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Lockdown
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Lockdown

Release Date:  May 1, 2012
Publisher:  Plarium
Developer:  Plarium
Genre:  Simulation
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Lockdown is a Facebook prisoner life simulation game where you can do missions, collect cash, earn reputation, and trade items. The game is developed by Plarium behind the social game Pirates: Tides of Fortune.

Review:

The moment I saw the title of Lockdown, I felt sort of suffocated and when I got a glimpse of the starting graphics where players are supposed to choose an inmate that resembles themselves the most. I knew the game was not going to offer a peaceful experience for me.

Lockdown adopts a cliché game play but still manages to surprise me all the time. Select your favorite character and start your life in a cell, where nothing comes easy and you have to make every effort to obtain your belongings, even including the blanket and mattress! In the orange prison shirt and pants, you are supposed to follow friends’ guidance to see around and make clear where to go when you are tasked with manufacturing or collecting one or several items. Well, to be honest, I completed the guidance by blindly clicking anywhere arrows pointed to and was quite at lost immediately when I was expected to fulfill quests on my own. The best way to get familiar with functions and operations in a game, as far as I can see, is to accept a few quests to be aware what are in need, and click through all the buildings and buttons in sight. That remains true in Lockdown.

There is a button with a bench on it that directs you to the yard where you can find Store, Cell Block, Laundry, Kitchen, Basketball Court, Infirmary, Payphone, and groups of battle opponents. You can do various missions in each to receive required items so as to complete the main quests. For example, if you are charged with manufacturing a Brass knuckle, which is a weapon you could use in battles, you have to go to the Workshop to click Make button below this Brass knuckles to view the required items, which are ten matches, two four-by-fours, two pots and five Steel pipes. Go to the Cell Block to attack guards until you obtain enough matches; visit the kitchen to befriend the cook so as to get the pots; go to the laundry to stop an inmate from turning snitch to collect the Steel pipes. All those missions, surely consuming energy points, do not necessarily offer your desired items every time. For instance, I attempt to stop an inmate from turning snitch, but the more I do this mission (which actually requires clicking Do mission button only), the more ropes I obtain, when I was supposed to collect Steel pipe, another item this mission shall offer. Hence, it is often the case that I keep clicking a certain quest until all the required items are collected. During that time, the energy may run out several times. There is no need worrying about that, however, since you can have the energy drink for refill. The four-by-fours, on the other hand, has to be crafted on your own once you have enough glues by planning a move on Tony and also assemble the required matches after attack guards.

Of course crafting is not the only thing you do, there are always battles. You have to help your friend get rid of trouble, take down the target gangs, win over companions, and battle enemies. In Lockdown, you are often plunged into turn-based battles against three, four, or five enemies. The weapons in use are mysteriously missing every now and then (probably the weapons are dispensable?) and you have to choose a new one from the right corner on the bottom. Battles turn out to be conducted at the cost of stamina, which is independent from the energy system deployed when you are not in a battle. The stamina runs out so quickly and gets refill in hours, which absolutely leads to a disaster when you are confronted with four or five enemies since you don’t have energy enough to launch attacks aggressively. Your character is able to counter attack once attacked, but can only cause 1, 2, or at most 3 damages while an active attack can lead to dozens of damages.

Unlike in many simulation games that bear a tempting theme but has little to do with the theme, I could never forget that I am an “inmate” in Lockdown. Watch my character sitting in the cell with the minimum equipment: a chair, a bed, a toilet, and a sink; get him tattoos, learn how to survive from the Prison Survival 101, which actually provides guidance in comics form), visit the black market where I can purchase forbidden items or get my extra stuff on sale, or simply glimpse any of the nearby figures that come into view-which all seem muscular and terrifying. It appears to me that this is what a prison-themed game should be.

However, Lockdown also has some defects, at least for freemium players. The stamina used in battles easily runs out and is difficult to be refilled; energy points, which are used otherwise, can be replenished at first by using the energy drinks but also require more than two hours to have a full refill after I achieved level 13; most of the crafting projects, take hours to be completed. Nonetheless, all these problems can be effortlessly solved as long as you are ready to invest real money. Anyway, it is still the unfailing time vs. money predicament encountered in most social games. Lockdown offers fun but the way in which this fun will arrive is for you to decide.

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