How to play
In Prison Architect you are the supervisor of a prison, and your job is to create your own prison! You will create cells, showers, canteens, kitchens and everything else to create a prison as you wish! You will start by selecting the size you want to start your prison (small, medium, large) and your options, such as fog of war, continuous intake, etc. Once you agree with your selections, the game will start and you will leave 8 workers and you can start designing your prison from there.
The gameplay reminds me of Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital, where you build buildings by clicking and dragging a size, letting workers build it, placing doors and windows wherever you want, and setting up the interior once it’s finished. You will need buildings to install your detention cells, power and water stations, and build the power and water lines to meet your prison’s utility needs. You will need to create offices for your administration such as guards, security chiefs, psychologists, accountants, and more, as well as meeting your prisoner’s needs such as being fed, showered, cleaned, and more.
When you get started, you won’t have a lot of money, so you will need to accept grants, which will give you a cash advance and more cash to complete the included goals such as the Detention Basic Needs Grant (building the basics for your foundation) and you It will give an idea of what to do next if you are new to the game.
You can hire staff to help in the prison or use them for administrative purposes. Janitors, gardeners, guards, armed guards, dog sitters, and more can be hired to assist throughout your prison, and management staff can search for new rooms and bonuses for their prison, using the bureaucracy tab with an office for each. .
Guards can be placed in rooms or set up patrols using the deployment tab (investigated first). You can set the guards’ routes where you need them and they will follow the path until they get tired and need to rest in the staff rooms.
Prisoners come in 3 flavors as of the current build. Prisoners in gray suits are minimum security, orange suits are medium security, and red suits are maximum security. Obviously, the red and orange suit prisoners are the most dangerous variety, and they will love trying to escape, steal weapons, steal and abuse drugs and alcohol, fight, kill and more. In Alpha 21, you can now set different schedules for each prisoner security class. You can set a schedule for each kind of prisoner for each day, and you can set whether they stay in their cells, eat, work, bathe, go to the yard, etc.
Inmates can also work in your prison and from the current construction you can have them cook, clean the prison, go to reform classes, wash clothes in the laundry rooms and use the workshop to create upper beds, planks wood and license plates. Some jobs, such as kitchen work and workshop, require that they pass the required training classes before they are allowed to work on such projects.
Reform programs allow inmates to learn prison work skills, and basic education or addiction reform classes to beat addictions (alcohol and drugs today). These classes will cost you money for the time they start and are only allowed during the work phases of the day you set. Some require 2 hours and others are 3 hour classes with multiple attendance to pass or fail the class.
Sometimes, depending on the needs of prisoners (depending on whether they are met or not), they will start fighting, try to escape through cell toilets, start riots, start fires, try to kill others, or overdose on drugs. The guards will respond to incidents and if the situation becomes excessive, they can close the prison, close the doors, and isolate problem areas until you can get past them.
You have access to emergency or troubleshooting tabs, such as lockdown, raid (search the entire prison for contraband), or call emergency services (riot police, paramedics, and firefighters). If the guards detect prisoners causing misconduct, they will arrest the prisoner and send the prisoner to confinement or solitary confinement (you set the punishment policies yourself). Punished prisoners will be repressed, which will make them lower their heads and become more obedient to the prison rule. You can even punish a prison yourself by clicking on them and setting their punishment if you want to punish them further.
Additionally, with the medical and morgue rooms, you can hire medical staff to heal the wounds of staff and prisoners alike, as well as to help heal drug abuse (with the correct schedule in use).
With alcohol and drug abuse in the game (Alpha 21), if prisoners don’t detox or stop, they can overdose and die if they steal and use drugs. You can use the new programs to get criminals to try to eliminate their addictions.
When you are done with your prison and have had no recent incidents, such as death or escapes, you can sell stock in your prison and sell the prison entirely and make a new prison with the money you raised. This will give you more options and allow you to create a more elaborate prison in the future. You can still play with your prison, but you can only sell it once! You can also set the prisoner’s food rations using the policy tab, such as more or less variety of food, which will affect his mood.
Is it worth 30 bucks?
In my opinion, even on Alpha, the game is playable and fun, but it’s not worth $ 30 or more in its current state. I’d say $ 10 or $ 15 is more reasonable since it’s in Alpha and nowhere near finished or complete. There is also mod support for the game on Steam and its Steam Workshop option, to add more playtime to the game. It’s a great game even in Alpha, and I look forward to seeing what Introversion will add in future editions of the game!