The Indie ShelfVideo Games

The Indie Shelf: Prison Architect

Hello everybody! Today we have a new more detailed version of Prison TycoonPrison Architect.


Developer(s) Introversion Software
Producer(s) Mark Morris
Designer(s) Chris Delay
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Genre(s) Construction and management simulation
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Download

Prison Architect is a game by Introversion Software, also well known for strategy game, Darwinia. Prison Architect, as you might have already guessed, is about you being in charge of building a functional and often vast prison to hold many villains and misfits. The player is responsible for managing various aspects of their prison including building cells and facilities, planning and connecting utilities, hiring and assigning staff, including a warden, guards, workers, and more. The player needs to recruit staff to unlock more aspects of the game. The player is also responsible for the finance, and keeping their inmates content. The player’s role is of both architect and governor with sandbox micromanagement themes such as choosing where to put lights, drains and how they connect together.

Unlike other simulators, Prison Architect goes rather in-depth with the construction of your prison.The graphics for the game are fairly simplistic, but work well for this type of game. You play from the top-down perspective and can zoom in to get close-up and see your prison, or zoom out to get a good view of the plan of your prison. The lighting effects are very good for a game in alpha stage and it adds that extra bit of atmosphere to the game, with shadows coming from the buildings you have built and from the individual characters themselves. While the game has been in the alpha stage since late 2012, I have a very good feeling about the game.

While Prison Architect is a very detailed iteration of the construction simulation genre, it still shares many game play elements with the series Prison Tycoon, but just the broad strokes. The game isn’t very challenging (which is very disappointing since difficulty is what makes simulations fun) but there are enough unlockable tidbits to keep you researching and playing. The game’s clunky UI creates a balancing act of decision making, keep your prisoners happy or fiction in the black. Fights will break out, but they feel rather more the result of your vague and crappy decision making than the outcome of some clever game systems interacting with one another.


  • Use of simplistic graphics.
  • Detailed simulator.
  • Lighting effects.


  • Clunky U.I.
  • Decision making balancing act.
  • Shares many game play elements with Prison Tycoon.
  • Very easy game.

SCORE: 5.6 / 10

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Brandon Stuhr

Who am I? Just some guy who decided to start writing on the Internet years ago and now operates his own brand and site. Owner/Operator of Modern Neon Media, I make all kinds of niche content to suit my interests at the time. DIY Enthusiast, Brewmaster extraordinaire, and avid freak for geek culture. Follow on my socials for a more "on" version of me.

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