Prison Simulator: Prologue – Actually a business sim (a violent business sim)

Developed by Baked Games S.A., published by Baked Games S.A., PlayWay S.A. – May 20, 2021 (PC)
*MSRP: Free –

Prison Simulator: Prologue is a semi realistic prison sim where you play from the perspective of a prison guard. It is quite janky, but there is some potential fun to be had here.

You have to make sure the fingerprints, name, and id number match before accepting new prisoners.

The game simulates the daily grind of being a prison guard by making you complete tasks, with breaks in between. The first task in this demo is to make sure the check-in process for new prisoners goes smoothly. In order for this to happen, you have to make sure the documentation is correct. This section may be familiar for those that have played games like Papers Please, albeit much more simplified. You make sure that the fingerprints, name, and id number match in the documents, check the prisoner and his belongings for contraband, and then hand them some complimentary prison gear. Everyone love free swag. If you complete tasks poorly, your standing with other guards will decrease.

You can work out in the yard to increase your stamina. Can I have a spot bro?

After each task, you usually have a segment of free time in which you can take part in many activities or skip it altogether by sleeping on an open bench. The activities can be separated into three categories, mini games, side quests, and training. The mini games available in the demo were a variety of dart games, playing basketball, and shooting targets at the firing range. The side quests usually involved talking to prisoners and letting them sneak in contraband. Training consisted of weight lifting to increase the stamina bar and purchasing upgrades for your skill tree.

Searching through packages for contraband is monotonous and tedious but I actually enjoyed the process.

Another task required you to search through incoming packages for contraband. You are given the option to let them through (usually when you cut a deal with the prisoner), take it for yourself to enjoy, or report it so that it can be confiscated. Once again, doing a poor job will decrease standing with the guards while catering to the prisoners will increase your standing with them.

You take attendance by taking count of prisoners. Sometimes they get rowdy and won’t go back in.

The last task involved taking role call before locking the prisoners in for the evening. You take your clicker and take attendance as the prisoners stand in front of their cells. Some of the inmates will be rebellious and must be subdued with force by using your night stick. The melee fighting system does not feel that great but it is serviceable.

The default mouse sensitivity for the shooting is way too high so I suggest lowering it dramatically.

On top of all of this is an unexpected but pleasant narrative element. After your first day on the job, there is a giant prison riot. All the prisoners are free, the building is being trashed, and everything is on fire. You get to grab your trusty pistol and shoot every prisoner down. Presumably the guns contain rubber bullets, otherwise the prison is going to be quite empty after you finish this section. You regain control, order is reestablished, and the demo ends after a black out. The ending seems to imply that there will be a simple base building portion to the game where you rebuild the sections broken in the riot.

Overall, I had a pretty decent time with Prison Simulator: Prologue. The graphics are not the best and the performance was not that spectacular on my machine as well. However, there was some fun to be had in the monotonous repetition and overall tediousness to the tasks in the game. The narrative elements were also a pleasant surprise as most PlayWay S.A. titles focus more on game play than having a narrative.

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