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Prison Architect

Prison Architect is one of the most inspiring and indulgent games I have played in many years. This game was made available for early access years ago but only out of that status for a month, it certainly encourages gamers to buy it with less hesitation. 

To be more specific, Prison architect is a 2D game mixing up construction and management factors, similar to theme hospital just without its dark humour. In the game, players have to plan and build their prison from scratch and due to its complexity and refined details, the first idea will be “where do I start?” The essence however, is in the sandbox mode, starting with limited budget, bare grounds and prisoners coming in 24 hours, the only help you gain is a CEO letter with vague advices and the government grants, which is basically a gradual reward system for your prison’s completeness.

Surely most players would try to build a Utopia or Swedish style prison at first but soon give up due to tight balance—after all this is a private prison, not charity, if it is not profit gaining, you lose. As for me, a gamer who always chose the “good” side, I have tried my best to give a well-maintained, enjoyable prison. Each prisoner has a television, 8 hours of free time per day and there are various costly reform projects. In return the ‘prisoners’ tried to riot, kill guards and attempted to burn my prison to ashes every time I forget to press pause. Soon the game will explore the dark side in your soul by eliminating unnecessary kindness. Nevertheless, the best prison is a well-balance of high pressure policies and laissez-faire, going to the extreme of one way will burn your prison more often.

If players try to be the manager, the game provides the Escape Mode, which switches the role and so you can be the prisoner. This means you can try to escape your own prison or other downloadable prisons from Steam Workshop. Optional contends are available for mods via Seam, adding personal touch and enhancing playability.

Conclusively, Prison Architect is a satisfying and indulgent builder game with minor, endurable glitches. For instance, it takes years to build a large scale prison and more time is needed to micro-manage resources and securities distribution. It may not be the most complicated game, but definitely one of the most time-consuming ones.

 

About Wing Lam Kar

w.l.kar@student.reading.ac.uk'

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