9 Simulation Games Like Prison Architect

Image credit: Paradox Interactive

Prison Architect is a game like no other. It set its mark in the industry by combining gameplay from titles like RimWorld and Dwarf Fortress, making it more accessible, with a fun and vivid setting. Instead of a space colony, you’re in charge of designing and running an entire prison!

In Prison Architect, you take on the role of a warden. You get to create and develop your own penitentiary. You’ll also be dealing with unique inmates, with their own personalities and history—trying to keep everything under control.

This leads to deep simulation and management systems, which if you’re looking for more games like Prison Architect—we don’t need to mention how addictive it is! Behind Prison Architect’s charming, pixel visuals is a complex sim game that you can spend hundreds of hours in.

Here are some other titles that share similar, deep simulation mechanics, the potential for emergent storytelling, and gameplay!

The Escapists 2

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

Ever wonder what it’d be like on the other side of the jail cell? When it comes to games like Prison Architect, you should put The Escapists 2 on the top of your list to try!

If you were especially a huge fan of Escape Mode in Prison Architect, you’ll find this game a blast. It offers a more in-depth prison escape sim experience, all in a familiar pixelated style!

In The Escapists 2, either solo or with three friends have to create a crew and execute the perfect escape! You can even play together on the same screen, classic couch co-op style.

Not only do you get to customize your own character, but you get to go all in with the sim elements. Your character has its own stats you’ll need to grow.

For example, you’ll actually need to hit up the in-game gym to grow stronger! You’ll also need to get creative, gathering everyday items for crafting to build the tools you’ll need.

Ranging from gathering magazines or duct tape to put together makeshift weapons. There are also so many ways you can orchestrate your prison escape!

Whether you want to take over the prison for a breakout, or go covert and dig a hole in your cell—the options are endless. Also, guess what?

This game also allows you to create your own prison levels to escape in and share online! If you love Escapist’s charming 2D aesthetic, we have more like it in our games like Enter The Gungeon list.

RimWorld

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

RimWorld is the most obvious recommendation if you want games like Prison Architect. It’s a management simulation title, where you are overseeing a colony in space.

If you’ve played Dwarf Fortress, the gameplay in RimWorld is comparable to that. However, the developers have also made it more accessible and the controls user-friendly.

Coming from Prison Architect, you’ll also find RimWorld’s user interface easy to pick up and learn. Instead of an entire prison, you’ll start off with three survivors and grow from there.

The game has you manage the entire colony, building their town, defending it from any potential threats, and collecting resources. You’ll even get to tame pets!

Keeping your colonists happy is your number one priority, and believe me—it gets hard. Surviving your first Winter in-game is an achievement in itself.

Everything down to your colonist’s limbs, personality and mental health are simulated. This allows for completely unique playthroughs and stories as your colonists are one of a kind every time!

The world is also randomly generated every time, with alien biomes ranging from jungles to deserts and even tundras! There are also a lot of options to change up your gameplay, too.

The game has an AI storytelling system, where you choose between one of three to control the game’s emergent storytelling. This will change up the frequency of events, etc.

It also has a huge range of player-created mods to explore! From small gameplay tweaks to even overhauls, like adding in a multiplayer system! Our titles like RimWorld list also have a few other games similar to Prison Architect you can check out.

Clanfolk

Available on PC.

Take a break from the responsibilities of a prison warden, and jump into the Scottish Highlands. Clanfolk is a colony sim set in Medieval times, where you manage a family over generations.

Clanfolk takes the RimWorld-esque and Prison Architect-like gameplay, but throws you hundreds of years into the past. It’s also a lot more accessible than both games, however, not as deep.

That isn’t a bad thing, however. It makes Clanfolk easier to pick up and get into. You’ll start off controlling just a small family, with the goal of building a prosperous settlement.

Whether you turn the settlement into a popular trading hub for other towns, a cute inn business, or even just a homely barn and self-sufficient farm—the choice is up to you.

The game gives you full control over your family’s lineage, too. Or you can choose from one of the pre-existing clans! The game takes place over generations, with systems for marriage and kids.

Every family member in your clan is also simulated, with their own aspirations, dreams, skills, and personality traits. You’ll also need to ensure the clan elders teach the right skills to the next generation!

The world’s generation and simulation are just as deep, too. Environments will change with the dynamic system mechanic, and even change factors like the soil condition.

At the heart of the simulation and management gameplay is a survival core. You’ll need to survive against the harsh winters, and changes in weather. Will your crop and animals live through the rough conditions?

Surviving the Aftermath

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Just like the title says, in Surviving the Aftermath, you’ll be building and managing a colony of survivors after a world-ending event. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic future.

When it comes to games like Prison Architect, survivors in a post-apocalyptic world are a huge change from prisons and inmates. However, at their cores, the games share many similarities.

If you thought Prison Architect’s base-building system was incredible, just wait until you play this. Surviving the Aftermath is more expansive, with over 130 building options.

The game’s world and environments are also in full-fledged 3D. Who knew the end of the world could be so pretty? It’s a welcome change after Prison Architect’s 2D visuals.

The graphics aren’t without personality, either. The world feels and looks like it’s been through an apocalyptic event, and gives a sense of survival.

The world is also procedurally generated, so it changes every new save. It also creates other colonies and leaders for you to negotiate with—or even conquer if necessary.

Whilst the game’s colonist simulation isn’t as deep as Prison Architect, it still has plenty to offer. The game even has over 80 different specialists that can join your colony, all with their own unique abilities.

If you wanted more story out of sim games like Prison Architect, this is where Surviving the Aftermath shines. As you play, you’ll slowly unfold the mysteries surrounding the apocalypse.

Jurassic World Evolution 2

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Searching for management sim games like Prison Architect? It’s time to break free from the jail cells and turn your attention to Jurassic World Evolution 2.

This sequel is a huge improvement to the original Jurassic World Evolution game. It allows you to live out your own dinosaur fantasies and manage your own theme park!

It might not be prisoners, but don’t worry—you’ll get outbreak action here too. Along with designing the park, managing the employees and finances, you’ll need to prevent any dinosaurs from escaping!

Jurassic World Evolution 2’s massive 3D world is a huge change to Prison Architect’s pixel visuals. The game is absolutely gorgeous, from the environment to the dinosaurs—it is breathtaking.

It also gives you an in-depth map editor. You get complete control over terraforming the landscapes, and building your own dinosaur park.

The game also offers multiple modes to cover all types of management sim fans. Whether you want a sandbox mode to go crazy in, or a rich campaign with different scenarios to play out.

If you’re a huge fan of the Jurassic Park/World franchise, you’ll love the fan service. The game even features voice acting from iconic cast members, like Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard.

You can even play out what-if scenarios directly inspired by the films. There is also a huge range of dinosaurs featured in the game, ranging from aquatic to even aerial species!

Big Pharma

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

What could be harder than running a prison? Maybe a whole pharmacy? That’s exactly what you need to do in Big Pharma—you’re the head honcho of a corporate pharmaceutical company.

If you liked the business and finance aspects of Prison Architect, this is the right choice for you. You’ll have to grow a company from the ground up with just a few reconditioned machines.

Big Pharma also offers a diverse range of choices when it comes to playstyle. Whether you want to create cheap generic drugs, or discover something new, making world-changing medicine.

Are you going to be altruistic and try to sell your drugs at the lowest possible price? Or will you be greedy and put it behind huge $ tags? What is the best business choice?

You’ll also need to manage your factory space, hiring scientists, and other employees. The game offers 7 different scenarios to play through, with 35 challenges spread across them.

There’s also a custom game mode along with a free build. Whether you’re looking for objective-based gameplay, or see how far you can build a business on your own wits—this game delivers.

The gameplay is split between managing ingredients, production, research, and cures, as well as hiring employees and building.

You’ll also need to make sure your company is making enough to stay afloat. This is all played out in a 2D isometric view, similarly to Prison Architect.

Honey I Joined A Cult

Available on PC.

Honey I Joined A Cult is one of the few games like Prison Architect that also adopts its tongue-in-cheek humor along with gameplay. It’s absolutely hilarious, along with being addictive fun.

This is a management/tycoon game, where you’ll build your own cult, and expand it to drive money flow! Not only do you get to choose a fancy name, but you’ll also get your own uniform and deity!

You take on the role of the cult’s leader, where you’ll need to manage everything from designing the base, to recruiting new members. You’ll also need to delegate them tasks and keep them satisfied.

From spirit chambers to energy spas, and even rooms of worship—the game gives you the same level of control as Prison Architect for base building. It’s also played in a similar top-down 2D view.

Similarly, the cult members also have their own thoughts and feelings. Just like the inmates, you’ll need to make sure their wellbeing is cared for, otherwise, they might be displeased and leave!

The main gameplay loop consists of recruiting more members, sending cultists to towns on missions, and expanding your base. As you grow, you’ll slowly unlock new tech and rooms.

When it comes to cult customization, you can choose the paths: darkness, futurology, and peace & love. As you grow as a cult, there are even more paths you can specialize in.

Honey I Joined A Cult has a very fun, unique take on the simulation management genre. It’s a breath of ridiculous fresh air, especially compared to the other more serious takes—like RimWorld.

Academia : School Simulator

Available on PC.

Do you know when they say high school is a prison? Well, Academia : School Simulator makes it true! It takes Prison Simulator’s gameplay, translating it to a more educational setting.

Instead of prisoners, you’ll be designing an entire school. From creating classrooms, designating them between year levels, and even setting up common areas.

If you’re coming straight from Prison Architect, you’ll find this game’s interface and controls familiar. Especially when it comes to building, the visuals are also a similar top-down view.

Fun fact! This game also features the same artist from Prison Architect. The students and faculty in Academia : School Simulator are also just as complex as the base building.

The students and teachers all have their own goals, aspirations, and skills. They also have their own needs you’ll need to manage, like hunger, hygiene, and discipline.

As time goes on, and they get higher in grades, the students will also grow—and so do their needs. If you don’t, they might turn into delinquents and what will you do then?

Will you get them counselling, or send them away? The game is filled with hard decisions like that, and you’ll also need to manage your financing. Can you get away with the bare minimum? Or do you need government help?

Ever get frustrated in sim games because you can’t control the AI? Well, in Academia you can even plot out their specific routes for full efficiency! The game is also backed by a strong modding community. Want to add in zombie students? You can!

Evil Genius 2: World Domination

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Sick of being the hero? Why not be a villain for once? Evil Genius 2: World Domination has Prison Architect’s simulation management gameplay, but instead you’re a criminal mastermind!

This game dubs itself a satirical spy-fi builder, where you’ll play as a world-class evil genius, and build your own lair. You’ll also get to control and train your own army of minions!

No, not the bright yellow minions—but this is basically a Gru simulator. The minion mechanics also aren’t just surface level. You can specialize their skills and abilities to suit your playstyle.

Instead of prison breakouts, you’ll need to defend against The Forces of Justice. They are a team of Goody Two-Shoes that’ll try to shut down your operations.

During your base-building segments, you’ll need to set up traps to shut them down and come between your nefarious plots! You can even combo traps to get them for good.

In Evil Genius 2 the whole world is your playground. Want to do something dastardly in England? You can kidnap the Royal Family. Maybe you want to stir some trouble in Alaska?

The game offers hundreds of objectives that you can set out to achieve. There’s also a variety of different islands you can build your villainous base on!

Evil Genius 2: World Domination is perfect if you want a fresh experience compared to Prison Architect, without straying from the genre. It has a diverse range of content and playstyles to explore!

Bonus: Dwarf Fortress

Available on PC.

Our list of titles like Prison Architect wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Dwarf Fortress. When it comes to management simulation games, this is the original.

Dwarf Fortress directly inspired the genre and led to the creation of heavy-hitters like RimWorld. It is still unrivaled when it comes to the depth and complexities of its simulation elements.

The game generates your own unique world, where you’ll manage your own kingdom of dwarves! Each dwarf is just as unique as the next, with its own personality and goals.

Everything down to the dwarves’ limbs are completely simulated. The entire world around them is, too. There’s even a fully dynamic weather system, which will affect the environment, too.

Whilst Dwarf Fortress has a steep learning curve, it offers a rich, complex world with unique stories waiting for you. It also has a huge fanbase with user-created content to check out.

There are plenty of player mods to spice up the gameplay, ranging from quality of life to content additions. There are also different tiles/texture packs you can download to change the visuals.

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