Prison Architect

Yet another of those little gems that pops up from time to time. You think it is nothing much to look at, would be at home on a mobile device in today's market, but that is until you get into the core of this building sim.

Prison Architect is exactly what this console market needs. A sim based building game that is easy to control and feels like it was made specifically for console.

Originally released on PC in October of 2015, developed and published by Introversion Software, Prison Architect is now available on current gen consoles. The premise here is simple. Build and maintain a prison, run it how you want but make sure you run it at a profit.

Prison Architect is a quirky little sim with a bright smooth finish that hides a much deeper and darker experience. From the very first tutorial you are shown just how indifferent you have to be to run a prison. The first task is to build a couple of new rooms. One a simple holding cell, the other an execution chamber. Up or execution is a man found guilty of double premeditated murder.

Introversion Software has skillfully set you up with all the tools you need to either take over a pre-existing prison or to go out and start your own. Everything needs to be taken care of, with the decisions all being up to you.

When I say everything, I mean everything. From building the walls around the outside of your prison, to carefully working out the size each building needs to be to serve its purpose. You need to take care of the plumbing for the inmates toilets, electricity to light the halls. Do you want your "guests" to have some luxuries, or do you want to make their time with you a bleak one?

Of course, trying to do all this in a house full of criminals is no easy task. You need to hire the right personnel, guards need to know their patrol routes, every basic task must be kept on top of, down too keeping the yard clear of rubbish.
Thankfully it is all seamless. I was concerned that the lack of a mouse would cause issues, however the interface on the PS4 has been setup specifically for the controller.

Visually you would be mistaken for thinking this is a kids game. The cartoony look and feel lulls you into a false sense of security, but you have to remember, these are criminals you're dealing with and the worst of the worst lot.
Riots can break out in seconds and if your guards are not on point you're left with a bloody mess to clean up.

Personally I tried to build a nice calm prison first time round with every cell having a TV, all luxuries available to the inmates and they responded with fire, riots and deadly encounters. So much blood to clean up..... Now, lets just say it is not a nice place, I am sure how I am running my prison would be against the United Nations standards. You will also notice that each character has their own little story. Some will be happy to serve their time quietly, others are ready to screw with you the moment they get in the door.

Overall Prison Architect was a bit of a surprise. A truly solid sim experience that shows others just how to port this sort of game across to console and do it well.  It makes you become devoid of any attachment you may have with the little virtual people on the screen, not in a bad way, but in a way that see's you making a choice and carrying out the sentence of those sent to you.

Currently available on PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Android, Windows, iOS, Linus & Mac. If you're a fan of sims like Theme Hospital or Theme Park you might just get a kick out of Prison Architect.

Pat (Snoogan512)

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