Tropico 6 Beta Access Preview
While not slated to be released until January 25th, 2019, the latest from developer Limbic Entertainment and publisher Kalypso, Tropico 6 is already available via Beta Access for pre-purchases. As someone who has a rather complicated relationship with the Tropico franchise, I approached the Tropico 6 Beta Access with cautious optimism. It is always a hard job to review a game before its official release. There are bound to be bugs and issues, but it would be unfair to dwell on those and not judge the game for what it will look like when it is fully released. With that in mind let’s take a look at what I found!
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True to the franchise, Tropico 6 is a city-builder set in a chain of utopian tropical islands. You take on the role of El Presidente, the ruler of these fine islands. You begin with a very in-depth tutorial that I advise you all take heed of. These games can become quite confusing if you don’t spend the time to learn each aspect of the game!
One of these aspects that has always set the Tropico franchise apart is the depth to which you can influence the inhabitants of your island. Along with building industry, roads, schools, homes, theatres and shipping ports, Tropico 6 allows you to make edicts, which all have their pros and cons. Some may increase your standing with one faction while reducing your standing with a different faction. Yet others may offer you a large production bonus while decreasing multiple happiness meters for your citizens.
The game also features elections, which happen at regular intervals and, should you lose one, the game is over immediately. This means you must re-try your mission if you are playing through the campaign, or that your sandbox instance has simply come to an end. Either way, making sure you do not lose an election is a key part of Tropico 6. Each citizen of Tropico has a political affiliation, and political parties will react to almost every major decision you make in the game. Staying on the good side of as many of these factions as possible will keep your voting numbers high.
As a man of immense wealth and power, El Presidente is contacted by The Broker who can provide shady deals that can yield gargantuan results, but often at a high cost to your humanity. For the heartless dictator, The Broker can prove to be an asset.
You are also given complete freedom on how you choose to rule. You can better the working conditions of your industries and educate and house your citizens well, but this is all costly. You can decide to squeeze every drop of cash from the process as well, by forcing your labourers to work under inhumane conditions and letting them live in the most basic of housing.
Like most things in life, the key is finding balance. You want to keep the people happy while still turning a profit. The only way to achieve this is through simple (and often hilarious) trial and error. Just make sure your military is strong enough to combat any revolution that pops up due to treating your workers too poorly and make sure that you don’t drain your bank or lose an election and you will do just fine!
Gameplay aside, I do need to mention a few issues the game has in its current state. Keep in mind this is Beta Access and bugs are to be expected, but I still feel it necessary to relay the truest state of the game at the time of my writing this. The biggest issue currently is that certain buildings do not function as intended. My pirate cove refuses to do anything. I have double and triple-checked it but I simply cannot use it in the slightest, making one tutorial mission impossible to complete. The second bug, which does not hinder actual gameplay but seems like a large oversight, is that my freighters who are carrying goods between my islands are actually sailing through my islands, not around them. I have reported both of these to the dev team and I am certain they will be fixed before the release at the end of January next year.
All in all, Tropico 6 doesn’t offer much in the way of new and exciting features but does continue the franchise nicely and with graphics that stay with the curve. If you enjoy the idea of becoming a peaceful island ruler or a harsh militant dictator and have not gotten your hands on any of the Tropico games before, it is in your best interest to give Tropico 6 a try!