I’ve been a fan of the Tropico games for years now, I love how on the surface they seem incredibly simple yet when you start to dig a bit deeper there are incredibly complex systems that you can manipulate to your advantage. I think the tropical setting and light-hearted humour go some way to making this game feel far more casual than it is. Sure you can set everything to easy and just enjoy a tame city building experience but ramp up the difficulty and you’ll soon have people leaving your island or rebels storming your mansion baying for your blood. The life of a dictator is not as easy as it might at first seem.
Each new addition to the Tropico series has always gone to lengths not to reinvent the game, but to expand its scope in terms of the playable area and the options available to players whether it be new buildings or constitutional options. Tropico 6 is no different in this respect but the number of extra things added this time around is staggering.
Watch the Tropico 6 release trailer below:
If you are new to the Tropico series here’s a quick introduction. You take the role of El Presidente, the self-elected Dictator of Tropico, a fictitious Caribbean island nation. Your job is to grow your nation by ensuring your citizens are fed, housed, employed and kept healthy by constructing buildings from a massive list. You also have to keep various factions in your nation happy or those who favour those factions won’t vote for you in the elections (should you choose to have them). You also have to manage Tropico’s finances through trade.
You are ‘helped’ on your journey by Penultimo who is the main source of comic relief in the game. If you don’t keep your populace happy they will either vote you out of office or rise up in a rebellion. Either of these spells game over no matter how many hours you’ve invested into your tropical paradise.
Tropico 6 includes all of the above, currently, there are 15 different storylines you can follow all of which have their own group of islands to play on. This is the first in the series to include different islands within one setting that you can connect by bridges. Never have I seen a Tropico game give so much space to play in.
The missions themselves are pretty standard fare but do give you some focus. Most are along the lines of export X amount of this or raise X amount of money. Often these are things you might have been doing anyway but sometimes they get annoying. I found all too often that I would be asked to build a certain building even though I already had several of them, with the same request popping up over and over. However, you can choose to discard the task with a small penalty.
To make your island run smoothly you will also need to ensure that your infrastructure is up to scratch. You need to ensure that your road network works, that you don’t run out of power and that your citizens get educated.
There are several paths you can take to running your island but loosely speaking you can choose to be kind or cruel. Being kind means people live free from oppression, they have good health care and a high standard of living. Being cruel is likely to mean running your country like a military dictatorship with guard towers on every corner, a lack of liberty and forcing kids into work. Whatever your style of play Tropico 6 has you covered.
Visually this is the best looking Tropico yet, it is truly stunning and runs incredibly smoothly even on high settings and at high population levels. Previous versions used to struggle a bit once your population got high but I haven’t run into any of this yet.
On top of the story missions, there is a sandbox mode plus multiplayer although so far I haven’t been able to find a multiplayer game.
To sum up, this is by far the best Tropico yet and is by far one of the best city-building sims out there full stop. It has deep systems that allow you to play the way you want to play. In sandbox or easy modes it can be played casually but as I said at the start, if you ramp up the difficulty even just a little then it proves to be a challenging, rewarding experience.
Publisher: Kalypso Media Developer: Limbic Entertainment Release Date: 29th March 2019 Reviewed On: PC/Steam