RRP: $ 49 ( Reviewed on PC)
THE Tropico series returns after several years’ hiatus, determined to improve on its established formula.
The city building gameplay feels familiar from the get- go. While plenty of new content has been added, Tropico 5 retains much of the series’ foundations and the core gameplay will feel instantly familiar to fans.
Eras are one of the key new features. The gameplay progresses through history, starting in colonial time, moving to the world wars and the Cold War, and eventually catching up with modern day. With each new era comes new factions and political dramas to deal with.
This timeline progresses based on the amount of research carried out and taking the time to construct adequate science buildings is key to this aspect of the gameplay. While you’ll be constantly distracted by smaller challenges along the way, advancing to the next era is accomplished by completing one or two main missions – at the start, for example, proclaiming independence progresses the gameplay from the colonial era to the world wars. For me, one thing that sets the
Tropico series apart from other city simulator games is its light- hearted tone, from the colourful characters and scripted puns to the visuals and animations aimed at entertaining.
And let’s face it, at its roots, this is a number- crunching game based on facts, fi gures and formulas, so I applaud the splashes of humour and distractions.
Bringing a welcomed social aspect to the Tropico series, there are new competitive and co- operative modes.
Instead of working alone, you can band together with up to three friends online to build an island empire, or alternatively go head- to- head in a bid to see who will reign supreme as the most successful dictator.
Sandbox mode is also new, allowing you to create a dynasty of potential dictators that feed into the main gameplay. Here you have the opportunity to develop the skills of every member of your growing family, or send them abroad if they serve no purpose.
City builders may still be a niche genre, but if the idea of Legos with a political twist grabs your interest, this offers the ideal building blocks to play with.