Developer: Fei Hu Interactive
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.03
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Prisonhood stands out from the crowd of social, time-based games thanks to its original take on the classic formula. Instead of building a prison, players have to create their avatar and climb in the ranks by completing tasks like recruiting inmates to their gang, fighting, selling, stealing, and more.

IMG_0360The premise is simple: “You’re a bad guy! You’re a guilty guy! And now you’re locked-up!” At the beginning of the game, players are introduced to the prison’s warden – a no-nonsense kinda guy who will guide them through their first objectives, then leave them to their dirty work once users are familiar enough with the gameplay system. I often find the tutorials in games like these to be overly long and boring, but in the case of Prisonhood the tutorials and dialogs are quick and fun to read. The game effectively creates a sarcastically “serious” atmosphere that makes completing tasks not only rewarding (in terms of earning in-game currencies), but also enjoyable.

Prisonhood takes place in a large institution, with a big map that includes 30 unique facilities. In order to increase in level and unlock new things, players will have to complete objectives. Objectives generally mean they will have to play a fighting mini-game to earn some cash, recruit inmates (making them “bros”), pinning them against other prisoners in arm wrestling matches (another mini-game), and much more. Most tasks require access to specific cells and players will need to pay off guards in order to unlock those cells temporarily. Once open, should they fail to complete their task before the doors close back, they will need to bribe the officer again and give it another try. Every now and then users will have to fight some inmates outside of the mini-game (for instance, if they pick a fight themselves). In those cases the player can’t control how the fight goes and the winner will be determined based on who has the better stats. After a fight, the user will be left with less health and will have to wait (or pay) to restore it.

IMG_0352The background music running in the menu screen or during loading times reminds me slightly of the Grand Theft Auto series. However, during actual game time the music is replaced by the ambient sounds of inmates going about their day (which is much less interesting). Another not-so-great thing about Prisonhood is that once a repeatable task is completed, players will have to wait for a cooldown time before they can collect their money. Then again, that’s one of the usual annoyances that people who like this type of game have grown accustomed to.

Ultimately, Prisonhood has the heart and fun factor it takes to make a noteworthy addition to an ever so crowded genre.


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