Build and Manage A Maximum Security Prison.
User reviews:
Very Positive (701 reviews) - 91% of the 701 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (19,670 reviews) - 94% of the 19,670 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 6, 2015

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Recent updates View all (39)

April 29

Update 6 released - and brand new games from us

Prison Architect Update 6 has been released! And we have brand new game prototypes to show you.

Introducing 'Scanner Sombre' and 'Wrong Wire'

Skip forward to 22 minutes into the video, to see us demonstrate two of our (potentially) upcoming games. These are prototypes we have been developing in secret until now, and will form the basis of whatever comes next after Prison Architect. Please keep in mind that whilst we intend to continue supporting Prison Architect with updates for a very long time, we also intend to make new games, just as we have always done.

We are interested in your thoughts on the new games. Please go here to vote on your favourite:


= Seasons and Weather
- The game will now move through the seasons, with the outdoor temperature varying based on the time of year.
- Various weather patterns can occur during the game, varying based on the current season.
- Overcast
- Rain
- Torrential rain (Special event, rare)
- Snow and frost
- Heatwave (special event, rare)

- Prisoners needs will be affected by the weather when they are outdoors. Getting rained on will spike their
comfort, clothing and warmth needs.

- Prisoners left outside in extremely cold conditions (for example in an outdoor solitary confinement cage)
can now die of exposure.

- Weather is DISABLED by default in all prisons, and can be enabled when creating a new map.
Alternatively, use the new "Map Settings" screen in the Extras menu.

= Map Settings
You can now adjust the settings of your prison from a new screen called "Map Settings", found in the Extras menu.
This screen lets you enable certain options that may not have been enabled (or even available) when you first created the map.
Nb. You can enable these options, but you cannot disable them once enabled.

Available options:
- Enable Gangs
- Enable Events
- Enable Weather

= Job Prioritisation
- You can now mark any job as a high priority. Simple hold control and either
left click or left drag a selection to mark jobs. Available workers (who aren't
already on a high priority job) will stop what they are doing and be assigned
to the high priority job.

- If no workers are available, high priority jobs will take precedence when the
workers become available. A small icon in the lower right of a visible job shows
if it is marked as a high priority job.

- You can remove the high priority marking on jobs by holding control and either
right clicking or dragging a selection.

- Hovering over an in progress job will now highlight the entity working on it,
showing a red line leading to the worker responsible for the job.

- Pressing F while highlighting an in progress job will cause the camera to follow
the working entity and keep the highlight active.

= Performance Work (continued)
Further performance gains were made this month through several different approaches to optimisation.

- More systems moved to overlap with Render().
- Optimisations to the visible object list builder.
- Singly linked lists mostly replaced with arrays (FastList).
- Avoid copying of containers where possible.
- NeedSystem optimised.

= Bug Fixes
Temperature and lightmap system corruption bug fixed.

- 0010618: [Gameplay] Temperature next to fire is in the negatives
- 0010625: [Gameplay] Temperature drops instantly even in areas that should be producing heat

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93 comments Read more

March 30

Update 5c - Hot water pipe tweaks

Having read the feedback, we think that we made the hot water pipes too fiddly for many players by requiring every shower head to be wired up to warm water to avert a riot of frigid prisoners.

We've now changed the system so that a hot shower is an optional luxury and gives a benefit to prisoners' well-being if you feel generous enough to provide it.

- If a shower head is connected to hot water, this will benefit prisoner's warmth and comfort needs. Cold showers no longer cause frigid effect.
- Hot water range increased.
- Hot water makes sinks work faster.

64 comments Read more


“Prison Architect chills me to the bone. If played haphazardly it can be a wonderful farce rich with hilarious anecdotes, but played patiently and carefully it’s a horror game, a top-down voyage into the heart of darkness, an eternal raging fire I forever try but can only fail to douse.” RPS

"Prison Architect, to be sure, is an excellent game, worthy of comparison to its canonical inspirations, Dwarf Fortress and Bullfrog Productions’ 1990 construct-and-manage simulations. Few games can hope to match Prison Architect’s emergent storytelling, and fewer still can balance brutality and poignancy like it does." KILLSCREEN

About This Game

Build and Manage A Maximum Security Prison.

Build and manage a Maximum Security Prison. As the sun casts it’s early morning rays on a beautiful patch of countryside the clock starts ticking. You’ve got to crack on and build a holding cell to detain the job­ lot of maximum security prisoners that are trundling to your future prison on their yellow bus. As your workmen lay the last brick you don’t have a moment to let them rest as they need to get started on the first proper cell block so you can make room for the next prisoner intake. Once they’ve all got a place to lay their weary heads the fun can really start.

You’ll need a canteen, infirmary and a guard room, oh, and don’t forget to plumb in a toilet, or things will get messy, but what about a workout area? Or solitary confinement cells? Or an execution chamber?

Inspired by Dungeon Keeper, Dwarf Fortress and Theme Hospital and with over 1 million players having spent time inside, Prison Architect is the world’s best lock-­em-­up.

Story Mode

Prison Architect opens with the story of Edward, a man facing the electric chair for committing a crime of passion. This is followed by four additional chapters focusing on different characters and aspects of prison life. From Mafia Dons to power-crazed senators, Prison Architect has them all! To bring these characters to life, Introversion teamed up with award winning professional writer Chris Hastings, producing an enthralling tale of corruption and human misery set against the background of the modern prison industrial complex.

Escape Mode

Finished your supermax? Got guard dogs roving every corridor and prisoners eating out of your hand? Now you can live the horror by firing up escape mode and play as a prisoner hell-bent on getting the hell out of dodge.

Dig a tunnel, go for the armoury or start a riot and slip out in the chaos, it’s entirely up to you! Figure out how to escape from your own creation, or hit the random button and load one of the 12,000 prisons created by the steam co

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS:XP
    • Processor:Intel Core2 Duo 2.4Ghz or Higher / AMD 3Ghz or Higher
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:Nvidia 8600 / Radeon equivalent (2009 era)
    • Hard Drive:300 MB HD space
    • Processor:2009 era Macbook Pro, Core2 Duo processor
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive:300 MB HD space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo 2.4Ghz or Higher / AMD 3Ghz or Higher
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia 8600 / Radeon equivalent (2009 era)
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB HD space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Very Positive (701 reviews)
Very Positive (19,670 reviews)
Recently Posted
( 88.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
this is one of the best games on steam right now lost of content but there is a couple of bugs in it but updates do come out pretty fast so they wont stay in the game too long.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 394.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Great game. Simple yet very detailled. Great addition to your collection especially good game if you are bored and have no idea what to do.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 96.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
I have had this game since early access. One of the best games I have ever played. I am looking forward to what you guys make next.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 8.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
I don't think anyone wakes up in the morning and goes "I want to build a prison today." Penitentiaries just don't have the same feel-good appeal as cultivating a city or a business, really. I think the developers behind Prison Architect had this in mind the whole way through development, because it never really dwells on the darker elements of incarceration. What it does do is give you a wealth of building options, so many that you won't even have time to question the ethics of your creations.

Prison Architect drops you off on a flat piece of land with a road running through it, and expects you to build a house of corrections. You're given an initial grant of money and some builders, and from that humble beginning you build cells, showers, kitchens, offices, power plants, laundry rooms, exercise yards, chapels, armories, morgues, classrooms... Honestly I don't have enough space to list out all the facilities you can place. The big selling point behind PA that will become immediately obvious is that you can build EVERYTHING. No detail is spared in how the prison is simulated, and every phone booth and ironing board must be accounted for.

This incredible level of detail extends to your prisoners and the handling of them, as well. Each of your little ne'er-do-wells has a detailed rap sheet and biography, specific incarceration needs including security level, moods and interests, and a laundry list of stats that can be tracked. Of course, you can't just throw such complex sims in a hole and call it a day (okay you can but it won't end well). Your prisoners have a schedule to stick to that includes eating, showering, working, playing, and sleeping. You can edit this schedule to your heart's content, even setting different schedules for different security levels.

There's still a boatload of systems I haven't even touched on like advanced security and visitation and work programs and research, but surely you get the point by now. Understand that while all this may sound daunting, Prison Architect handles it in a very gentle way. Early on, prisons don't need hardly any of the complex amenities, giving you time to unlock and familiarize yourself with them. You also have a huge list of options for customizing your difficulty, allowing you to even disable certain systems if you feel they make the game too complex. It's a consideration that more in-depth sims should adopt, because it means casual players and experienced managers can all find a pace they enjoy.

It's rare to find such a deep and detailed simulation that also allows you to dive just as far as you want, and at your own pace. You can tool along with a mostly functional prison just with the basic food and shelter services, explore additional systems at your pace, or go whole-hog in an attempt to build the perfect penitentiary. The 2D vector graphics might not be the most attractive but their simple lines and animations help keep the detailed interactions of your prison clear. Sound design is admittedly minimal, but it's not much of a drawback when there's so much more offered. No matter your skill or interest level, Prison Architect will find a way to capture your attention.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 28.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Love this game, addictive!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 145.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Prison Architect is an awesome game. It is difficult and time consuming to get the hang of things. Building is fun and it's interesting to think about new concepts to your prison design. It's fun to plan and then watch that plan come to life.

Management is quite simple in the game and even though there is lots to do, once you get a few things done the staff handle things pretty well without any need to intervene on your part.

This game has so much depth, it realy is one of the best tycoon type games out there. You wouldn't ever think running a prison would be so fun. It is though. It's fun to the point that since purchasing Prison Architect beginning of June, I have logged nearly 200 hours on it.

I very much recommend the game to any and all gamers out there. Even if you're not simulation, builder or management type. This game is for all gamer types, but the content (especially in the tutorial / story) is not for all ages.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Admiral Ackbar
( 45.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
You can be so evil and vindictive or a kind and loving overlord of you meager peasants. Oh, soryy this is about building Prisons...yeah, statement still stands. Great game, but screw those inmates and their escape attempts.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 15.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
After 10 hours playing it's mandatory for me to give a positive review to this game. At the beggining I wasn't confident about the quality because the type of graphics that this game uses; however, I have to admit that they fit perfectly into the gameplay and the game experience is even better. If you are hesitating about buying this game because the visual aspect, give it a chance and you'll discover it's not even a problem.

About the gameplay and the options we find ingame, they are worked and offer a lot of different experiences as well as full customization of the map. It's definately not a boring game, and we'll need time to get used to it to start making profits and develope our prisons.

In a brief, the game price now (6 euros) is totally worthy and if you like construction and management games, you'll not regret buying this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 39.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Yes it is very good.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 12.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
Finally, a subsitution for drugs.

10/10 recommended by all rehabilitation cencters.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1,372 of 1,447 people (95%) found this review helpful
1,934 people found this review funny
161.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 3
32 prisoners have serious complaints

*distant shotgun blast*

31 prisoners have serious complaints

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
359 of 385 people (93%) found this review helpful
109 people found this review funny
342.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
This game is insanely fun. But it does have it problems.
I'll talk about what I love about it and then I'll talk about what I hate.

1, Gangs.

The fact you can get gangs in your prison is great. They'll work together to escape and to kill/fight during a riot or skirmish.
I find it perfect that I can section off gang members between cell blocks, And one day open up the doors and watch the murder spree insue, Before sending my armed guards set to free-fire in to crap on the resistance.

2, Mods.

With this game you can see almost anything anytime with mods, I once had a mod that is sadly out of date now, Which set the base agression of the prisoners to near-riot at all times. Me moving one prisoner to another cell set off the entire prison into a rampage. Total death toll was over 400 prisoners, 300 guards and the 5 admins, Whom, Got rushed by gun-weilding gangs.

3, Armed Guards.

The fact I can turn my prison into a DPRK Political Prison is just great. Putting guards in the canteena with free-fire on is possibly the best way to maintain order in my prisons while keeping the quality as low as it can possibly go. No janitors, No health care, NOTHING.

Those were the things I like about this game, Time to get into the stuff I hate.

1, Workers.

The workers get stuck far to often for their own good, It seriously calls into question what the level of education required for their field of work is. I once had about 50 workers stuck behind a wall, and 20 more in another. The sad thing is, When i tried to free them, The oposite set would be assigned to free the other. This lasted 20 mins before i hired 100 more.

They also have a tendency to shove their faces into the edge of the map once you buy a gate, Its annoying.

2, Easy to trigger prisoners.

Now, I did say before that I had a mod that triggered them, But it seems the mod is useless now, The prisoners in this game seem to be like their personality was taken straight from forums dedicated to complaints and petty ♥♥♥♥♥. The prisoners can be set off for litterally walking to far. Its rediculas when you have to kill half your prison beacuse they hate WALKING.

3, Cell Quality.

This is a prison, Not a luxury hotel. Enough said.

I hope yall found this review usefull, At all. Probably not.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
375 of 412 people (91%) found this review helpful
642 people found this review funny
31.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
I found a spoon in an inmates cell and I called the swat team in and they killed half the prison.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
162 of 168 people (96%) found this review helpful
214 people found this review funny
14.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 4
Prison Architect is one of those games, kind of like the sims, with which you occasionally have the brief moments of clarity where you realise that you're wasting your time scheduling and organising the lives of simulated people and you get the sudden urge to do something productive in real life like build some furniture or take a cooking class or raise a family.

Thankfully these moments pass and you can go back to playing the game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
131 of 139 people (94%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
4,619.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 11
Thank you for this wonderful game.
I have created many prisons and I shared it in the workshop,(Walking the Mile) this is definately one of my best.
I have to say the game has got my full attention, the way you have created each individual prisoner keeps it real interesting.
There are a few thoughts I have that these should be in the game always, such as a medical ward, much like the protective custody. Some prisoners are insane and should be labeld that way, then they could serve there time in the medical ward.
A gang rehab class, trying to remove the gang label. a confession room for the chapel.
Maybe a prison cemetery for those that die in prison and have no family.
Other levels of death penaties, gas chamber, lethal injection based on what he arrives in prison and the judge appoints which penalty! The sniper towers are great, these sould be used indoors as well, makes you think there is an upper level.
I do not use the mail room, the prisoners dont work it fast enough and I get piles of mail bages in storage, also it ties up guards picking up where they left off.
I also dont use the forestry, piles of wood are everywhere, in conjunction I dont use the carpenrty tables or programs, it takes forever for a prisoner to learn and produce, but the time they do this the get released.
I think the library should be open regardless of education levels, so I dont use this feature either.
Overall this game is great.
I recommend it it to all that enjoy building population of any sort.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
77 of 78 people (99%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
144.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 5
All these reviews talk about how much fun it can be to create a draconian panopticon of hell, but I find it much more profitable to push on rehabilitation. You get money every time you take in prisoners, so it pays to be constantly taking them in, and you get a nice bonus whenever you release someone on parole and they don't reoffend. And while housing them in constant terror can reduce their will to re-offend, it's rather difficult to get that bonus check from a dead man.
And the great thing about this game? Both philosophies are perfectly valid. They each have benefits and flaws, and it's your job to strike the balance between the two to get your desired result. Go on, experiment; it's just the lives of criminals you're tinkering with, after all.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
84 of 102 people (82%) found this review helpful
95 people found this review funny
94.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 5
It's like Zoo Tycoon but with people instead

10/10 would stab secretary again
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
38 of 40 people (95%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
141.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
Prison architect is a prison simulator with a grid building system and an in depth prisoner needs system.

Prison architect starts with the player immediately thrown into the game with hardy any tutorial. The real tutorial is the campaigns objectives. Once the player starts a game, they start with a small sum of money and must build a prison with the tools at their disposal. The player will build buildings for various rooms such as dormitories, cells, canteens, staff rooms, storage and other such necessities for the future prisoners and staff.

The prisoners come in all shapes and sizes, as well as various security levels; minimum, medium and high security. These prisoners act like real prisoners, if there is a shortage of food, a heat wave, power outages, or even a death can cause a riot to break out. Prisoners can be kept happy by having visitation rooms, recreational rooms, time in the yard, or an increase in variety of food. Should a riot break out, riot police and firefighters are available to help put them back in line, and medical centres or morgues are available for the wounded or fatalities.

Prison architect also has variety of options available when starting anew map, you can have weather as a factor, chose to have a large or small starting map, with our without trees, lakes or pre-existing buildings. Events are an interesting option, which can range from a power generator exploding, or a massive amount of prisoners arriving from another prison. Gangs can be turned on, which makes riots happen often, and if a gang leader is sent to your prison, the gangs can increase in size, and have wars over territory. Fog of war seems to be the most notorious of options. It prevents the player from seeing any prisoner unless a guard or camera is in the room, making it difficult, for the player to spot assaults or other such crimes.

Overall prison architects objective is to rehabilitate prisoners through reform programs, such as school, culinary or workshop programs. These, if passed, provide the prisoner with valuable work skills reducing the chance of reoffending, boosting your prison grade.

Prison architect does have a few things wrong with it.

Some lag when laying wires or pipes on lower grade PCs

Lack of realism in the riots or fighting

Slow to start for new players

The "campaign" lacks real story or drive

The names and descriptions of prisoners don't fit the actual crimes

Prison architect does a lot right.

Has a fantastic workshop

Has relatively easy achievements

Satisfying game

Has a surprisingly fun escape mode

Art and sound design are solid

Good animations

Fantastic in-depth needs system

Is prison architect worth the $32.99CAD? If you enjoy city builder type games, pick it up. Honestly if it goes on sale everyone should get it for their collection
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
27 of 30 people (90%) found this review helpful
14 people found this review funny
26.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
Prison Architect, How Many ♥♥♥♥ Heads Can I Confine In a Tight Space?

To make it short and sweet, this game is fun. I really liked it overall. However, it didn't take long before it got a bit boring since you experience everything it has to offer by the end of your first prison. Its not a bad thing I guess since it didn't overstay it's welcome. You have to be careful building around prisoners too because if they see an opening, they will say, "Peace ♥♥♥♥♥es!" and book it like hell while your prison guards handle the situation. Prisoners will die and the prison nurses will have trouble sleeping at night but at least the situation was handled.

There isn't too much for the controls. It's mainly the mouse with the keyboard to either access the keyboard shortcuts or acts as a way to move around the screen. However, the UI works pretty well. Its easy to navigate, there's a search bar to search for certain assets you want to put into your prison, and you place it in as such. The assets include: Important human beings, not important human beings, chairs, vending machines, TVs, Cameras, automatic doors, non-automatic doors, and more for sure. This game has a surprising amount of depth to it in the building department since you have to build your own water pipe system and even wiring your electricty to certain parts of the prison so you can keep the lights on and get a good view of the prisoners getting brutally beatened or going mentally insane as you accidentally confine them to Solitary Confinement for 2 months when you meant 2 days. Yes, there's no way, that I know of, to revert that. Guess you're ♥♥♥♥ed, buddy.

This game also features a "Escape Mode" (or something like that) where you can choose a prison you either downloaded from the Steam Workshop or one you made yourself and you try to escape it as a prisoner. The controls are pretty standard but they work for that. Its kind of fun since you can form gangs to help you in it and can even get away with murder if you're good enough. Its also a good way to test how good your prison holds up. You can of course get loans or grants if you fulfill certain tasks given to you so you can keep these unlawful ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s in longer where they're heavily mistreated. The grants work against you since some of them require that you treat the prisoners good. Why do they need a TV?? ♥♥♥♥ them, they murder someone, here's a ball and some string, have fun, ♥♥♥♥♥♥. You can read up on what your prisoners did as well and they even have names. Some of the descriptions of the prisoners are pretty funny to say the least. There's so much to talk about, honestly, it'd take forever to cover it all. Just play the game if you're interested at this point but the review will continue.

The game looks pretty good. Its a top down 16 bit looking game that belongs on a Playstation 1 or SNES, if you're optimization is good enough. It's really nice on the eyes and it works quite well since you can tell the difference between everything and that's always a plus! The small character models look weird though, they are like all related to Rayman or something because they have no arms or legs. They are just a body, head, and round hands and that's it. It works so whatever.

The sound of the game works. This game is quite full of sound, actually. You can hear how angry the prisoners are when they are rioting against your prison guards and you can hear all the cooking and cleaning in the prison kitchen when they are serving the prisoners barely editable food. The prisoners, when they fight, have these cartoon-ish sound effects when they are punching each other God knows where. The sound in this game does make the prison much more alive and that is always much appreciated.

As for replayability, that depends on how you feel about the game after the first full fledged prison you make. Do you want to make more stuff, or do you want to put the keyboard and mouse down and move on? I think this game has the potential of having several playthroughs. Its definitely a good game to revisit after you haven't played it for awhile. Its a fun game but I don't know if replaying it directly after your first prison will be quite as satisfying as the first so you may want to take a break then come back to get another bite.

Overall, even though people have died and the prison inmates sleep comfortably with their hidden shivs at night, its still quite an enjoyable experience and is quite fun. I got this for almost full price but I can say that this is worth the full price, overall. Get this game if you haven't already. Its worth a playthrough or two.
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20 of 21 people (95%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
97.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 30
When I got it? It was good. Some kinks here and there but still playable. Now? Great. Just about every kink I could remember has been ironed out and the game is better than ever. It's something I can play for hours on end and always find things to do.
It has a good learning curve, but nothing that should turn down anyone who doesn't usually play these kinds of games from buying it. Every jail I open is always better than the last in some way, and the planning feature is a blessing to help make sure of that.

There's so much I can say about this game, and all I could say would be good, but nothing beats the experience you get from just playing it yourself.
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