Prison Architect’s 13th update lets you live the life of a warden, up close and personal

Prison Architect

If there’s anything big crime/prison-break movies have taught me, it’s that when things turn sour in prison, the warden gets a big, juicy target painted on his back. Returning to the game after a hiatus (mostly spent working on console ports), Introversion’s Prison Architect now allows you to live a life in a warden’s shoes, complete with optional perma-death mechanics.

With your life on the line, that’s all the more reason to build a peaceful prison, no?

Simulating abject human misery isn’t your thing? Perhaps Planet Coaster, or something else from our list of must-play simulation games is more your speed.

While gameplay is mostly the same as ever, the biggest difference when playing as the Warden is that your line of sight is limited to what your character can see, although security cameras extend your vision even without the aid of a monitor to watch them on. If nothing else, it should give you a better idea of what your guards can and can’t see at any given moment, and might lead to you designing prisons that are easier to navigate on foot.

Being a big juicy target in the event of things turning bad, you do have a few defensive options as warden. You can assign guards to act as your personal escort (at the cost of a major increase to their wages), and if things go completely to hell, you can attempt to defend yourself, picking up weapons (improvised or otherwise) and body armor to ensure that you survive whatever disaster has just befallen your penitentiary empire.

While the largest of the new features, there are a few more goodies included in version 13, including an Attract Mode, finally giving the game a proper splash screen, with the camera wandering and fading between in-game scenes picked at random from either a pre-made prison (if you’re fresh to the game), or one of your own, if you’ve got save files to hand.

The update also adds floor signs, which in addition to looking very stylish will override AI pathfinding to a degree, letting you decide what paths and queues are used in your prison. Emergency deployments of staff will ignore signs, of course, for the sake of response times. There’s also a slew of bug-fixes and balance changes. You can see the full, extended patch notes here.

Prison Architect is currently on sale for £5/$7.50 on both Steam and GOG.