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Humble Indie Bundle 12 Review

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Prison Architect ($10.00+) Review:

It is worth noting that I have owned and been playing Prison Architect for months now. I am not necessarily good at it, but I have been enjoying it since before this bundle.

Prison Architect is exactly what the name describes. You have been hired to build and manage a prison, which takes more than a few cells and guards. You will need a kitchen, cafeteria, offices for staff, a holding cell, and working plumbing and electricity to just get started. As you bring in money from housing the criminals, from grants you earn, and potentially products you export, you will be able to build better facilities, including solitary, a yard, common room, laundry room, shower, visitation room, infirmary, a morgue, and much more. Everything has benefits and costs, though.

Like real prisons, there are security concerns including riots when inmates are unhappy, contraband, and escape attempts. Toilets in cells can be used to start tunnels, visitors can bring in contraband, and unhappy prisoners can get so angry that they start fights with guards and other inmates. How you respond to any issue determines how the other prisoners will react, and possibly how the game reacts. If you fail horribly at stopping a riot, for example, troops will be called in to end the conflict via intimidation and shotguns. If you run the prison into bankruptcy, you will actually be arrested and become an inmate of the facility you have built.

 

Neither of those end-game scenarios have I encountered. How do I know about them? Because once a month, when a new patch arrives bringing new content to this Early Access game, a video detailing the patch is also released. These videos are typically informative and entertaining, so you will probably want to check them out, if you get the game. Of course the videos are not necessarily a plus for the game, but the regular update schedule definitely is.

One thing about the gameplay that is important to note is that it can be slow at times. Due to the limited income and funds available to a player, it can take some time to build up a prison to be proud of. This is something the developers are aware of though, which is why they have developed the grants, bank loan, and stock selling mechanics.

Personally I enjoy simulation games like Prison Architect, which allow me to build things the way I want to, when they are done well. In my opinion, Prison Architect does do a good job, but is also starting to reach a problematic point. When I first got the game, the mechanics were relatively simple and straightforward. Now, so much new content has been added that it could easily overwhelm people. Knowing how to set up security deployment, getting prisoners trained to work, and rehabilitation are all mechanics that are somewhat involved, and not well explained in the game. It would be helpful if in the future certain mechanics could be disabled, so as to not overwhelm the player.

(This is one of my older prisons)

 

Does Prison Architect earn the firm $10 cost? For myself and for other simulation players, I believe it does. There is a lot of fun to be had with the levels of micromanagement and challenges. It is early access though, so expect some bugs, some lacking documentation, and mechanics to be introduced or overhauled as time goes by. If you can forgive those points, then I see little reason why you would not get it.




  1. Humble Indie Bundle 12 Review - Introduction
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  3. Hammerwatch Review
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  5. Gone Home (BTA) Review
  6. LUFTRAUSERS (BTA) Review
  7. Papers, Please (BTA) Review
  8. Prison Architect ($10.00+) Review
  9. Humble Indie Bundle 12 Review - Conclusion
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