Prison Mayhem HD

Running a prison full of thugs, crooks and crazies probably sounds like a twisted idea of a time management game, but Prison Mayhem HD is a formidable game that is highly polished, innovative and downright fun – definitely one of the best on the iPad to date.

Do you have what it takes to reform a motley group of hardened criminals? Your lofty ambition to reform these jaded folks as Bruno, the reluctant scion of a notorious mafia family, will be put to the test in Prison Mayhem HD.

As in standard time management fare, your job is to perform various tasks in caring for these prisoners – from picking out the color of their uniforms to cleaning up after they leave. Chaining tasks and scoring color chains means more money earned to purchase equipment and upgrades, especially important in the harder levels. Sounds like Diner Dash? In many ways, it follows the classic Dash formula but turns the time-tested TM formula into something even better. Chaining is especially fun and addictive here, since you can queue a variety of actions and color chains. Throwing a little bit of the mini-games a la Sally’s Spa, you get to “discipline” your prisoners if they ask for illegal substances, try to bribe you or sow discontent.

Difficulty wise, the game starts out easy as pie but becomes quite difficult to meet in subsequent levels, requiring upgraded equipment for the level to be doable. Earning enough money even if you don’t finish the level lets you buy the more expensive (and effective) equipment. Replaying a level successfully with the new stuff gets a bit confusing here in terms of figuring out how much you really earned from the new level. So far this is the only part of the game that’s not quite clear to me.

As an added bonus, you can make your very own customized photo in prison garb. There are plenty of designs to choose from, two themes, and you can share your photos on Facebook or email.

Here’s the second design 🙂

Currently the game is free with the option to upgrade via in-app purchase. Another level is likewise available via IAP. If you’re through with story mode, you can test your skills in Life Sentence:

Overall, I highly recommend this game to both newbies and veterans of TM games. The art is nicely cartoony, colorful and hi-res, while the music and effects are pleasant. I also like Prison Mayhem’s sly humor, which is evident in its choice of characters and even the power ups (a priest, for example, to calm everyone down). It perfects and improves upon time tested formulas to offer an awesome experience that simply sets the bar for time management games to aspire to.

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