I used to be a big fan of management games such as Theme Park/Hospital, Startopia, Capitalism, Transport Tycoon, RollercoasterTycoon and so on. Back to those days i really wanted 2 types of those: a school management and a prison management game. Introversion Software realized some kind of childhood dream here, just thank you for daring to cover this harsh topic!
Prison Architect is a 2D prisoner management game. You'll be asked to give each wave of prisoners a place to sleep, to eat, to wash and eventually to learn as well as ensuring the atmosphere is safe enough for them to go out of there in 1 piece. There is always something to do in Prison Architect due to the pressure of the constant wave of prisoners coming. This brings good dynamics to the game.
Each prisoner has its own personnality, a good warden will quickly split those petty thieves and those murderers into different level of security within your prison. Treat any of them bad, and they'll soon riot. Give them a place to receive education and visits from their families, soon your prison will be famous for putting criminals back on the right track.
Most of the time in Prison Architect, you're buidling. New rooms, electricity, water, fences, the content is big concerning the building part. The gameplay diversifies when it comes to drug enforcement, establish a security strategy, tunnel digging counter measures... I really like the way it densifies the game. You also need to research to get new features and get extra cash from grants when you achieve certain goals.
It's deep and well done. Graphics are unique, check the video above and you'll immediately understand. No technical problems are restraining you from playing the game except for the biggest prisons, but it's no big deal..
At the moment of this review (10/2014) the game is still early access. The team is working hard and keeps communicating with the community. I didnt want to play the early access not to waste the experience but at the moment the content is so important that you can really have fun with the game.
I strongly recommend you to play Prison Architect!