Ah, Tropico. A self-aware city builder and management sim with a political tone and a witty sense of humour in tandem. What a delight. Now developed by Limbic Entertainment () and published once again by Kalypso Media, Tropico 6 is on its way to fans early next year. The series’ successful model has evolved once again for modern gamers to enjoy, with a variety of new features and challenges for El Presidente to master. I have been given early access to the game’s beta version to bring you the hot scoop on everything you can look forward to in Tropico 6. Come, Penultimo; Tropico’s time is now!
Tropico 6 “breaks the fourth wall” immediately, with the opening cutscene making reference to some of the political turmoil in the world today. From the controversial politics of the United States of America to the battle for Brexit in the United Kingdom, Tropico makes a statement in its opening moments; the world isn’t working like it used to. El Presidente, sat in his office and contemplating these developments, recognises that Tropico’s time for triumph is now; whilst the world’s greatest superpowers are overwhelmed, shaken and distracted. That is where the serious tone of the story ends, with the next scene depicting the theft of the Statue of Liberty and stating that bringing the world’s wonders to Tropico will win the hearts of its people. If you haven’t played Tropico before and weren’t sure what the game is all about, this brief synopsis pretty much sums it up.
Diving into the tutorials and early missions offered in the beta, Tropico 6 will feel fairly familiar to long-time fans of the series. Certainly, if you played Tropico 5, most of the functions and features will be exactly where and how you remember them. That being said, the game’s systems have been added to this time around, and a few new buildings and features make a significant difference to the way you play. Take, for example, the Pirate Cove building; a humorous concept which houses a game-changing mechanic. The Pirate Cove has a few different functions. It can be used to raid goods, steal gold, search for treasure (a random reward), rescue new immigrants to live and work on your island or steal wonders of the world. Not only is this a fun, Evil Genius-like addition to the game, but it also supports your islands’ happiness and economy along the way. What’s more, it fits right into the lore and workings of the Tropico you know and love.
Alongside a few new edicts and buildings is the new blueprints system. Some unlockables in the game come as rewards for actions or completing missions, but others can be unlocked at any time by finding their blueprints. These can be acquired, for example, by using the relevant function in the Pirate Cove. This method for earning blueprints helps you to either unlock new buildings over time, or to work directly towards doing so by focussing your efforts on this goal. This allows players to play the game in whatever way they prefer. On a similar note, new island overlays help you to more visually understand the data influencing your islands and their people. Using a simple traffic light-style system for good, average or bad figures for data such as the quality of housing in an area can help you to decide where to focus your development of specific services on your islands. This is especially helpful in Tropico 6, as you are now managing more land simultaneously than ever before…
In previous Tropico games, even up to the most recent installment, Tropico 5, missions would generally take place in a single, small, manageable location. Now, many of Tropico 6’s missions take place over a series of islands, giving you much more of an open playground in which to forge your glorious empire. Using bridges and teamster ports to connect your land and focussing industry where the resources for said work are most abundant, you can create an interconnected archipelago on which your people can live long and prosper. This system feels much more comfortable than the often cramped and limited landmasses of Tropico’s past and allows you to gather almost any resource at one location or another on any map. Mines, in particular, can now be more openly placed near any location where the resource in question exists; giving you much more freedom to shape you land to your will.
It would be a tragedy not to end by noting the improvements to Tropico 6’s appearance since its previous installment just a few years ago. The new game is shaping up to look fantastic, whether you are zoomed out and observing your numerous islands in all of their glory or watching individual citizens go about their business. Textures are richer and more detailed, the lighting is significantly improved, the colours are welcomingly vibrant and the ocean looks fantastic. The sounds of Tropico, on the other hand, are exactly as you will remember them, however, this has always been a strong point of the series. The familiar voices of El Presidente and Penultimo set to the backdrop of traditional Cuban-style music and radio shows to complete the package to make Tropico 6 a bright, lively and immersive experience.
Tropico 6 is well worth keeping on your wishlist ahead of its release early next year, whether you are a long-time fan or an avid newcomer to the series.
Add Tropico 6 to your wishlist if you want here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/492720/Tropico_6/