Posted in Recent Games

Prison Architect

Regular readers won’t be shocked to see another simulation game making it’s way to this site. Prison Architect has a habit of dragging me back to it by simple association … whenever I watch something on TV based around a prison (Orange Is The New Black, for example) I suddenly get the strongest urge to hop back in and start making my own prison!

There’s just something about designing layouts, considering the efficiency ad functionality of the various sections as you build them. Perhaps I missed my true calling?

When I first bought this game, it was quite simple and bare-bones. Over time, continuous updates have built upon the excellent foundation that the original base game provided. The premise of Prison Architect as you can probably guess is to build and manage your own prison from scratch. There are the usual challenges that you might expect, such as balancing a budget, having the right amount of staffing, that sort of thing. But being a prison game, there are lots of extra things for you to consider.

Your prisoners will have to be looked after, and also watched closely – a prison riot is but one unfortunate incident away! Will you decide to be a cruel warden? Or will you create educational programs and work opportunities? Will you let the prisoners do their thing or will you crack down and confiscate all contriband?

The game is so well looked after by the creators, it is crazy to think of just how many differences there are between the original release and the game as it is today. Besides the many new rooms, items, and mechanics, my favourite of the new additions has to be escape mode. A mode which adds an entirely new layer of challenge and enjoyment to an already enjoyable game.

Escape Mode allows you to jump into the prison as a fresh-faced convict, straight off the bus. As a prisoner, your job is ultimately to escape. Of course, such a feat doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time, patience and planning. There are a number of different ways for you to consider. Maybe you prefer to stealthily gather the items you need and hide them in safe places where you can collect them later to make your grand escape. Or perhaps you’ll form a gang and overthrow the prison, destroying everything in your path, burning the prison down as you walk out towards your freedom.

It gets even better – you can access the Steam workshop to load up prisons made by other players and try to escape from them. I can tell you, there are some REAL challenges to be found on there! I’m not entirely sure if it is possible to load the prisons of other players on the console version, but I certainly hope it is available, because it really does raise the bar just that extra little bit.

Overall, it just feels like Prison Architect has an extra layer of challenge compared to most other simulation games, seeing as it literally could all go wrong in an instant. You will have to keep your wits about you and ensure that you have a good regime in place otherwise you will find yourself subjected to prison riots, arson, assaults, escape attempts, and even murder. They are criminals after all!

It’s a huge thumbs up from me, it really is one of the best simulation games out there. The minimalist style is charming, the hidden humour is satisfying, and the gameplay is just excellent.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Release Date: 06/10/2015 (PC), 28/06/2016 (PS4, Xbox One), 20/08/2018 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Genre: Simulation
Posted in Old Games

Democracy 3

Democracy 3 is a politics simulation game where you are the leader of the country (finally a chance to see what all the fuss is about)! When you set the game up you will get to choose which country you want from a number of options, and you’ll set various other options before you jump in.

I will be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little about politics, much less than I should know. Despite this, something about Democracy 3 makes me keep coming back for more.

You will spend most of your time staring at the same screen, which shows you all the laws that are in place, all the problems you suffer, all the situations that are happening, as well as your popularity with the various demographics. To me this screen is reminiscent of a mind map (going back to my primary school days now) where there are the different sections; transport, law and order, public services, tax, economy, welfare and foreign policy.

How it works is that you have a set amount of “Political Capital” each turn, which you then spend on implementing new policies, or changing/cancelling existing ones. This is going to be a true test of your management skills, as you will find at the beginning of your term in office that the country is facing plenty of problems for you to tackle. As well as that, you also need to be wary of your funds – the economy will take a serious downfall if you allow the country’s deficit to get too out of hand!

Each turn will show you how the state of the country has changed following your policy changes, as well as informing you of any situations that arise. And you will also be informed by any potential plots that might be underway … it’s impossible to keep everyone happy, and some groups may resort to extreme measures if they are displeased with your leadership.

On top of this, your cabinet members may decide they don’t like the way you’re leading the country – something you’ll want to keep an eye on! Your cabinet members are the ones who generate your Political Capital, and they will generate less for you as they get more displeased with your actions. Each one has loyalties to different demographics, and if they don’t like you, then the cabinet member won’t like you either. If you can’t satisfy them, you’d better get someone else in who is more suited to your play style!

It can be very tricky to keep everything perfectly balanced – there will almost always be something that comes out of no where to throw a spanner in the works! I could be running a perfect country, and yet someone (usually capitalists…) will still see fit to plan my assassination.

Election day is the other possible way for your leadership to come to an end – as important as it is to make changes that are beneficial to the country, you also have to bear in mind what the voters think! Implementing too many policies that annoy the public will spell disaster for you once election day comes around.

So all in all, this has become one of my favourite simulation games – and I daresay it’s even managed to teach me a thing or two about politics!


  • Platform: PC
  • Release Date: 14/10/2013
  • Genre: Political Simulation, Management