Survive prison by recruiting an army of alien rats in this turn-based RPG

A negotiation with an alien prisoner in Space Prison.
(Image credit: Wooden Alien)

What does it take to survive in space prison? Well, it takes space guts, it takes space fortitude, but most of all it takes space charm. That's the premise of Space Prison, at least—a newly announced and wonderfully literally-titled game that styles itself as "social survival". Playing as a human prisoner amongst all manner of weird and terrifying alien thugs, you have to be as much a diplomat as a brawler to thrive, working your way up the hierarchies of the major gangs to gain power and influence.

That means helping out your fellow prisoners, building connections, and even just listening to their stories—just because that guy's a horrific, skull-faced monstrosity, doesn't mean he doesn't mean he doesn't have a tragic backstory behind the space crimes that landed him in space prison. You can even make friends with the local rats that infest the place, and apparently build "an army of long-toothed vermin ready to die for you". Just like in Earth prison. 

When words fail and the fists come out, the action moves to a tactical grid for turn-based battles, pitting your character and your allies against everything from enemy gangs, to the brutal cyborg guards, to mutant beasts. Expect a suite of attacks and special abilities—we've already seen bruisers letting out debuffing roars, bugs unleashing poison gas, and guards unleashing some wince-inducing electroshock attacks to try and restore law and order. 

It's early days yet—so far, the only footage we have is the announcement trailer—but I see a ton of potential here. If the developer can pull off its ambitions, this could be a great setting for emergent storytelling, letting you organically carve your own path from nameless newbie to space kingpin. Dare I say it, the gang screen has a whiff of Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis System about it. And the grim yet cartoony art style does a great job of bringing the setting and all its weird inhabitants to life, striking just the balance of horror and silliness you'd want from a game called "Space Prison". 

Robin Valentine
Senior Editor

Formerly the editor of PC Gamer magazine (and the dearly departed GamesMaster), Robin combines years of experience in games journalism with a lifelong love of PC gaming. First hypnotised by the light of the monitor as he muddled through Simon the Sorcerer on his uncle’s machine, he’s been a devotee ever since, devouring any RPG or strategy game to stumble into his path. Now he's channelling that devotion into filling this lovely website with features, news, reviews, and all of his hottest takes.