Title: Tropico 6
Version Tested: PC
Available On: PC
Developer: Limbic Entertainment
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Genre: Simulation and Strategy
Official Site: https://www.kalypsomedia.com/us/tropico-6-standard-edition
Release Date: March 29th, 2019
Where to Buy: Steam
Time to put the cigar out and become El Presidente in Tropico 6; a city builder about dictatorship. The satirical series is back at it again with everything needed to rule an island – or three. Now, I’m one of the unfortunate, sad sods who has never even touched a Tropico game – even though I have two of them in my Steam Library. So, I didn’t really have any idea about what type of game genre I was getting myself into. I was at the point of digging my nails into my scalp and stressing about if this was going to be a complicated city-builder. Would this be a title or genre I could get into? Tropico 6 crumbled that self-doubtful thought and offered a tutorial.
Previous Tropico games have no correlation with Tropico 6. Which meant that it doesn’t matter if you’re an old player or new player. The tutorial was the savior, for me, but may have not been toward people who have already been familiar with the other games. I only state that because upon launching a new game, I was forced to do the tutorial (campaign mode only, not sandbox). Thankfully, the tutorial held my hand through all the worry I had. Tropico 6 has three ways to play. The main campaign with a variety of missions, A multiplayer mode, and customization mode (sandbox). Multiplayer mode was up to four players and was a race to who can build their city the fastest. Finally, Customization mode was to mess around with changing how much money to start off with or how many islands to appear onscreen. After learning the basics, I was ready to play the main game.
I was presented with what my objective was and walked through the core gameplay mechanics. The objective was to be the ultimate dictator and you can do this via a couple of ways. One way could be through having a certain amount of money in the Swiss Bank Account. Another was having tourists come to the island(s) and gain revenue based on stolen wonders. Finally, by following the missions Penultimo – a personal assistant – and completing them.
At the start, the gameplay can come off intimidating but soon would smooth itself out. I was given a series of islands and was asked to populate and rule the small continents. There are four eras in Tropico 6 and those are Traditional, Axis and Allies, Cold War, and Modern Era. A time bar can be found at the bottom left hand of the screen. The game started in the Traditional era, which is the 1900s and as months past by, the game would automatically progress depending on what missions or how fast the productions of your civilization would grow. In order to achieve this, you would need a certain manual to use throughout the game.
To do so, Penultimo handed me the holy bible of being a dictator – the almanac. This game menu has tabs on everything from political views, resource layouts, building tools, fun level charts, blueprints, and much, much more. The other options are provided as the game progresses. Building roads, housing, and plantations were the first goals but roads construction created an obstruction.
Roads are important for a plethora of reasons and one of the main would be connecting structures. Housing and other local businesses like taverns or circuses don’t really need to be connected. The road should automatically snap to the location it rested next to but would instead curve and created in-game problems. After the minor set back, the next area to work on was trade routes and using the docking system.
Since I had my plantations set up and my citizens were happy; business was booming. Establishing trade routes through docks and ships were a necessity in order for my goods to create revenue to other continents like England or America. This was when the game became more difficult. The traditional era was over and onto Axis and Allied era, where the Congress would be set in motion. The political side would be added, where you have to choose a side: Axis or Allied. The two sides would give missions and it would be up to me to decide whether or not I would want to change my country I was ruling to appease either faction. I was able to customize speeches by offering them promises or creating propaganda to help enforce the idea of the people’s morale.
Once a side was chosen, the Cold War era came and I gained some breathing room. Although, I was having to still pick a western and eastern side of power. Pirate Coves were important to build as they offered the ability to raid other countries with tasks by stealing other wonders such as the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty. The Broker would strike up deals using my Swiss Bank Account money. Building fire departments prevented collapsed structures. Military stations enforced the law to keep citizens in check. Schools offered education for more complex jobs in the city. Or constructing nuclear facilities with power stations gave electricity. Everything was presented to helping my country thrive and created a booming economy. Then the Modern era hit.
The last era was the hardest to progress through because of having to please every country. Those would be somewhere around six different countries. If I didn’t, they would block trade with me either by canceling pacts or send ships around my island creating an embargo. They could also invade my country and take over certain areas of my islands. So not only would I have to please my people with their issues and demands through bribery or executions but constantly struggling to keep happiness with other countries as well.
The best part about Tropico 6 was the soundtrack. It really tied everything together. The Cuban fiesta music of people chanting praise in Spanish with guitars and bongos made me feel like I was living a dictator dream. I was on my island, surrounded by my men, my citizens, and my country. Music blaring praise over my success as a leader played a key role in wanting me to play more. Voice acting was adequate but didn’t fully read all the dialogue of their mission statements or voice of opinion.
Verdict: Tropico 6 was a surprising city-building, strategy experience. Creating an empire and dealing with simple or difficult tasks through trade agreements or completing missions would be a gratifying feeling. Not to mention a killer soundtrack full of life and love in sync with celebrating the victory of dictatorship. Although there were certain bugs like the roads not connecting properly or chugging through the tutorial, Tropico 6 has everything you want in being a controlling and ugly leader.
- Gameplay allows complete control over how to rule islands, trade routes, and political choices
- Soundtrack is fantastic
- Tons of modes to choose from
- Replayability through tons of missions and customization
- A tutorial for new players
- Roads create frustrating obstacles
- Forcibly having to do the tutorial may frustrate experienced players