There are loads of management and tycoon indie games out there, but many of them focus on general businesses that we see every day. Prison Architect, made by Introversion Software, is a tycoon/management game where you take on the role of a Warden to build your very own prison. The best part about the game is it’s attention to detail on the micromanagement modes that are available for you to tweak inside your prison. From regimes to rehabilitation programs to guard patrols, you can control and manage almost every aspect imaginable about the prison to truly immerse your own design into the game.

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Context

We’ve been playing this indie game for a while now, 101 hours on record, and it just doesn’t get any less fun. As far as we know, the game is only available to play on the PC via steam and is still in Early Access, however they recently announced that Prison Architect will be escaping from Steam Early Access in around November.

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Plan your prison to perfection

Micromanagement and attention to detail is where Prison Architect truly shine, every aspect of the prisoner’s time in your prison must be cared for, if left unattended they will be unhappy and unhappy criminals is not something you want to be happening. From the very start, you can plan what type of prison you want to build based on what type of prisoner you want to be intaking, for example a Super Max level prisoner will have different requirements to a Minimum security prisoner, in fact if you mix the 2 up too often, the Super Max will most likely kill the minimum security inmates.

Then you will need to think about their day to day activities, what will they do in the morning when they wake up, how many work hours do they have, do they have enough visitation time to satisfy their family needs etc. This in turn really make the player feel like they are taking care of real people rather then pixels on the screen.

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Flexible architectural design modes

In this indie game, you can build in what ever shape size or form you wish, your imagination is the limitation. If you want to build a super tight cell, go ahead but expect the prisoners to be unhappy. The only limitation in the game is what furniture must go in a room type and how big they must at least be but I think this is a fair limitation to the game to protect it from being overly abused by players (obviously you can’t make a cell 1 square big…that’s just cruel).

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You VS the inmates

There is always going to be an on going conflict between the player/security and the inmates because the two naturally don’t go together. There will be escape attempts, your classical tunnels or even opportunistic dashers, but there are other more interesting mechanics in Prison Architect as well like the gang system. As you play more and more, especially if you decide to specialise in maximum security inmates, you will learn that they have gang membership alignments and obviously rival gangs don’t mix very well together. If said gangs were to manage to take control of a part of the prison, they will attack rival gangs and extort non-gang members for security money in that area. Interesting eh?

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In General

In conclusion, we genuinely┬álove Prison Architect and it is one of the few indie game that we constantly play over and over again. Due to the nature of it’s ability to provide free form design for the player, we find that this makes replaying the game extremely fun and unique, this also invokes the players to experiment with different designs and have spawned numerous mods & community talks regarding this. We personally can’t wait for the game to officially launch in November and all the feature that will come with it.

Prison Architect on Steam

Prison Architect Website

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