Prison Architect -Switch review03/09/2018
Prison Architect on Nintendo Switch is a perfect fit.
Simulation games are high on the go experiences.
A spare five minutes on a commute and you can finish that new prison block or re-assign your staff.
Then when you get home, you can either curl up on the couch with it in your hand or dock it and enjoy on the big screen.
I am happy to report that the port to the Switch has come off seamlessly.
My worry was once you grew your prison beyond a certain point you might start to see performance issues, but that is not the case. The button mapping, while not as responsive as on the PC still feels logical and easy to use, especially if you are coming from the PS4 version.
If this is your first foray into Prison Architect think Two Point Hospital except instead of healing the sick, you are rehabilitating inmates in prisons of varying difficulties. Graphically the game may look simple at first, but it has a beautiful aesthetic and looks even sharper on the beautiful Switch LCD screen.
As I said at first glance, you could easily mistake this for a simple game.
But you will very quickly realise that under the hood the game has an incredible amount of depth. Each prisoner has a full bio and history. You can see their age, behaviour; time served, what they did to end up in the slammer. Even their family history.
In Prison Architect you are not only building a prison but tasked with deciding how to run it. Do you want to be a strict, no-nonsense owner that gives your prisoners the bare minimum and enforces strict laws by force? Or do you want to be more lenient?
Treat your prisoners with more humanity and offer them the likes of activities to do, TVs in their cells and a chance at gaining an education.
The latter approach can be more challenging, but it has its rewards. One of the many things you are judged on in Prison Architect is a re-offending rate. You want to keep it as low as possible and if you rehabilitate your prisoners properly and give them a second chance with a new skill or qualification the possibility of them coming back into your care decreases tenfold.
You have Prison Stories, which acts as a tutorial putting you in specific scenarios and guiding you through the situation. As I stated earlier, the game is incredibly in-depth, and this mode is critical to getting you ready to take on the challenge from scratch at a later date.
There is also a mode called World of Wardens where you can play prisons created by other players in the community. Likewise, you can upload your creations for others to enjoy.
This mode is a real eye-opener as you can create something that you are reasonably proud of and then instantly be brought back down to reality when you see the intricacy of the top-rated prisons others have designed.
A new Escape Mode DLC also released for PS4 and Xbox One last week.
Allows you to take on the role of an inmate trying to escape. Double Eleven promises expanded gameplay, an XP and skills system, and bribable guard dogs.
Which sounds like it could add a whole new aspect to the game.
Prison Architect is an outstanding game and one of the best job simulations to date. The focus in this genre is rightly on Two Point Hospital at the moment.
But this game is not to be slept on.
Its release on the Switch as well as the new DLC could breathe even more life into an already stacked and addictive game.