair, filing cabinet) has to have certain objects; every room needs certain elements that have to be installed by the workers. You can even choose from a variaty floor covers and outdoor flooring. What a joy.
You also have to care of your overly expensive prison management staff. They need offices, they need to learn new things (kind of tech tree) and keep the prison quiet and wealthy.
New prisoners will be sent to your prison daily or depending on how much prison cells you offer. The great thing about those prisoners is that their vita and visuals have been done by other players. You can order the game as “Name in game” which allows you to create a new prison character. So there is a great variaty of prisoners with rediculous background stories.
The graphical style is comic-like and it reminds me of Game Dev Tycoon. Every element in the game looks hand drawn.
The overall game mechanics work fine. Building a prison, managing money, keep prisoners from running away and suppressing riots are the main components. Prisons have a number of daily needs that have to be met. Otherwise prisoners will riot. Everything is done while the clock is ticking away but you can adjust game speed similar to games likes X-Com.
Is it worth 26 Euro / 30 USD? – Yes it is. The current version is Alpha 10 and I already enjoyed 15 hours without any problems. And supporting an indie developer is always a good idea.
Prison Architect on Steam