Percentile Rank

Prison Architect is ranked in the 76th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.

Rating Summary

Based on 61 critic reviews
Strong Man

OpenCritic Rating

80

Top Critic Average

81%

Critics Recommend

Based on 61 critic reviews

Score Distribution

Unscored Reviews

Kotaku
Yes
Yes
Oct 12, 2015

A deep, absorbing prison sim that won't teach you anything about mass incarceration in America. Enough interlocking systems to keep your mind off the systemic inequities in our actual prison system. The campaign can be boring and the tutorials are inadequate. Escape mode is disappointing.

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Eurogamer
Recommended
Recommended
Oct 7, 2015

Emerging from Early Access lean and focused, Prison Architect is one of the best management games in a long time.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Unscored
Unscored
Oct 6, 2015

[T]hose who haven't got it by now may be quite happy to continue ignoring it. I think this would be an enormous shame. If this is you, I want to tell you that it is a game worth playing.

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PCWorld
Unscored
Unscored
Oct 6, 2015

Prison Architect is a mostly-honest and unflinching look at our modern society and its approach towards prisoner rehabilitation...or lack thereof. It's a fascinating game, in no small part because it so expertly casts a real-world debate in video game terms and in doing so forces players to examine their own beliefs. And it's a hell of a lot of fun, besides.

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Scored Reviews

Guardian
Oct 9, 2015

How difficult could it be to build a jail and keep everyone inside? With this impressively detailed simulation, you're about to find out

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GamingTrend
95 / 100
95 / 100
Oct 6, 2015

The game is so deep that no review can capture all you will see and do in Prison Architect, but rarely does a simulation game hit on all levels from building down to micromanagement so well. Prison Architect overcomes a few minor glitches to earn extraordinary status, and is a must-play for anyone looking to kill some time punishing crime.

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GameSpew
9 / 10
9 / 10
Oct 19, 2015

Prison Architect does have a campaign mode (if you can call it that), but it's a bit subsided… where it does shine though is in its storytelling

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GameGrin
9 / 10.0
9 / 10.0
Oct 20, 2015

Prison Architect started out as a diamond in the rough and has been polished and hewn into a truly unique gaming experience. Introversion Software can be proud that they've built Prison Architect the right way and created an exceptional game unrivalled by many in the industry.

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PS3Blog.net
88%
88%
Aug 12, 2016

I have enjoyed the game, and every hour spent playing for my Prison Architect review was certainly worth it. It is very addictive, with tons of content to enjoy across all its modes. You can play the game as you see fit, and the amount of freedom you have is incredible.

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Gamers FTW
8.8 / 10.0
8.8 / 10.0
Oct 9, 2015

Prison Architect takes a while to get the hang of, but once the basics have been mastered, it offers multiple options for experimentation in its impressive sandbox. The Campaign and Escape modes give a good change of pace, while the quirky art-style and dark undertones grab the player's attention.

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Gaming Nexus
8.8 / 10.0
8.8 / 10.0
Oct 6, 2015

Prison Architect is one of the more unique game releases in years. What would seem daunting at first, with building and managing a prison, quickly reveals to be both an addictive and entertaining gameplay experience. While minor bugs can still be found from time to time, these don't distract from the overall enjoyment of creating the perfect prison. Entrepreneurial prison designers, this is the game you need to buy.

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PC Gamer
87 / 100
87 / 100
Oct 15, 2015

A complex, challenging, and grimly satisfying simulator.

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COGconnected
87 / 100
87 / 100
Jul 1, 2016

Introversion Software and Double Eleven did a superb job making sure Prison Architect was more than your typical simulation game.

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God is a Geek
8.5 / 10.0
8.5 / 10.0
Jun 28, 2016

Prison Architect is a fantastic strategy sim which highlights both the difficulty of running a prison and keeping a lot of prisoners happy.

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Destructoid
8.5 / 10.0
8.5 / 10.0
Oct 6, 2018

I like computer books. I have a shelf packed with programming textbooks, stories about the industry, and a library of eBooks on various languages I learn and work with. I also have one oddity published by O'Reily called Getting Started With Dwarf Fortress.    Of course Dwarf Fortress is not a programming language, but a game. An infamous game known for an incredible depth of complexity and one of the worst user interfaces ever built. Aside the fact that the game is comprised entirely of ASCII characters, it is difficult enough to parse that it has its own sizeable text box. A shame considering it is one of the most unique and wonderful games around.I never mastered Dwarf Fortress, but it stoked the fires of my interest in the simulation genre and as the years have gone by there have been plenty of interesting clones of the game. Prison Architect is one such game, and while it chooses to ditch the mind boggling scope of Dwarf Fortress and focus the player on a singular task, it is not any worse off or lacking in depth because of this. After hanging around on PC, it has made its way to the Nintendo Switch, making it (for now...Rimworld, anyone?) the only notable title like it on the console.

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COGconnected
85 / 100
85 / 100
Oct 6, 2015

I recommend the game wholeheartedly to that certain brand of gamer that gets satisfaction out of building intricate little machines and watching them go. It's a unique sandbox game that has all the necessary ingredients to hook you, if you let it.

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GameWatcher
8.5 / 10.0
8.5 / 10.0
Nov 17, 2015

In many ways, Prison Architect feels like the 'Theme Prison' game from Bullfrog's golden years that we never actually got. Certainly, if Prison Architect's extended stint in Early Access was any indication, developer Introversion, much like the aforementioned legendary British developer, had no shortage of ambition and this is certainly something that has translated into the final product because minor niggles aside, Prison Architect is a one-of-a-kind prison building experience rife with emergent stories the caliber of which we haven't seen in some time.

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GamingTrend
85 / 100
85 / 100
Jul 1, 2016

Great for returning lifers, or first time criminals looking for a great builder experience.

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IGN
8.3 / 10.0
8.3 / 10.0
Oct 6, 2015

Prison Architect is one of the most in-depth, satisfying builder games in ages, if you can get past the initiation.

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Gaming Masters
8.3 / 10.0
8.3 / 10.0
Jul 17, 2016

Excellent Sandbox with a pointless tutorial

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Geeks Under Grace
8.3 / 10.0
8.3 / 10.0
May 16, 2016

Prison Architect is in good company with games like Papers, Please, providing great entertainment value without obstructing its sobering social commentary.

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GameCynic
8.2 / 10.0
8.2 / 10.0
Aug 15, 2016

Despite the occasional bug and some derpy AI here and there, Prison Architect is a solid title that hits all the right notes for simulation fans, taking an obscure concept and transforming it into a fun game that delivers hundreds of hours of playtime.

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Metro GameCentral
8 / 10
8 / 10
Oct 14, 2015

A great simulation game that recalls the glory days of Theme Hospital et al. Although at times it almost feels like a psychology study of the player rather than the inmates.

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Metro GameCentral
8 / 10
8 / 10
Jul 11, 2016

A great simulation game that works impressively well on consoles. Although at times it almost feels like a psychology study of the player rather than the inmates.

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Game Informer
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Oct 6, 2015

Great moments emerge naturally from well-made simulations, and Prison Architect has no shortage

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USgamer
Jun 29, 2016

This port of the popular PC prison-building game has been nicely executed to deliver a deep and compelling experience on consoles. Its complex menus and mechanics present a fairly steep learning curve, even with the game's effective tutorials, but once you get over it, Prison Architect is a challenging, entertaining, and surprisingly addictive game that offers plenty of potential for long-term play.

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TheSixthAxis
8 / 10
8 / 10
Oct 5, 2015

Even if Prison Architect didn't come with a thought provoking, if short, campaign, it'd be easy to recommend to anyone with an interest in management sims. That addition not only brings some depth to the game, but it also serves as one of the most enjoyable and comprehensive tutorials I've ever played in a game.

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God is a Geek
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Oct 13, 2015

Although it is weighed down by some questionable development choices, Prison Architect is a break-out success due to its sandbox alone.

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VideoGamer
8 / 10
8 / 10
Jul 5, 2016

Prison Architect is a full-on sim that will eat your time. If you fancy a dark look inside the running of a prison, look no further.

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Post Arcade (National Post)
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Aug 3, 2016

This deep penitentiary construction and simulation game is a lesson why for-profit prisons are destined for corruption and inmate mistreatment

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ZTGD
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 14, 2017

Prison Architect allows for freedom and creativity with its deep simulation systems and the multitude of player options. Players may become surprisingly invested in their prison and in their prisoners, something that can only be achieved by letting them mess with every small detail.

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Push Square
8 / 10
8 / 10
Jun 27, 2016

Prison Architect is a fantastic simulation game. Its clever systems combine in interesting and intuitive ways to create an experience which is tense, challenging, and engaging. Niggling control issues aside, the title is a terrific example of how a traditionally PC-only genre should be ported to consoles.

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Gaming Nexus
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 18, 2016

A lot of things can behave badly in prison, and I'm not just talking about the prisoners. But Prison Architect told me an engrossing story—and taught me a thing or two—with its tutorial and design.

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PlayStation Universe
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 13, 2016

The pick up and play nature of Prison Architect in tandem with its wealth of gameplay options make this title far outshine its few flaws with a charming and engaging overall package.

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TrueAchievements
Jun 28, 2016

Prison Architect is a deep offering of gameplay elements, interconnected systems, and emergent storytelling, all of which remain addictive for fans of such micromanagement. If all this sounds like more work than fun, you're probably right; this game just isn't for you. There were times when I looked at the game in my library and became stressed at the idea of playing it some more. Controlling a population of inmates who, by the basic nature of prison, don't want to be there, can feel like a second job. More often, though, I was amazed by the game's intense level of detail to the human element of being behind bars, and I walked away from the experience with an appreciation for such a stellar genre title. If you're a fan of simulations, Prison Architect is one of the best there is.

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Nintendo Life
8 / 10
8 / 10
Aug 24, 2018

It's still an awkward fit for console controls, but the game beneath them is worth the effort nonetheless.

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PlayStation LifeStyle
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jun 28, 2016

We like to have control in our games, us simulation-lovers. For me, it's because I know I can't control life. So I'm happy to dive in and control fake life. Plus, I have a general life-goal to never actually experience prison. Prison Architect satisfies a simulation need with a topic that is unique, and gives you lots of options to set up your dream prison. Dream prison? Sure.

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GameCrate
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Aug 10, 2016

Prison Architect isn't the easiest game to delve into, but it provides patient players with a deep, challenging, and entertaining experience.

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TechRaptor
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jul 1, 2016

Prison Architect is a great simulator that made the transition from computers to console admirably.

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Hardcore Gamer
4 / 5.0
4 / 5.0
Oct 20, 2015

Prison Architect is a genuinely fun game that makes you think in unexpected ways. Apart from some slight campaign fatigue and an Escape Mode with plenty of potential but poor execution, it's hard to put it down. A surprising depth of character draws you in and a depth of gameplay that keeps you there. If you love the Tycoon style of game then this is definitely for you. If that's not your thing, then give Prison Architect a go anyway, you will be pleasantly surprised. Until you realize that it's 3:23 am and you have work tomorrow, at least.

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CGMagazine
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Oct 14, 2015

Prison Architect isn't going to appeal to everyone; the simple graphics and initially overwhelming influence may scare off those hoping for something as immediately accessible and fun as Theme Park. Those who persevere will find an incredibly complex simulation that will gradually reveal more and more layers of strata as the hours invested pile up.

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games(TM)
8 / 10
games(TM)
games™ Team

Top Critic

8 / 10
Sep 29, 2016

Smart, thought-provoking and uniquely compelling

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NintendoWorldReport
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Oct 9, 2018

It should be noted that the Switch version is meant to also include an Escape Mode where you control an inmate trying to find their way out. For the purposes of this review, we haven't been able to check it out. Despite that omission, it's not hard to pour a bunch of time into Prison Architect, and I am happy to recommend it to anyone looking for a sim game to play on their couch.

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ComiConverse
Sep 26, 2016

If you can persevere through the game's poor useability, you'll find a complex and compelling sim with many player stories to tell.

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Cubed3
8 / 10
Cubed3

Top Critic

8 / 10
Jan 13, 2016

There are many upsides to Prison Architect. From its smooth and easy controls, strong gameplay, and the chance for anyone to test how they would react when placed at a position of power. Of course, the game is not without its downsides either, such as the way it can end up fairly monotone once the game is mastered, but, as a whole, it's very worthwhile.

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High-Def Digest
Jul 4, 2016

'Prison Architect' has grown from a wonky but promising idea into an awesome strategy experience. Except for some persistent pathfinding bugs, the AI and building elements are spot on, and I highly recommend this game even to people who may not normally enjoy the tycoon genre.

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Saving Content
Jun 28, 2016

The team at Introversion has made a very fun management sim and Double Eleven has done a wonderful job translating the game and it's controls to consoles. It's fun to design a prison and just as fun to run it like a well-oiled machine. That is unless you connect two power generators together causing them to short and lose power to your entire prison leaving the high security prisoners free to wander and kill any guard who happens to cross their path.

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MonsterVine
4 / 5.0
4 / 5.0
Jul 27, 2016

Prison Architect is a solid title with an engaging premise and an enjoyable campaign that can last as long as 6 hours or more.

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Rectify Gaming
8 / 10.0
8 / 10.0
Jun 29, 2016

This prison sim game is unique, memorable, and has the makings of an incredibly long playthrough off a single save file.

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PushStartPlay
7.9 / 10.0
7.9 / 10.0
Jul 21, 2016

Prison Architect: Console Edition hits a lot of the right spots to appeal to fans of strategy and construction games. The fact that it lets you play the game with an emphasis on one or the other if you want, means that it'll appeal to a wider audience.

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Stevivor
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Jul 14, 2016

Prison Architect is an excellent sandbox, a throwback to the days of Bullfrog's Theme series that forces you to balance an eye for aesthetics with pure functionality. Those who don't need to be led by the hand to explore the deep systems at play will find an excellent simulation to lose themselves in, with online sharing options providing a huge selection of prisons to explore, tear down and rebuild. If you can stomach the morality of prisons for profit you will enjoy Prison Architect.

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Pure Nintendo
7.5 / 10.0
7.5 / 10.0
Oct 29, 2018

Prison Architect is a fun building game where you get to manage your own prison. It's a little too complex at times and I don't like some of the artwork, but the pros outweigh the cons. I recommend checking it out if you're a fan of sim games.

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ZTGD
7.5 / 10.0
ZTGD

Top Critic

7.5 / 10.0
Oct 22, 2015

After some time with Prison Architect, I can't say that that I've completely warmed up to the genre just yet. Still, that doesn't mean I regret the time I spent playing it either. Even though Prison Architect has its share of flaws and limitations, it's still a fun experience I'm sure fans of the genre will enjoy.

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Digital Chumps
7.2 / 10.0
7.2 / 10.0
Jun 28, 2016

Creating a candid simulation of a correctional facility is Prison Architect's purpose. Its power is allowing the player to decide if moral indifference—their own or Prison Architect's—is either a strength or weakness. Prison Architect's trip to the PlayStation 4 undermines its capability with an unnecessary layer of obstruction, but the interference it creates isn't impossible to overcome.

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GameSpot
7 / 10
7 / 10
Oct 13, 2015

Tonally schizophrenic, yet still one of the more fascinating game experiences ever made.

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TrustedReviews
Jul 8, 2016

Prison Architect is a solid simulation experience that raises the stakes thanks to pulling no punches when it comes to human beings being locked-up. A surprise treat.

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Fintendo
Sep 4, 2018

"A warden can also be an architect"

Review in Finnish | Read full review

The Cube
7 / 10
7 / 10
May 31, 2016

Prison Architect is a game I would definitely recommend to any simulation diehards, but some looking for a more accessible pathway into the genre may want to take it easy. However, most of the major flaws have been ironed out from the Early Access experience, which is a sign of improvement others aren't as worthy of.

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Player.One
Oct 9, 2015

Prison Architect finally launched a full version with a campaign, but longtime fans will be disappointed.

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Kill Screen
55 / 100
55 / 100
Oct 6, 2015

Every system locks us up. But sims like Prison Architect throw away the keys.

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Impulsegamer
2.5 / 5.0
2.5 / 5.0
Jul 31, 2016

The game definitely suits one who loves crafting games, though as a beginner in the field this game works well as it's fairly user friendly and small enough in scale you won't get lost in it, strangely addictive at times yet not enough to steal you away from the big names in terms of longevity.

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