Sim management games like Prison Architect empower you. In Prison Architect, you are a tycoon in charge of building and managing a maximum security prison. You’ll construct various room types, take care of prisoners, and keep tabs on your wardens and workers. In addition, the game adds life to individual characters with personal traits, issues, and more. Overall, Prison Architect is an addictive game that challenges you to micro-manage multiple aspects of prison life, without leaving you feeling too over-your-head. Performance-wise, everything runs smoothly on PC, mobile devices, and PS4 / Xbox One.
Keen on more similar games? Here’s our list of sim management games like Prison Architect worth looking into! Note: We know there are plenty of retro tycoon classics like Theme Hospital, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and so on. However, this list will focus on more recent releases, preferably indie.
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1. Academia: School Simulator
From the same artist who created Prison Architect comes Academia: School Simulator. In this sim management game, you basically get to design, build, and run the school of your dreams. You’ll look over students who go through various issues from bullying to low grades. Teachers and other staff members’ concerns will also have to be cared for. As each game progresses, more activities are unlocked, including spelling bees, expansions into new faculties, and so on. There’s a lot of depth to the gameplay, although everything is presented in a simple and intuitive way. In short, Academia: School Simulator is a must-try if you’re into games like Prison Architect for PC.
2. Another Brick in the Mall
Kudos to the Pink Floyd reference! Another Brick in the Mall is one of the better games like Prison Architect for PC. As the name suggests, you design, construct, and manage what you hope will become a giant shopping complex. You’ll create and supervise supermarkets, restaurants, shops, and much more. The main goal is to keep your shoppers satisfied as you strive to be the best mall of them all. In addition, staff salaries and happiness levels demand your attention. You’ll also have to keep a close eye on your accounting, if only to avoid going broke. Overall, Another Brick in the Mall is a well-made tycoon game definitely worth your time.
3. Startup Company
Ever dreamed of having your own startup company, sans the risk? Well, now you can with Startup Company! This is a business sim management game that lets you play as the CEO of your very own startup. You’ll negotiate client contracts, search for the best employees, and even create brand new products to strengthen your brand. Generating hype is also key to your success. You’ll thus have to manage how you promote your company as you try to garner increasing public interest. All in all, Startup Company has some room for improvement compared to a few other games like Prison Architect. However, what is available right now is still well worth your time.
4. Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines is a modern take on older city management games. You’ll construct your ever-expanding city from the ground up, building road structures, housing areas, business districts, and so much more. In addition, you’ll have to manage healthcare, education, the police force, and so on to ensure a good quality of life for your citizens. Unlike most other context-focused games like Prison Architect, Cities: Skyline goes all out in capturing what it’s like to manage an entire metropolis. In addition, the developers are also constantly releasing new expansions, piling on more great content. High-tech buildings, natural disasters, mass transit systems, etc. are just some of the add-ons already out. Cities: Skylines is available for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Related: Check out our list of other city simulator games like SimCity.
5. Game Corp DX
A game about making games? How meta. Sign us up! In Game Corp DX, you manage your very own gaming studio, strive for profits, and try to win over legions of fans. The game was originally designed as a free flash game, but has since been enhanced to include better graphics, optimization, and brand new features. You’ll seek to hire the best workers as you manage your teams wisely. This is all in an effort to release the greatest critically-acclaimed game possible that’ll crush your competitors. Like most games like Prison Architect, Game Corp DX keeps things simple, yet still manages to scratch your itch for micromanagement. The game is now available for PC.
Related: You may also want to check out Game Dev Tycoon, available for PC, iOS, and Android mobile devices.
6. Oxygen Not Included
Oxygen Not Included is a space colony management game done right. You’ll guide your colonists in their survival as you keep your eye out on resource allocation, power systems, scientific research, and more. As with most games like Prison Architect for PC, keeping your colonists happy is crucial. You’ll thus have to care for each of their stress levels, helping them achieve a healthy work-life balance. Ensuring a steady flow of oxygen across your colony is also key. Overall, fans of Prison Architect will find plenty to love about Oxygen Not Included’s appealing presentation and tycoon-style gameplay.
7. Fallout Shelter
A spin-off from the main Fallout franchise, Fallout Shelter puts you in charge of designing, building, and managing your very own Vault. Your chief goal is to keep your Dwellers satisfied and safe from various post-apocalyptic dangers. You’ll plan out different jobs for them, provide them with new outfits, weapons, and a lot more. In addition, Fallout Shelter features a basic but commendable crafting system as you make useful items from worthless junk. The game has quite a few in-game purchases. However, you won’t really need them to put together a beautiful Vault of your own with some patience. In short, Fallout Shelter is one of the best sim management games like Prison Architect for free. It is currently available for the PC, Xbox One, and mobile devices.
Related: For a top-down simulation game with a similar post-apocalyptic theme, check out Judgment: Apocalypse Survival Simulation.
Like Prison Architect, RimWorld is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, and thus shares many similarities. You’ll spend hours designing and constructing your own colony, managing each person’s mood and relationships along the way. Use resources to craft new weapons, clothing, food, and other day-to-day necessities. In addition, you’ll fight pirate raiders, enemy tribes, and alien creatures as you both defend and expand your colony. Best of all, AI-guided storytellers add an interesting narrative twist to RimWorld with each random event factored into an unfolding tale. Each character also responds to changing situations, further enhancing the game’s dynamic gameplay. In short, RimWorld is by far one of the best games like Prison Architect for PC ever released.
9. Kingdoms and Castles
Kingdoms and Castles blends fantasy with a standard management gameplay found in most games like Prison Architect. Your task is to upkeep the happiness of your villagers by designing, building, and maintaining an ever-growing kingdom. Resource management is key to your success as you construct new landmarks and host fun festivities. In addition, you’ll need to fortify your kingdom from enemy raiders who’ll try to kidnap villagers and steal resources. All in all, Kingdoms and Castles is a little light on end-game features. However, very positive reviews on Steam means most Prison Architect fans are likely to find something to enjoy.
While still in Early Access, Hospitalize has all the makings of most other great games like Prison Architect. The game sets you out to build and manage your very own hospital. You’ll handle doctors, nurses, and other staff members as you focus on balancing what your hospital needs and what is most profitable. In addition, you’ll also have to provide the best healthcare for your patients as you try to accurately diagnose their various symptoms, illnesses, and so on. At this early developmental stage, Hospitalize still has many bugs that need fixing (e.g. pathfinding, staff programming, etc.). However, the potential of this Alpha indie release is high. Keep your eye out for this one!