What Is It?
At it’s core Prison Life RPG manages to be a very good RPG that lives well on a mobile platform. It has all the features of a role playing game served up in an unconventional package. I certainly never thought roleplaying an inmate was something I would be remotely interested it. Nob Studios finely crafts an experience that while not addicting is certainly enticing.
You’re an inmate, the game starts with you selecting from one of a number of inmates with unique profiles, abilities, and goals that they would like to accomplish while incarcerated. I picked the Nerd, seemed like a wise choice at the time, plus I kind of related with the guy. Outside of the fact that he wanted to go to prison and be executed just to prove a point about the death penalty? Seems kinds far fetched. Honestly though, that’s kind of what the game is all about and each of the characters you meet will be over the top.
Surprisingly this game turned out to be more like a survival game wrapped up with RPG elements, when I think RPG, I’m ready to get into a game for the long haul. Not here, you may not even survive the first few days in prison.
Upon arrival, Cook (the cook) shows up to give you the tour of the prison. He walks you around, introducing you to the various things you can do on the grounds of the prison. You meet the security guards, gangs, and the inmates. This gives you a quick glimpse of what is available to you as options for your inmate.
The tutorial has a lot of information to throw at you, and the user interface can sometimes get really busy especially as you tap through dialogues and options, it is easy to get lost. Persevere, however, and you’ll get the hang of it. You may die in the process, though as you strive to not only keep your inmate healthy, but happy and wealthy. You’ll need to participate in all sorts of things to keep your health up, keep your inmate happy, and earn dollars.
It seemed at every turn I was making the wrong decisions, my poor nerd would never accomplish his dream of being executed to prove his point. I got beat up on the prison grounds, couldn’t fight back, my stats were way to low, or maybe I got bullied by someone extremely strong? I chose the wrong table to eat at during meal time and didn’t get food. I tried so hard to not drop the soap in the shower, and everyone laughed at me. Turns out prison life even in an RPG is rough!
The one thing I wished was that time passing in the game had some real world correlation. For example, you can take jobs in prison to earn cash, the jobs are rated by how long they’ll take, the energy they’ll consume, and the dollars you’ll earn. You tap the job you want and duration, and suddenly that time has passed, your inmate has lower energy but more dollars. I’d love to be able to queue up some work in game while I’m doing other things, then come back in and continue when that work is done.
This game isn’t really beautiful, it’s not going to push your device graphically, which can be a good thing as it is more accessible even if you’re running an older device. It is essentially a 2D cut out graphic, the prison where everyone is a bobblehead.
The trick with good music on a mobile game is, is anyone even listening? Often I will boot up a game when I’m in a situation where I don’t want it’s music or sound effects blaring out everywhere. I’m definitely all for an enriched experience though as a music lover, music can bring so much to the table for a game. Prison Life actually has some solid music tracks and sound effects, so while I may not always have the volume on, when I did, they added to the experience, which is just what I was looking for.
The Economy of It All
When it comes down to games for iOS the most frequent thing I will get asked is, how much does it cost? The cost of a mobile game is a huge factor into whether people will buy it or not. The short answer: $3.99. The long answer, what value do you put on your time and what you do with it? Personally, this is overpriced. I have a hard time paying much more than $2 for a mobile game, you have to be dropping something insanely awesome for me to pay $4-5.
- Huge game with a lot of content
- Solid RPG with survival like timetables
- Solid development/smooth gameplay (no glitches)
- 5 stars in the App Store – Solid developer reputation
- No Free with Ads option to try before buying
- $3.99 (but at least you get the iPhone and iPad version?)
- There is a bit of a learning curve
- User interface can get extremely busy
Where You Can Find It?
Prison Life RPG by Nob Studios can be found on iTunes or the iOS App Store from your mobile device.
You can also visit Nob Studios’ website for more information.