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Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - Mike Wil­cox Email mike@ hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames. com

TROPICO 5

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.

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