Publisher: Double Eleven
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC
Price: £19.99 / $29.99
Prison Architect has been out for a while on PC, finally it made its way to home consoles, now Xbox One and PS4 owners can feel what’s like to build a prison, to be a warden and send people to the electric chair. From Introversion the makers of Darwinia (among others) we get this prison management game that promises a lot.
Prison Architect places us in the shoes of a warden, as such we have to; build, improve and manage a prison, make sure prisoners are in a good enviroment. We have to make sure we have proper instalations for every day needs, including fitness areas, laudry rooms, canteens, kitchens or execution rooms for deathrow prisoners.
Do it right and your prison will work like a charm, you may not get a “number one warden” coffee mug, but you won’t have riots happening under your watch all the time.
As you play and win the different scenarios you unlock new wardens and stages to play.
While there is not a big storyline (game doesn’t need one really) every Prison Stories gamemode (campaign basically) contains a small story by itself; a narrative of the main prisoner involved in that prison/stage and what is happening to him, either a robber, a mafia boss or a death row prisoner, you can see some very dark elements as you learn more of why he is in prison and i quite like that, it gives the game some deep content that makes it stand out from other titles in the simulation and management genre.
These also serve as small tutorials, teaching you how to use the different tools as they show you interesting scenarios to play around.
Another game mode is World of Wardens, in here you can select and play prisons created by other players around the world. I really like this as it gives the game extra content and lots of replay value.
Here you decide the amount of challenge you want, with a fixed or unlimited budget if you want to go nuts or simply have fun, it’s good to see they added an option for everyone, the hardcore and casual gamers.
Controls wise i had doubts at first, was not sure they would be good versus keyboard and mouse of the PC counterpart, glad to say the dual stick controls work pretty good, left stick to move the cursor on the screen and right analog to hover all over the map with zoom in/out features that works quite well.
This is probably one of the weakest points of the game, barely no sound or background music, something i consider important to set the mood, clearly there’s a void, i wish there was more voice acting and not just text, but alas nothing is perfect in this world.
The graphics are cartoony and colorful, but dont let this mislead you, as i commented before there are dark elements in the game, especially the polaroid pictures they show us related to the prisoner stories and origins.
This is one of those games in which simplicity is a plus and a good thing to have.
Honestly it’s hard to find an issue aside of the usual rare behavior of the AI which is not a game breaking experience but can be annoying for sure.
Also i don’t see the point in having two different versions of the game for sale on the Playstation Store, one is the regular Playstation 4 Edition and the seconds one the Warden edition, with extra wardens and content.
Of course this contend can be bought as DLC but seems a bit pointless to have two versions that may lead to confusion when people buy the game from the store.
The lack of audio may put off people that dislike reading, here you will do a lot of that. Having voice overs for some of the characters in game definitely would make the game much more enjoyable.
Sgould you buy or pass? If you love building, simulators and managing games (especially Dungeon Keeper) this is your cup of tea. Prison Architect Playstation 4 edition offers a nice amount of fun factor and lots of replay value, a nice and enjoyable tutorial to teach you the ropes and what not.
All in all i can recommend this game, grab a drink (Horchata, definitely go for horchata, you won’t regret it!) snacks and enjoy your new job as a warden!
We give the game an 8 out of 10!
– High replay value
– Good controls
– Enjoyable gameplay
– Cute graphics
– Lack of voice over & music
– Minor Bugs
– The Learning Curve
*A review code was provided for this review