Developer: Limbic Entertainment
Publisher: Kalypso Media Group
Genre: City Builder, Simulation
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Age Rating: 16
Release Date: 6/11/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
A Little Slice of Paradise
Tropico 6 is a city builder that places us in charge of a little slice of island life. Do we rule this island as a benevolent leader, one who is kind and caring? Or do we rule with an iron fist as an evil tyrant, one who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty? That’s what makes Tropico 6 appealing. We’re given the tools but not told how to use them.
Nintendo’s hybrid console is the odd choice to release a city builder on. Whilst the eShop is a literal city of games in its own right, it’s not often that city builder games like Tropico 6 make the jump over to home consoles. So how does portable island ruling compare to its PC version? Find out as I make the trip into the tropics.
Make War Not Peace
Unlike traditional city builder simulations, the Tropico series places us into the boots of a power-crazed dictator. During the game’s campaign, we hop from island to island, building our empire. How we rule this empire is completely up to us. We can openly persecute our citizens or raise our small nation to be a thorn in the side of the superpowers of the world. Smuggling, piracy or organised rebellion make up our Government mandate and it’s up to us to use them to make ends meet.
There are small hints of the story placed through the campaign. However, we’re mostly free to do our own thing, on occasion a local faction leader will approach us to perform certain tasks. Whilst most of these tasks and missions are free to do, now and again one will need to be completed to move on to the next scene. As with every decision we take care must exist on our part as every action has an equally negative reaction to either our populace or ourselves. The dialogue of our team of advisors and mission givers is full of humour and satires the real world. Voice acting is also spot on and does a great job of creating the world on which we build our empires.
El Presidents Orders
There’s no shortage of things to do in Tropico 6. Both the main campaign and the sandbox mode are equally robust and offer different ways to play. What makes Tropico 6 different from other city builders is that it moves beyond the free placement of buildings and opens up a more simulation style of gameplay. We’re able to influence everything from road placements to taxes and management of our population. Naturally, construction is the main event of the game and in a sense adds to the foundation of the mechanics of the game. We’re able to build a vast array of buildings such as utilities and leisure facilities. To the more sinister such as military bases and secret research labs. Playing through the campaign allows us to unlock more and more buildings as we progress. With unlocking different islands fulfils to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting.
The second mechanic to Tropico 6 is our ability to rule our island empire. The whole system in how we govern is vastly different to just providing food, shelter, water and jobs for our islanders. We have an added layer of setting up soy networks, sabotaging rival states and even elections to deal with. We can also invest in our islands proficiency for piracy and send roaming bands of pirates to steal from our neighbours. Stealing the Statue of Liberty was an absolute pleasure and was one that my particular despot revealed in doing. We are also able to micromanage our islanders. Whilst this can seem a bit overkill it’s also not necessary to do so. However, if we do decide to we can use it to bribe rebellious leaders or mark potential dissidents for some state-sponsored assassinations.
Bait and Switch
There are a lot of layers to Tropico 6 and learning them all does take a bit of time. This is negated by the fact that the game is an absolute joy to play. The Nintendo Switch port is well done and transitions from mouse and keyboard gameplay very well. While the loading times can be a bit bothersome and map movement can feel a bit sluggish neither feels like a problem.
Tropico 6 has been out on PC for a few years now and as such the graphics feel a little dated. As such there are a few issues with aliasing and cropping issues here and there. These are more prevalent when you’re panning across the landscape or zooming in and out. Playing in handheld mode can also cause issues with buildings being indistinguishable from each other. It vastly slows down the game when you have to individually click on each building go find what you’re looking for.
Goodbye Mr. President
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Tropico 6. It was an enjoyable experience playing with all the tools at our disposal. With rigging elections and bribing officials, to piracy and assassination, everything is to play for in our island sandbox. Aside from a couple of issues with loading times and camera movement. There is still a lot of fun to be had. For those of you looking for an in-depth city builder on the Nintendo Switch will be hard-pressed to find one as good as Tropico 6.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Tropico 6 on the Nintendo eShop by clicking here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.