Review – Tropico 6 (Switch)

Originally released in 2019 for PC and consoles, Tropico 6 is easily the crown jewel of Lymbic Entertainment and Kalypso Media’s hilarious dictatorship simulator series. In a world devoid of Sim City, with Cities: Skylines‘ devs taking way too long to come up with a sequel, that little democracy-unfriendly gem sure felt like a breath of fresh air for the genre. A Nintendo Switch version was announced a few weeks back and caught me off guard. How would a game like Tropico 6, a game that basically requires a mouse in order to function, work on a massively underpowered handheld? Well, let’s find out.

Tropico 6

Why would anyone not pick the huge maps?

At its core, this is still the same from last year. It features the same content from the vanilla version, with the same maps, buildings, challenges, modes, and so on. As expected, the Sandbox mode, which gives you unlimited funds to create the most nonsensical island nation of your dreams, is still the game’s highlight. The sound department is also the same as before, being comprised of excellent Caribbean tunes and hilarious voice acting. I wasn’t worried that the developers would cut content from this version, though. I wanted to know how well they would port a game like this to the Switch’s hardware. And this is where the problems lie.

I wasn’t expecting for Tropico 6 to run exactly like its PC counterpart, but damn, this is one ugly port. The game basically looks like the PC version, if you run it on the lowest settings you can imagine, remove all of its post-processing features, and reduce the resolution to the point you can look at individual pixels onscreen. Colors are washed out, with the game’s Caribbean setting looking drab and monotonous. It’s not as hideous as the Switch version of The Outer Worlds, but it’s not much better.

Tropico 6

Presidente, are you alright? You don’t look so bueno…

Framerate drops occur every now and then as well. Mind you, it’s still perfectly playable, but I was expecting for it to look a bit more dynamic than what it ended up being. I know the Switch can handle more complex visuals than this. Thank goodness for the small screen on portable mode, as well as the fact that you’ll be mostly playing the game with a zoomed out view.

The other main issue is trying to adapt a mouse-based, menu-heavy control scheme to a controller. Bless the developers, they sure tried, but there’s just so much you can do. The control scheme is pretty confusing at first and the analog stick sensitivity is off the charts. You can get used to it though, and the game does feature touchscreen support. So at the very least, this is way more bearable than the Xbox One and PS4 versions in terms of dealing with an impractical control scheme.

Tropico 6

The Caribbean is usually more colorful than this.

I don’t think anybody was expecting for Tropico 6‘s Switch port to be superior to any other previously released version of the game, and it shows. It’s clearly the ugliest and clunkiest version of the game released so far. That being said, Tropico 6 is still one hell of a fun game on the Switch. If you can put up with the ugly visuals and initially weird controls, and decide to play it almost exclusively in portable mode, then you can still have a blast creating your totally democratic states on-the-go.

 

Graphics: 5.0

As to be expected, Tropico 6 had to suffer some setbacks in order to properly run on the Switch. But seriously, did it really need to look like the sub-minimal setting of the PC version running at a pitiful resolution?

Gameplay: 6.5

Adapting a mouse-based, menu-heavy control scheme to a console is always tricky and complicated, especially when the framerate is as wonky as it is. It does have touchscreen support, though.

Sound: 9.5

The same sound design found in the PC version, completely untouched. Nothing to complain in here.

Fun Factor: 7.5

If you can put up with the ugly visuals and initially weird controls, then decide to play it almost exclusively in portable mode, then yeah, Tropico 6 is still a blast of a game. The Sandbox mode is still a highlight.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Tropico 6 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Tropico 6 was provided by the publisher.