This game is good, but it's so slow moving that there's no telling if it will get any better.
After building 2-3 prisons, you'll get the hang of the game and all challenge is thrown out the window. Oh, and don't expect anything crazy when you intentionally destroy your prison by not feeding your prisoners. You'll be left disappointed.
At the moment, I can't recommend this just based on the development speed. I've been keeping my eye on it and watching each patch, but they're never anything substantial and only amount to:
1. Bug fixes
2. One new feature (e.g. Alpha 15 implemented guard dogs, and an entire forum post was dedicated to dogs.)
These sorts of patches are fine, but they come at a pace of one every 1-2 months** , so one has to wonder how much actual work gets done in the office.
Mods are advertised with the Steam Workshop, but unless you want to add more money (grants) or change how the game looks, you'll be disappointed. I scanned through the prisoner files in hopes that I could change prisoner behavior (Random riots from unstable prisoners, anyone?), but I was left disappointed.
I would wait a long time on this one. At the current pace, the game won't be finished for several more years.
Side note: This is one problem with Early Access. This game is potentially very good, and people see that: It has already sold well. Now the devs are free to take their time, which is great. But you can't count on everyone to have a strong work ethic when they have no deadlines to meet and they've already been paid.
I had some misinformation in my original review.
One to two months was slightly incorrect, but the game has a monthly update cycle.http://www.introversion.co.uk/prisonarchitect/builds.html
There has been only one instance where updates took two months, so I apologize for my incorrect statement.
Here's the list of new features over the past 6 months:
Aug13- Prisoners dig out, punishment settings
Oct13- Guard dogs
Nov13- Mods, staff fatigue
Dec13- Segregate prison, share mods.
(It's worth noting that segregation of prisoners was completely useless at the time)
Jan 14 - Shotgun guards
Feb 14 - Rehab programs for prisoners
That is the pace of this game, and it's a fact. I find the updates to be incredibly slow from a feature standpoint. Some may disagree, but I find the game to be barebones when taken as a whole. I am NOT disputing the game's alpha status. It is definitely that. I firmly believe the game will be a solid title at some point. It's just that, considering the rate of development of this title, I cannot recommend purchasing it at this time.
Posted: January 30th, 2014