Prison Architect Image
Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

  • Summary: Construct and manage a maximum security prison.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Oct 17, 2015
    100
    Playing will probably mean thinking about issues that you probably didn’t think about. This is something that should be valued in a videogame. I’m as content as the next guy to mindlessly shoot a hundred dudes in a Call of Duty. But I also value games that make me think about something I wasn’t thinking about yesterday. Games that make me feel a way I don’t usually feel. Games that aren’t afraid to present complex subjects in all their complexity, wrangling gameplay into a thought-provoking exercise that is both entertainment and edification. Games like Prison Architect.
  2. Nov 4, 2015
    90
    PA is an entertaining, comprehensive and accessible simulator of prison complex management. If you find this genre at least a little bit interesting, don’t hesitate buying it.
  3. Oct 8, 2015
    87
    Plan, build, fail, sell and try again. Behind the functional graphics of Prison Architect there's a complex, motivating and very good prison simulation.
  4. Oct 13, 2015
    80
    Although it is weighed down by some questionable development choices, Prison Architect is a break-out success due to its sandbox alone.
  5. CD-Action
    Mar 30, 2016
    80
    A surprisingly complex and enjoyable simulation of a correctional facility. [03/2016, p.64]
  6. Nov 5, 2015
    80
    It was worth the wait - Prison Architect is a solid, engaging game with enormous number of options, presented in a well-thought-out way. Managing a virtual prison has never been so enjoyable.
  7. Oct 6, 2015
    55
    Simulations can distort for good, and so help us resist, or ill, and obscure the forces that corral hearts and minds. Every system locks us up. But sims like Prison Architect throw away the keys.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 52
  2. Negative: 3 out of 52
  1. Aug 2, 2014
    10
    If you're interested in this game, just buy it. It has workshop integration with an active modding community. Earlier tonight I changed theIf you're interested in this game, just buy it. It has workshop integration with an active modding community. Earlier tonight I changed the theme to star wars with a press of the button. This is a very addictive game where real time begins to speed by in a blur. 5 minutes becomes 5 hours and you only noticed because you need to use the restroom. There is a wonderful charm about it and the fat little characters. There is a lot of micromanagement so if you're the kind of person that hates to think, can't oil your brain because it hurts, well then you should pass. It's not overly complicated but the game doesn't hold your hand starting out. It's like bam build a prison. The only downside is struggling to figure out why things aren't being built, or populated. This may further confuse someone since it is alpha which makes it difficult to distinguish between a bug and something you aren't doing correctly. Other than that you should enjoy this game. Expand
  2. Oct 6, 2015
    10
    This is a great game. There are so many interacting systems it genuinely makes you feel like your prison is "alive" and your design choicesThis is a great game. There are so many interacting systems it genuinely makes you feel like your prison is "alive" and your design choices matter.

    I have to call out this Kill Screen review which appears to be the only one dragging the reviewers metascore down. The reviewer appears to be upset for the following reason: "For everything Prison Architect gets right about prisons where other games have failed, the absence of race as a meaningful game mechanic is a glaring and disturbing oversight." I think its more disturbing that you think race should be a meaningful game mechanic.
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  3. Oct 7, 2015
    10
    TL;DR - A very well-done simulator.

    I have owned Prison Architect for nearly 2 years while it was still in its alpha stages. I loved the
    TL;DR - A very well-done simulator.

    I have owned Prison Architect for nearly 2 years while it was still in its alpha stages. I loved the concept of building and managing my own Prison. Every update added new features and bug fixes, modeling the game to its final release which was October 6th of this year. Since its final release, Prison Architect has become one of my favorite games to play, and with Workshop integration, the fun never ends.
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  4. Dec 7, 2015
    8
    8/10. A nice and funny tycoon game. To my wife I said "it's like Theme Hospital but if too many patients gather in one place they start8/10. A nice and funny tycoon game. To my wife I said "it's like Theme Hospital but if too many patients gather in one place they start fighting".
    The Good:
    - funny graphics, and nice sound (especially the background sound in different rooms and the hilarious prison fight/riot ambients)
    - it's interesting to plan rooms and build from individual tiles, not just as rectangles
    - the game tries to give both views on whether the prison system should be more about punishing/deterring or about treating/educating
    - the game is frequently updated, and new features keep getting added, so it's worth to replay it after a few months
    - every prisoner has his own biography and personal data. One biography even said "I am a real person!"
    - the game runs pretty fast. As a programmer, I wonder how all those hundreds of characters on the screen do their pathfinding calculations so efficiently.
    - the tutorial missions are very well designed and make you feel comfortable by giving you a few already running prisons and letting you add minor stuff

    The So-so:
    - the game shows a US or Western European prison, which feels more like a student dormitory or a 0-star hotel where the only bad thing is dangerous neighbors. The prison itself gives you food, a separate room with a TV, even free education and medical treatment - things 3/4 of working people in the word might not have. So I guess for players outside the golden billion the game creates a strange feeling of absurdity - but at the same time it is an educational experience, like "gee, those rich guys are nuts!". Even work is done voluntarily and for payment! And a prisoner who kills a guard doesn't get an electric chair, just solitary for 8 hours?! The main source of revenue is Prison Grant (taxpayers' money), and the prisoners themselves produce very little. I guess I could go to the US and kill somebody just to save on rent :) I guess they'd let me place a PC in my cell? I heard in German prisons they even get a free session with a prostitute once in a while :)
    - the story is pretty mediocre, but honestly I don't think one could come up with anything better because we've seen tons of crime movies and most crime-related real-life stories are pretty banal.
    - it's a sandbox game like Mincraft, and you can share your prison with others. I checked a few dozens, but it's either just some random prison you can get when you play without any special purpose - or a prison which tries to look like something well known (e.g. Star Trek spaceship). Apart from aesthetics, this doesn't change the game much, suggesting that, as good as it is, it's a pretty much fixed experience which you will get on most replays.
    - the Escape mode is completely broken but it's nevertherless fun for an hour.

    The Bad:
    - given the complex systems this game has, much is left unexplained. E.g. what defines how many prisoners can work in a Laundry? Or what at all defines the efficiency of a Laundry? How many wash machines I need, how big the room should be - all that I had to find out in online wikis. Nothing is explained about CCTVs, remote doors and phones (does one have to connect them or not? Why do some CCTV links become red?)
    - it seems that the Programs scheduling is bugged somehow. Often I'd have lots of "Queued" prisoners for a program but none would participate - pretty annoying when you can't start any Workshop production without training first. I guess this might be due to overlapping classes, or if you add/remove objects into rooms there will be more/less places, or some prisoners may be a few days into a program already and their progress is taken into account somehow etc. This system is overcomplicated - even if it worked bug-free, most players would be overtaxed by it. And I'd wish to have the option to send any prisoner to obligatory training and obligatory jobs, even if that makes him angry.
    - I was surprised when the game ended after just the 5th episode. I did have a prison for 300 prisoners already with all rooms built, but I expected at least one more mission where CCTVs and other maximum-security elements were explained.
    - Dormitories don't work well. Is there a minimal 4-tile requiement for a prisoner to live in a dorm? The game should say that or there should be no minimal reqs.
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  5. May 17, 2014
    8
    This game is a early access game but it has a very bright future. This is already a very good game and is improving with every update. If likeThis game is a early access game but it has a very bright future. This is already a very good game and is improving with every update. If like me you can not play this kind of game without cheating (you add money etc), it is very simple and the official wiki of the game you explained! In short, a game to follow as very promising despite its absolutely excessive price (you can get it cheaper on some sites)! Expand
  6. Nov 10, 2015
    7
    Enjoyable game worth buying

    Creating prison and ruling it. First time i see this game "omg look at this graphics it must be a suck
    Enjoyable game worth buying

    Creating prison and ruling it.

    First time i see this game "omg look at this graphics it must be a suck game" but it isn't if you like simulation games worth the check
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  7. May 14, 2016
    2
    Much like the transgender prison bender... To be enjoyed as a novelty briefly but quickly put out of its misery by a shiv in the hard drive.Much like the transgender prison bender... To be enjoyed as a novelty briefly but quickly put out of its misery by a shiv in the hard drive. Overpriced, overhyped. Expand

See all 52 User Reviews