I got this game a few days ago, and I think I’ve played it enough to review it. Please note though: The game has not been officially been released yet (nor is it even in beta), so this is a review of Alpha 8.
This game has a very interesting concept to it. You design a prison and try to efficiently run it whilst simultaneously having at least four new prisoners show up every single day, constantly. It can get very stressful at times, but overall, it’s actually pretty fun.
It gets really deep when prisoners of varying crimes arrive. You could have a double murderer show up who’s served for 20 years and now needs an execution ( 😦 ) show up at the same time as a simple drunk driver who’s only going to be here for 6 months. Constantly watching over all of these prisoners and making sure that you can keep your facility running efficiently is actually pretty complicated.
Every single staff member and every single prisoner is an individual person with an individual personality (kind of like SimCity, but on a smaller scale). Some may be absolutely insane and want to get out as soon as possible but some only get involved in riots when they are forced to. Speaking of riots, in this game, they happen ALL. THE. TIME. The guards can get seriously injured or even die in these events which is why it’s extremely important to have a good medical ward as well as a morgue. (No, you can’t get rid of dead bodies. You have to keep them. They’ll eventually clog up everything.)
All of this is happening whilst you’re trying to expand your prison and improve it. Sometimes, your construction workers work very well building a new cell block, sometimes they halt building, either because it’s too dangerous to get there, or because there is no way to get there at all, or even because there are no materials. The materials problem is the WORST. You can only have a certain amount of materials taking up one stack on one block of space, so if you try to build too much at once, you could have tons of materials for stuff you want to build AFTER the new wing is finished, whilst all of the materials you want right now are stuck on a truck that can’t drop anything off. Your workers can glitch out too, so be careful about how much you build.
Constructing everything at the right time is crucial. You don’t want to demolish a fence during your prisoners’ free time, since then, they can just escape. But you also probably don’t want to build much late at night, because you can’t see anything, and neither can your staff.
Probably my favorite part of this game is the regime. You can make your own regime, deciding on when your prisoners sleep, eat, shower, exercise, when they have time to do whatever they want, and when they are locked up. Also included in the regime is your meal quantity and variety. Having very little and very crappy food is cheap, but your prisoners will go insane. Having lots of good food is expensive, but you’ll save money in your guards’ salaries.
Overall, I like this game. It still has a long way to go, and it most certainly has a lot of bugs to fix, but it’s definetly off to a good start. My rating is 7/10.
Buy the game here: http://www.introversion.co.uk/prisonarchitect/
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