- Developer: Introversion
- Publisher: Introversion
- Platform: PC
- Format: Digital Download
- ESRB Rating: Not Rated
- Release Date: 2013
- Design and run a profitable prison facility
- Manage expenses and decide how best to use your limited resources
- Keep prisoners happy or risk outbreaks of violence
- Upgrade security features to house more dangerous inmates
- Create electric chairs to execute prisoners on death row
Prison Architect has you building and managing a prison facility. The game is viewed from a top-down perspective and features a grid-based layout on which you can add a variety of items to help keep things orderly. In addition to the areas themselves, from cells and cafeterias to showers and the yard, players will be able to place and position lights, jail doors, filing cabinets, shower heads, beds, toilets, serving tables, sprinklers, and more ominous structures, like an electric chair, for executions. Your prison population consists of guards, staff, and inmates, with each character represented by a whimsical icon consisting of a head and torso.
The prisoners and guards are controlled by the computer AI, with routines being simulated and influenced by a large degree on variables such as happiness, hunger, and so forth. Money management will come into play in how you decide to build into your prison. Going the cheaper route, such as grouping multiple inmates in a cell instead of building separate cells, may result in increased levels of hostility, which in turn can lead to acts of violence. You'll need to build a medical facility to treat injuries, and you'll also have to deal with bills and upkeep costs to maintain electricity, waste management, food, personnel and other necessities.
If you fail to maintain your prison, fires could erupt, rioting could occur, and you'll have to address each problem one by one if you want to keep your prison operating under control. Prisoners' tendency to associate with gangs is another aspect that you'll have to deal with, ensuring that there are enough patrolling guards and security options in place to prevent outbreaks of violence.
The game includes a story-based campaign and a freeform sandbox mode. The former has you in control of various existing facilities, expanding or altering them as needed to accomplish your objectives. In between goals, you'll be able to see some of the stories behind certain inmates through hand-drawn artwork displayed as Polaroid-style photos over the main screen.
The sandbox mode is where you'll be able to build your prison from scratch – at least after choosing the relative size (small, medium, or large) -- taking the lessons learned from the campaign and applying it to your custom-designed prison. You'll then need to decide how best to spend your limited resources so as to ensure your facility is secure and, ultimately, profitable.