Prison Simulator PC Review

Prison Simulator is mostly work, with some play.

By Fragnarok, Posted 16 Nov 2021

Prison Simulator is a first-person simulation game by Baked Games SA. Players take control of a new prison guard on their first day of the job. One also fully customizes the 16 starting inmates of their initial wing, B block. This includes their looks, personality, crime, and motivations. One will need to decide if they will strictly follow the Warden’s orders, go easy on the inmates, or underhandedly look out for themselves.

Prison Simulator|Baked Games SA|Steam

Prison simulator has two main game modes: freeplay and story. In freeplay, the prison is completely constructed, allowing all sorts of different event combinations to happen each shift. The story on the other hand begins with just the basic prison. Players are guided by the prison Warden and a few other guards. Events are in a predetermined order, with players allowed access to the prison’s budget to improve rooms, buy new gear, or increase the overall quality of the facility. Characters are also given more personality and motivation, rather than seeming like a group of random AI playing out a routine.

Players start with a few pieces of basic equipment. This includes a walkie-talkie to communicate with the rest of the staff, a tally counter for various checks, and a nightstick that can use to pacify or harm people; one can also use their fists for a slightly faster attack. More aggressive or athletic actions use up stamina, and when it is fully depleted one will be winded while it restores. Players will also need to eat over the course of the day to maintain health, though the meter is always restored the next workday. Players also have the option of adding in two types of game over: Permadeath where one dies if health is depleted and Merciless where saves are also deleted upon death.   

Prison Simulator|Baked Games SA|Steam

As players level up, they can gain new active and passive skills. Oddly, this isn’t done via a menu. Players will instead need to head to the Guard’s Room and speak to the NPC Alexander Davis. This is partly due to Davis needing to be paid cash in order to acquire such abilities. His talents may include improved combat performance, faster running, negotiation for better deals, or even the power to get other guards to the player’s job for them. While this seems like a lot of customization, filling out the entire tree will likely occur just by playing through the game. 

Prison Simulator has a number of possible duties players may be assigned. This can include checking prisoner attendance, overseeing the prison workshop, inspecting parcels, searching cells, and more. Each task has different objectives that may involve carefully inspecting documents and speaking to people - very similar to puzzle simulations like Papers, Please. Other times, one may need to keep order by threatening troublemakers or even completely knocking out the worst criminals.

Prison Simulator|Baked Games SA|Steam

After each event, players will have free time to take on a few leisure activities. This can include side tasks like working out, playing darts, cleaning equipment, or just relaxing. Some of these can lead to stat improvements, direct end-of-day pay, or winner takes all betting. Most workdays are typically an opening event, a single break time, and a closing event. Players are free to explore around the massive prison, but most items cannot be interacted with. This just leads to the option of checking their performance and heading home for the night. 

A big factor is a faction and individual respect. Fellow guards and the prison Warden expect players to follow the rules correctly and report any illegal activities. Prisoners appreciate being treated well and letting them keep contraband. Several prisoners will also be part of a gang, and the player’s reputation with one member might reflect well with the rest. One also has the option to be completely corrupt, taking illegal items for themselves and possibly directly stealing from their employer.

Prison Simulator|Baked Games SA|Steam

Prison Simulator does have a few minor but constant bugs. Due to being in first-person view, up-close tasks like searching and examining can often lead to players staring directly at unclear textures or inside geometry as the canned animation plays out. Similarly, due to most animations being non-physics based or at all dynamic, many characters will clip straight through objects or interact with something several feet away. Last, being armed does not disable other controls with the same inputs. This can lead to funny times where players will be unleashing attack combos while reviewing forms or having a calm conversation.

As the name implies, Prisoner Simulator is emulating the job of being a prison guard. Players should go in with this exact expectation. Large parts of the game capture the mundane day-to-day tasks and routines of an employee working up the ladder. While there might be moments of random excitement, the vast majority of the gameplay loop is never-ending repetitive and boring assignments for middling wages. This absence of fun might make it hard for some players to make it through story mode.

Prison Simulator|Baked Games SA|Steam

Overall, Prison Simulator is a great representation of working in a prison and seeing the life of an inmate. There are lots of possible schedules, events, and freedom to interact with NPCs. But most of them will eventually become an ordinary routine. Those who enjoy jobs like this will find a lot to do within Prison Simulator. However, those looking for an actual game may be perplexed by the constant monotony.

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Baked Games SA
Developer(s): Baked Games SA
Genres: Simulation
Themes: Prison, Crime, Law, Work
Release Date: 2012-11-04

View All

Popular Articles