Who’s in the mood for some sand, sun, and banana republics? Tropical city-builder Tropico returns for a 6th outing, and it might be the best one yet.
Ah, the tropics
Tropico has been around for a long time. Like, a shockingly long time. Originally debuting in 2001, developer PopTop set out to build a game that gave players the feel of creating and commanding a dubiously democratic south american state.
I wish I could talk about this series from a first-person point of view, but I can’t. I played the very first one, but beyond that I have zero experience with it. And, honestly, I can’t even really remember much about the one that I did play.
What I can tell you though, is that Tropico 6 is quite memorable, and I assume a game that I’ll be playing for some time to come. That’s because it’s good. It’s really, really good.
Have you ever wanted to rule your own small-yet-influential tropical country? If so, you’ve found the game for you. Tropico, as a series, is about just that with players taking on the role of “El Presidente”.
Your role isn’t a light one, as Tropico puts a lot on your shoulders. This game’s focus isn’t combat though. Actually, there’s no real combat in it. So there are no warring, real-time strategy elements at play. What you are set up to deal with in the game is running a country… in a simplified way of course.
By that I mean that everything is simplified, though the actual amount of stuff you have to tackle in the game is stunningly deep. When I first started the tutorial I played through simple enough scenarios.
Stuff like building new structures and understanding housing started me off. Simple enough right? From there, the tutorial system (which I highly recommend playing through) took into the world of setting state policies and affecting the various factions at play in Tropico 6.
It’s not overly deep, but this game touches on just about everything that you can imagine in terms of government. Lest you think that you have to build a Cuba style country too, you don’t.
As you play you’ll get into and out of various eras, and the includes how you want your country to be ruled. There are themes at play for sure, but you’re allowed a lot of sway within them.
The gameplay in Tropico 6 is, in many ways, extremely familiar. If you’ve played almost any city builder in the past, they you should be able to slide into T6 easily and get accustomed to its gameplay fairly quickly.
I definitely did, and had few issues outside of keeping mental track of a few of the more micro-manage-y things. And unless you include Jurassic World Evolution, I haven’t played a builder since some of the older SimCitys.
Part of why it’s so easy to play is the control scheme. Building and viewing particulars of structures and citizens is just a click away. Want to change something, fire a worker, “disappear” someone? Easy as another click or two.
Just don’t disappear too many citizens, unless you’re intending on being a military strongman. People mean something in Tropico 6, and a big part of what you do will be trying to keep them happy. Don’t worry, it’s not as tough as it sounds. Again, Tropico 6 seems to somehow throw a ton at players without bogging any of it down.
There’s a lot to do in general and very little of it is difficult. And I mean that in a very good way, since there’s plenty to keep you on your toes and engaged. It’s easy to play, not simple in terms of complexity.
My oh my is Tropico 6 pretty. When you start up, you’re presented with a tropical paradise, and it’s a gorgeous landscape indeed. The details here and there are excellent, from ancient Mayan ruins to half submerged shipwrecks off the coast. Even before you start building T6 is fun to look at and explore.
Once you actually do dig in, it’s even better. Structures look awesome, and construction animations are terrific. Cars and pedestrians buzz about your cities and the ocean waves that laps at Tropico 6’s shores are flat-out fantastic.
Shockingly, there’s also a decent amount of customization. I’m pretty sure this is a new development for Tropico, but you can customize your presidential visage, as well as your presidential palace. Yeah, that’s pretty shallow since it doesn’t actually have an effect on gameplay, but it’s a neat little touch and one that I felt added a lot to the game. This is supposed to be your country after all, why be stuck with a cookie-cutter avatar/palace?
I can’t believe I’m here in 2019 and enjoying another city builder, but I absolutely am. It’s been so long since I bothered with a game in the genre that I just kind of assumed I was done with them. Clearly though, I was wrong.
Tropico 6 has more than enough of everything that makes the genre fun to hold even the attention of a lapsed fan. And if you’re an active city builder, who genuinely loves the conventions of the game, then I don’t think there’s much chance you’ll dislike this one.
Release Date: March 29th, 2019
Platform: PC (reviewed), Mac – coming later 2019 to Xbox One and PS4
MSRP: $49.99 USD