You may have played theme park, hospital or game development simulators, but nothing can prepare you for the comedic criminal construction chaos that is Prison Architect (Free). Having launched in 2015 on PC to critical acclaim – and a BAFTA award in 2016 to add to its many accolades – Prison Architect puts you in prime control of a maximum security facility, with your tasks including literally constructing the concrete walls that separate your wildly unstable inmates from the outside world, as well as managing the variably violent criminals that are incarcerated in the lock-up. The mobile iteration of Prison Architect has been a long time coming, and after a limited soft launch in the Netherlands, the game has finally released worldwide on the App Store and is available to download for free, exclusively for tablet devices.
While British developer Introversion Software was responsible for the development of the original game, the mobile version is being formally published by Paradox Interactive. Apart from the extra name in the credits, this means that the long-term support of Prison Architect is firmly secure, which means only money and crime statistics can threaten your penitentiary’s growth over the course of the game. With a fully fledged Campaign Mode where the prison experience is conveyed through numerous cutscenes and challenges (successive chapters are available through in-app purchases), Prison Architect is full to the brim with content, and is an essential purchase for any simulator fans who own an iPad. If you’re an iPhone owner, the screen real estate sadly makes a future universal Prison Architect update unlikely, but there has never been a better reason to upgrade to a tablet device. For even more Jailhouse Rock, head down to our forum thread for meticulous detention center designs and further discussion on Prison Architect.