Prison Architect Mobile Review

Prison Architect Mobile is a simulation game where the goal is to build and manage a prison in which some of the toughest baddies are taken to. First made on the PC with huge success, this game now comes to Android and iOS phones in hopes of giving you a game that lets you create the most secure prison on the go. It’s probably not the kind of game you’ve ever played before. Let’s take a look at what it’s like to manage a maximum security prison.

Prison Architect Mobile Game Play

Upon launching the game you get a nice introduction to the prison that you can manage in the campaign mode. Inmates sleeping in their cells, new inmates arriving, engineers placing doors and toilets in cells. You immediately also see the simple but nice NPC models, showing only their head and torso. There are various facilities that you can build, and each facility first requires making a building with an entrance.

This may take some time, as your workmen slowly bring materials from the storage to the area you are building at. I like how this is done. It shows that it’s somewhat realistic and that a building can’t get instantly made out of nothing. Everything that you build will require these little workmen to come to the construction area and do all the hard work.

Prison Architect Mobile Story Mode

Prison Architect Mobile Gameplay

After beating this 1st Chapter that is basically a tutorial that introduces you to a few things in the game such as Utilities mode in which you place electric cables throughout the prison for electricity, you find out something very unfortunate. To continue this story mode you need to buy the rest of the Chapters as an In-App Purchase. What’s worse, it’s not a price tag that unlocks all Chapters and the beloved Architect mode, but only the next Chapter. There are 5 Chapters in total and each Chapter costs $3. Apparently there is an option to buy the full game for $15, but I don’t see it anywhere in the game at all.

Architect Mode

In Architect Mode you start from scratch with some money, a few workers and materials which arrive in regular intervals. You have complete control to build the kind of prison that you want. There are no objectives that force you to do this or that. The only thing to keep an eye on is when the prisoners are supposed to arrive. Other than that, you have full freedom over everything else. Except that you actually don’t.

When installing the Prison Architect Mobile you probably expected to at least have enough fun content that you can play for free. But you don’t. Even the Architect mode has a few, crucial limitations. You can only get a max of 40 prisoners. Maybe that’s not too bothering for you but, hold on. That’s not all. You’re limited to only 7 in-game days. Yep, that’s how long your prison will last in this demo. 7 days.

That’s not really a lot of time. It doesn’t really let you create the best prison that you can. And that’s not all, there’s more! You think this would be enough, but no, there has to be something more. The option to adjust map generation is completely locked. No way to adjust any option. They could’ve at least allowed some part of map generation to adjust, but instead, they fully lock it. That’s not alright.

Okay, maybe all these limitations are totally fine for you. Maybe they are. If it were only these limitations, you could still have fun with the game for a bit. But, there’s yet another limitation.


This limitation is so huge that it basically makes it pointless to spend time playing the free version of the game at all. You cannot save your game.

Yep. There’s no option to save all the things you’ve built so far. You would think that you could say, make the first few cells and walls and all the important bits a prison needs, then turn off the game to continue later when you feel like it. No, you can’t. None of your progress is saved.

Technical Problems

Prison Architect Mobile Issues

There is actually an auto-save option but it’s very unreliable. It worked once, but the next time my save was completely lost. On top of all the limitations I mentioned the game doesn’t seem to always even work properly. Crashes just seem to randomly occur. It also feels a bit laggy at times when it’s not supposed to, especially in the menu, for no good reason. The graphics in this game are simple and look decent, they aren’t anything that should push your device to the limit. This lack of optimization is terrible.



  • Very good gameplay with lots of things to manage.
  • Unique management sim, something not really done before.


  • The game randomly crashes.
  • Might feel a bit laggy at times when it’s not supposed to.
  • Free version is very limited.
  • No save option in the free version of Architect mode is terrible and makes it worthless planning a well thought out prison.

Prison Architect Mobile:Download

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