Prison Architect Going Green Review: To Greener Pastures

Going Green adds some new labor and a whole lot more to Prison Architect's already long list of features.

Farming and general agriculture is a typical facet of the management sim genre at large, but it was never something the playerbase expected from Prison Architect outside of the modding community.

Prison Architect: Going Green defies that expectation, giving wardens the ability to put their prisoners to work in the fields to feed the compound and even export crops out to bring money in for the prison. Of course, having them toil in the fields brings new places for prisoners to cause trouble, as well as new contraband for you to deal with. (Surprise: They really want to make moonshine.)

Prison Architect Going Green Review: To Greener Pastures

The idea of farm work is novel within the confines of Prison Architect, considering the holistic nature of the job compared to the other means of employment the game's prisoners had available previously. Though you are certainly free to instead just hire farmers to do the job and make your prisoners watch from the sidelines — because why not!

Having your prisoners work the fields in Going Green isn't too different from assigning them to other jobs, though the same cannot be said for getting solar power up and running.

Hooking up and using a solar power system requires solar panels, batteries, a transformer, and a power export meter should you want to export excess power for cold hard cash. It's a tempting route to take, but you may want to supplement it with the traditional power station just in case.

At the time of writing, there are a number of bugs related to the game's new solar energy system that can be particularly cumbersome, especially when trying to move the new solar-related facilities around once they are set. There are plenty more besides those, though.

A patch is being released soon that will hopefully sort these and a number of other newly-introduced bugs out, but it is something to bear in mind before purchase as some of these new bugs are so prevalent they do diminish even my enjoyment of the expansion for the time being.

Going Green was released concurrently with an update to the base game, The Glasshouse. The update brought a number of quality of life improvements to the UI, particularly in regards to the building menus. I have to say it's more than welcome considering all that was added with the expansion, and noteworthy whether you dive into Going Green or not.

This is the second Prison Architect expansion to be released after Paradox Interactive took over the game's publishing and Double Even as its developer. Those that were disappointed with the first expansion, Island Bound, will find much more to love here with Going Green despite the bugs in the expansion's initial build.

Prison Architect: Going Green Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Laying out fields and getting prisoners to work on them is just what the game needed
  • Prisoners' illicit use of the fields and their yields adds some fun challenge
  • New methods of bringing in cash to a prison are always welcome
  • Lots of new ways to spruce your prisons up

Cons

  • At the time of writing, there are a lot of frequent bugs
  • Some concepts come straight from a particular mod

Going Green has a great deal going for it despite its current problems. The addition of solar power is a nice touch, but the real meat to this expansion is the ability to work up essentially a farming prison colony and darn it! — it's fun.

That all said, the bugs are not to be ignored and neither is the presence of a certain mod on the workshop that adds farming to the game without the monetary investment. Prison Architect: Going Green adds much more than that mod, though, and ultimately is worth it if you're really trying to add more depth to your time with Prison Architect.

[Note: Paradox Interactive provided the copy of Prison Architect: Going Green used for this review.]

Our Rating
8
Going Green adds some new labor and a whole lot more to Prison Architect's already long list of features.
Reviewed On: PC

Associate Editor

Ashley is pretty lost in most things, but not the FFXIV smol life. Oh yeah, there's someone impersonating me. Trust me: I didn't email you.

Published Jul. 1st 2021

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