Prima Game of the Week | Prison Architect - Prima Games

Prima Game of the Week | Prison Architect

by Josh Hawkins

Why You Should Play

  • Hundreds of hours of challenging simulation gameplay.
  • Almost unlimited customizability in how you run your prison.
  • Build and maintain your own prison in an ever-evolving world.

A lot of us grew up playing tycoon games. Things like RollerCoaster Tycoon and other titles that made constructing and running our own institutions fun and challenging. Originally released into early alpha in 2012, Introversion Software’s Prison Architect took this idea and melded it around building and running your own prison. It’s a novel idea that works exceptionally well to offer hundreds of hours of intense, challenging, and strategy-based gameplay that will keep you on your toes and working to better your prison so that you can take on even more prisoners to become the most successful prison around.


Like most tycoon games of the sort, players will spend a lot of time strategizing and building up their prison. This means earning money and building new additions to keep the income coming in at a constant rate. You’ll need to manage employees, what the prisoners are doing, all while keeping an eye on the things happening in your prison. Not only will prisoners cause trouble amongst themselves—starting fights, or even trying to murder people—but they’ll also try to escape at times, making a break for the edge of the world.

This makes Prison Architect a constant game of improvement and micromanagement as you try to keep your prisoners in line, patrol the prison itself, and bring in a new influx of prisoners. Because, like any good tycoon game, it’s all about the amount of dollars you can stuff into your pockets, and learning how to make money, while also managing a prison can be tough.

Prison Architect is an interesting blend of management sim and tycoon game. You’ll need to focus on both to make things work out, and it provides a challenging gameplay loop that is easy to get lost in for hours at a time. If you want to take your prison on the go, then you can even pick the game up on the Nintendo Switch now, giving you all the fun in the palm of your hands.

Visuals and Performance

Prison Architect is a very simple game to the look at. Introversion has made themselves quite known for their more simplistic graphics, and the visual style that they’ve chosen for the game works really well. Everything here is 2D, and played in top-down, so don’t expect to see any kind of jaw-dropping visuals that will just blow your mind away. They aren’t bad either, though, and really never detract from the feel of the game at all. The more simplistic nature of the graphics also make it easier to see things on the go—such as weapons—which comes in very handy when you’re dealing with larger groupings of prisoners.

As for performance, there’s nothing to note here. The game runs fantastic on everything that we’ve tried it out on and doesn’t really even need a high-end machine to make it work well. This opens the door for people to enjoy it on several different platforms and means that the game works really well on more limited platforms, like the Nintendo Switch.

Game of the Week

With such a successful run in early access, and hours of challenging fun, Prison Architect has a lot to offer players that are looking for a nice tycoon sim to fill their time. We’ve spent hours playing the game, and with the recent release on Nintendo Switch, we’re looking to put even more time into it on the go. While it might not be the newest game out right now, Prison Architect has proven time and time again that it’s more than deserving of being the Prima Game of the Week, and we’re more than happy to oblige.

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