Hard Time is a game in which you control a character who has just been sentenced to do hard time. You can use the generic character created, or you can make your own by choosing a new nickname and adjusting character attributes including health, strength, intelligence, and crime committed. It's also possible to change the character's physical appearance. Once your character is complete, it's time to meet your fellow inmates and start to establish your reputation.
Hard Time is quick to install and to run. The controls employ various shortcut keys, and you can use the mouse to pan around the room. With your character, you are free to explore the prison and interact with other prisoners. Activities include exercising, fighting, and working. You earn money by working, which is particularly useful for acquiring friends. The decisions your character makes cause the various meters of health, reputation, and strength to go up or down.
The mechanics of this game are easy to pick up and the graphics are not high tech. They get the job done, though, if you're just looking for a fun diversion, and the game does load quickly and run smoothly. This is not a game you'll enjoy if you're interested in a hard-core gaming experience or if you take it too seriously. There just isn't a lot of substance either in the characters or the storyline options, but for a free game, it's not bad.