Review – Tropico 6

What’s not to love about Tropico games? Being a resident of Latin America myself, I adore the game’s emphasis on building a Caribbean banana republic dictatorship, mixing both elements from city simulators like Sim City and Cities with some slight touches of dictatorship and tyranny, all covered in a hilarious comedic atmosphere. I had a lot of fun with 2014’s Tropico 5, but I had the dumb idea of buying it for a console instead of a PC. I was looking forward to playing the series yet again on a PC. I definitely wasn’t disappointed with the end result: Tropico 6 is awesome.

Tropico 6

You can steal that basilica from the Russians, if you dare.

Tropico 6 is the typical sequel that doesn’t add a lot to the table in quantitative terms, but almost every new addition it offers improves the gameplay or fun factor significantly. It does the usual graphical improvement, with slight upgrades to textures, visuals, and performance. It’s also well-optimized, as it manages to run and look beautifully even on less powerful hardware, such as laptops. To top things off, the series’ staple Latin-infused soundtrack is still as fantastic as ever. I’m a sucker for rumba and salsa, and Tropico 6 definitely nails it in that department.

My favorite addition is the possibility to rule over an entire archipelago instead of a singular huge island. The maps are much larger in Tropico 6 and with the possibility of linking islands over with bridges, it makes up for much more interesting physical locales to impose your beloved democracy upon the populace. Add in the fact that you can randomly generate a literal infinite number of archipelagos, with the possibility of choosing how many resources and overall amount of islands they’ll feature, and the replayability factor goes through the roof.

Tropico 6

If only I knew how to do symmetric city planning…

The game now allows for you not only to customize your own dictator to your most disgusting likings, but also design your own presidential palace. Do you want it to be classy? So be it. Do you want barbed wire surrounding it? Sure, why not? Do you want to add the glass pyramid from the Louvre or a shark aquarium the size of a house? You’re the president, you’re the one who dictates the rules, duh.

Another main addition in Tropico 6 is the option to perform raids. No, I’m not talking about something like what’s featured in Destiny 2, but you can build pirate coves and tell your citizens to perform some raids around the world, such as rescuing castaways or even stealing the actual Stonehenge from the United Kingdom and placing it on your island. You can then upgrade this pirate cove to a more modern mission command center and perform even more complex raids, even reaching something as drastic as threatening Russia with a nuclear war. I wouldn’t dare to do that, though. It’s freaking Russia.

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Because there’s nothing as democratic as decorating your palace with a shark tank.

I have to say, I didn’t enjoy the raids as much as I expected. Tropico 6 puts a big emphasis on those side missions, which simply consist of paying “raid points” and waiting for the timer to reach zero. As one might expect, they are as non-exhilerating as they sound. Thankfully, they aren’t mandatory: if you want to spend the entire game without doing a single raid, that’s fine. I mostly stuck to creating different zones and small towns on each island: one featuring farms, one featuring industries, my own version of a Cancun-esque tourist trap, an isolated military town full of barracks and research centers, and a severely polluted mining town full of oil fields and uranium deposits. Somehow, thanks to the lucky coincidence that all of my political rivals ended up dying in mysterious ways, I kept winning all of the elections and kept changing the constitution to satisfy my interests. Democracy is beautiful, isn’t it?

With the exception of some uneventful raid options and some weird hotkey bindings, I am delighted to announce that Tropico 6 is easily the most fun I’ve had with a game from this series. The simple addition of multiple randomized islands for you to manage at once instead of half a dozen boring presets makes the game way more replayable than all of its predecessors. There’s not a lot in Tropico 6 that you haven’t seen before, but those little tweaks and additions have improved the game significantly.

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Tropico 6’s loading screens still do a wonderful job teaching how crazy the world’s most famous dictators used to be.

This is easily one of the best city simulators out there, definitely the funniest of all, and most certainly the only one that allows you to declare war on Europe for absolutely no reason, all while listening to some sweet Cuban music and ordering your private secret service to throw your political rivals into a mind controlling asylum. I can’t think of a better way to summarize Tropico 6 than that. It’s just that entertaining.

 

Graphics: 8.5

As colorful and tropical as ever, with beautiful water effects and a great performance, even on less powerful hardware. You’ll mostly stick to a zoomed out view, though.

Gameplay: 8.5

A smart and often easy to navigate UI. The controls are, for the most part, pretty intuitive, with the exception of some weirdly placed hotkeys.

Sound: 9.5

There are lots of funny voice clips in here, but the excellent Latin soundtrack is the real star of the show. Where can I buy the soundtrack?

Fun Factor: 9.0

The gameplay additions in Tropico 6 might look minute at first, but they have drastically improved the overall gameplay and fun factor. I didn’t care much for the new raid options, though.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Tropico 6 is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Tropico 6 was provided by the publisher.

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