GAME OF THE DAY
This revolutionary strategy game rules
Run an island republic your way in Tropico.
Build your own power trip
Combining strategy, satire and black comedy, Tropico casts you as the revolutionary ruler of a Caribbean island.
You can choose to be a benevolent man of the people or a tyrannical despot, as long as you get the job done – and if you’re smart, you can maybe even line your own pockets in the process.
As the newly-installed El Presidente, managing your republic isn’t easy, but you’ve got some fawning lackeys to let you know exactly how things work. First, you’ll need to focus on infrastructure, building garages and roads so people can get around more quickly.
Set up farms and you can choose your primary export which will provide your main source of income – outside foreign financial aid, at least. Tobacco can be lucrative, but it won’t keep your residents well-fed. Fruit isn’t a bad choice, but it’s less valuable, and different crops grow better in different locations.
Your workers will need better homes than the shacks they start out in, so replacing them with tenements is a good idea. You can make sure they’re kept clean, but then a roach-infested hovel will keep costs down – and hey, it’ll still be nicer than their old place.
Before long, Tropico has you spinning more plates than a circus performer. Workers will love you if you lower rents and up wages, but the capitalists will frown upon such generosity. You can appease them by increasing your focus on industry – but bulldozing areas of natural beauty to achieve that will upset environmentalists.
It pays to spend some time among the hoi polloi, and not just for the sake of being nice. A surprise visit to a factory, for example, will speed up production while you’re there and for a little while afterwards.
Elections, meanwhile, give you a chance to appease unhappy residents. Making promises can sway voters – but if you don’t make good on them, they won’t be pleased when the polls come around again. Then again, you can always refuse to hold a vote. And if you’re fed up of the local radio DJ reporting on dissenters, you can always silence him – permanently.
It’s one of many darkly funny moments in a consistently entertaining game with a huge variety of challenges. Campaign scenarios might ask you to stay in power for 20 years, or attract at least 150 tourists to your tiny isle, while Sandbox mode allows you to rule to your heart’s content.
Transforming your island into a paradise is no picnic, but with sun-kissed views and a swinging salsa soundtrack, you’ll have a great time trying.