Prison Architect

Build to try to keep them in or try to break out!!!

Simple but intricate prison building simulator.  You need to manage and build a successful prison. There are many ways to control and customize your very own prison. 

You start out as the new warden, and the CEO calls you to help make improvements to his prisons. The game offers random events that can complicate daily life and construction.  Can you build a profitable, well managed, happy prison? 

Can you keep the CEO Happy? 

Warden calling

There are many other ways to play, which are found in the Extra's menu.

It takes repeatability and creativity in this game to a new level.  There are so many fun modes to try!

  • Campaign
  • Sandbox
  • Warden
  • Escape
Main Menu

Escape mode can also be found through the Extras menu, build a prison yourself and try to escape it, or download and try to escape a friend's! 

Escape mode turns you into the prisoner!

It keeps your window zoomed in and keeps you isolated as much as possible from the map. Try your luck at befriending prisoners to make a gang, smuggle and hide items, and try to escape!  Good luck! This mode can be made easy or impossible depending on your builds.

Try challenging your friends today!

Escape 2

The Steam workshop offers many different player made mods and prisons you can download and try.

Upload your creations and download your friend's for a real challenge!

Prison Sharing can be found easily within your menus for uploading your prison.

Can you escape? Can you keep the prisoners from rioting and escaping?  Good luck with all the varieties the workshop has to offer.

steam workshop

Sandbox mode offers plenty of customizations. This is also where your mods are going to work the most.

Adjust the setting for the type of challenge you want, and start building!

Sandbox mode

Warden mode can also be found from this page as well.  You are also tightly zoomed onto the Warden, and you need to build and manage your prison as usual.  This mode brings the difficulty up as you cannot zoom out, and you must make important choices.

Warden Mode

The Campaign has a very short storyline you follow through, it's essentially a long tutorial. 

I was a little bummed by the lack of storyline, but there are other ways to challenge the strength of your prison. I totally would have given this a full 10 if it didn't take a day to beat it.


There are two different endings that I have seen depending on your choices in game.


Once you run through the campaign mode the first time, the game unlocks the Mutators menu. This allows for even more fun in sandbox mode with more challenging prisons, and modes to make it easier as well.  


There are so many Menus to customize and control your prison. You can make choices about so many different things! 

menus 1

The prisoners and staff members have needs, make sure everyone is happy and healthy or things can go bad very quickly!



Unlocking things through bureaucracy opens up new items, staff, and menus that make your prison run smoother, and more profitable. This also lets you unlock very many aspects of the game.

You can start getting things approved also while your intake is off. Try to get some of the more helpful ones done during this time to make things much easier. Things like deployment, patrols, cleaning, health, and intelligence make things run much smoother.


Programs are essential for making sure your prisoners have something productive to do, and ways to become members of society again! 

There are also ways for your prisoners to make your prison money. 

Certain rooms are needed for the programs to work so make sure you have all your ducks in a row before starting anything new, you also have to make some time in your regimen and have hired the proper staff. 


Financing your prison and making sure you are profitable can seem overwhelming, but with the self calculating menus, it makes budgeting easy!


There are also several grants you can unlock for a boost of moolah!  These will really help in the early days and in the campaign.  For a real challenge unlimited funds can be turned off in sandbox mode.


There are also so many detailed methods of building, and menus to use. Rooms have requirements for them to function properly, and it will list them within a warning menu until they are completed.  Be careful when making certain rooms and prisons too big.  It takes time to get from place to place and you will have mad prisoners if they cant make it to lunch or work on time.

You can also pause the prisoner intake to get a good structure built before testing it with inmates. It also keeps the prison doors unlocked and allows for faster building.

build menu 1

You essentially can see underground with the piping and electricity menus. I would build your utilities before you start building too many things on the top. Walls and certain items can block power line and pipe placement.


Steam offers several achievements you can unlock. Mostly from collecting and building things. But there are a few that are campaign related, play and enjoy!


This game offers many things to collect, and find.  

There are several game bible pages, names, and polaroids to collect, by tightly zooming in and searching around your prison as you play and build.  Keep a keen eye out for these items as they show up randomly through events and builds in your prison. 

Game bible

My overall opinion is I love this game. There are so many ways to play that if I get bored with something, there are many mods and prisons to try! I love designing and building new prisons, and experimenting with all the settings.  There are many challenges that pop up, and scenarios to try! It does have a lot of adult language and scenarios, so it is not quite for the kiddos.  Escape mode is such a fun challenge. Steam also did not disappoint with the achievements at all.  I wish there was more campaigns and challenges to this game.  Looking forward to any DLC that may possible come... ( maybe if I just wish really hard! )

Score 9 out of 10

Very simple graphics, like clipart meets pen drawings. Detailed with simple but great textures. Sound effects are really helpful judging the mood of your prison, and are spot on. The more you zoom the more detailed sounds you get, they also change depending on where you are looking.

There are seriously so many ways to play this game, there is no way you can't find a mode you won't like. With the Steam workshop there are many mods, and prisons to try!

The bigger your prison gets, the more sprites on your map. Which can cause issues and make your system run hard. Just because you CAN do something, doesnt mean you should... Every computer is different so test out a few builds and see where your limits are. Be careful when downloading large prisons from the workshop. Mods can also crash your game, so try adding them one at a time.

The storyline goes really quick for this game, it feels like essentially a long tutorial. I really wish there was more.


  • Lots of different game modes. Build your prisons to keep your inmates in, or try escape mode!
  • Steam Workshop makes wonderful Mods, Prisons, and its sharing menus are easy to use!
  • Very simple graphics, but very well detailed and with great background sounds. Really lets you judge your prisons mood.
  • With so many control menus you can really customize your prisons.
  • This game never ends!!
  • This game never ends!!
  • 348+ hours, this game calls to me in my sleep. I just wish there was more Campaign mode.
  • Gigantic prisons can get glitchy at times, and are difficult to manage. But not impossible. Be Patient.
  • There are a lot of details to learn at first.
  • Building can be tedious and repetative at times.