Tropico 4

Dictatorship for Dummies – Tropico 4 Reviewed

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Hola mis amigos.

As a young child in America, most of my friends imagined themselves as astronauts, doctors and firefighters – the standard fodder of a capitalist society. But not I. I always imagined myself as the dictator of a small island in the Caribbean and, depending on my mood, I would either be a benevolent saint to my people or a monstro, the myth which frightened children into obedience, the type of man the peliculas of Hollywood are made after.

I never thought I would realize my humble dream, until the goodly game designers at Kalypso Media finally made a game out of my childhood fantasy. Without further hesitation, onward to my Salsatopia.

After playing Tropico 4 for about five minutes, I had a really strong desire for a Cuban sandwich. This could be simply because I do enjoy a good Cuban sandwich, or it could be that, from the soundtrack to the artwork to the gameplay, I immediately felt immersed in island culture. This immersiveness is something Tropico does better than most other real-time strategy games.

Tropico 4 differs from other RTS games in the fact that the core elements of gameplay really just boil down

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to social planning and balancing budgets. If Quicken had a bastard love child with The Sims on a Carnival Cruise ship, the result would be Tropico 4.

And like The Sims, it becomes hard for the player not to humanize your population. After I built a grammar school for his children, tenement housing for his family and got him a job at a gold mine, Ernesto still broke my heart when he sided with the accursed rebels, forcing my hand to create a secret police force to deal with rebelde scum.

The mouse-based controls are incredibly simple, intuitive and ideal for maneuvering around the island and the level of detail available in full zoom view is surprisingly great. But the game really shines with the level of information available in the almanac and citizen modes. With gameplay so dependent on economy and financial planning, you can really analyze amazing amounts of minutia and data – and then plan your perfect island paradise accordingly.

While definitely not a game for a twitchy gamer looking for the next great first-person shooter experience, Tropico 4 is perfect for a gamer who obsessively checks over his online bank accounts.


Rating: Four out of Five Pies
(a word about our ratings)


El jefe nombre es Jorge @georgecollazo. Tropico 4, from Kalypso Media, is available for PC via Steam and on the Xbox 360. Check out the official Tropico 4 site for more information and watch the E3 2011 trailer.

Tropico 4 Palace

Games, Review