Tropico, the satirical, one of a kind construction-management sim is back with some exciting new DLC! So, let’s talk about it.

I’m pretty new to the Tropico franchise, but I can get really addicted to a good management sim, so I was eager to dip my toes in. As we’ve never had a Tropico review on the MHG blog before, I’m going to take you through a little bit of background information about the game, as well as a look over the base game (Tropico 6, which was released March 2019) as well as a look at the new DLC, released just recently, in December 2020. It’s rather enticingly called Caribbean Skies.

The Tropico series started back in 2001 and has been a popular franchise ever since. You, the player, are El Presidente, ruler of Caribbean ‘paradise’ Tropico, a banana republic. The game’s basis and aims have remained similar throughout the life of the series: the goal, simply put, is to stay in power – how you do that, democratically or not, is entirely up to the player – but to do so, you’ll need to balance a number of different plates at once. You’ll need to build up industry, trade with world powers, keep your people happy, healthy and entertained, survive in a cutthroat world of politics, and keep your people safe.

The latest instalment, Tropico 6, was initially announced at E3 back in 2017, and the game was developed by Limbic Entertainment and published by Kalypso Media in 2019. It is the fastest-selling installment in the series so far, and has had good reviews across the board. And it’s pretty obvious why.

There are some interesting changes that distinguish Tropico 6 from its predecessors. Tropico 5 was criticised for dumbing down a decently complex game, and this latest instalment rectifies that, bringing back old mechanics and making the whole experience more diverse again. Rather than ruling just one island as in previous installments, the game gives the player access to an archipelago of islands, which is really neat because it’s so easy to run out of space on these games. And – get this – your ‘presidente’ is customisable and can be made female. We’re all about that female dictator rep, right? The presidential palace is also customisable, which is a pretty fun little feature, I won’t lie.

Tropico 6 is another management sim that I got well and truly addicted to. Reader, I could sink hours and hours into this game, though I’ll admit now that I’m not very good at it and I most definitely need tutoring. I’m very good at getting into debt though. Skillz, amirite?

As I was entirely new to the game, I started first by doing the tutorials, which are easy to follow and give you a good overview of all there is to do and achieve. You’ll learn all about the building side of the game, creating and trading goods, keeping your people happy, winning and balancing the favour of opposing factions on your island, dealing with (and engaging in) crime, and of course, how best to stay in power. Democracy? Dictatorship? Full-on bribery of the opposition? It’s up to you, El Presidente!

The missions are what I tackled next. I now had an idea of how to do things, and of the basic mechanics of the game. The missions take you through the story of Tropico and are really useful for new players who might still need some guidance on how to approach things, though if you’re new to the game like me, you might still find some of these challenging at first. It’s a multifaceted game, and more likely than not you’ll need to experiment a bit before you’re more comfortable with what works and what doesn’t. It’s all a big balancing act, as the game’s tutorial teaches you – and honestly, it can be really tricky to get it right.

The story that these missions take you through is interesting, dynamic, genuinely engaging and helps you to further learn the ropes of the game. Even on easy mode I found myself struggling sometimes. Yet, as with all games of its kind, game by game, you’ll find yourself getting a little wiser and doing better and better.

By itself, Tropico is a strong game. It’s complex enough to be interesting, with some cool and complex dynamics, and yet it’s easy enough to pick up on a basic level. It’s visually appealing, colourful, has a smooth and easy to use interface, and a soundtrack that will have you dancing at your desk as you play – um, I definitely did not do this. It’s also, in typical Tropico fashion, jam-packed with humour and snark, some memorable characters, and did I mention that it’s pretty damn addictive? It has a multiplayer mode too, which is always a bonus.

The Caribbean Skies DLC is the first game content created by Tropico’s latest developer, Realmforge Studios. As its name suggests, it’s all about making use of the sky, from balloon tours to drone delivery. It brings brand new exciting missions to the game, and a host of cool new content to change up the late game modern era in particular.

In this DLC pack, you’ll get new buildings, some of which will enable you to create and use drones for purposes of delivery and travel, you’ll get new decorations for your palace, more traits (perks) and outfits for your Presidente, and new edicts that will change the way your Tropico functions and alter its priorities. The content provided is well selected, and all works together pretty seamlessly, with some new Presidente perks relating specifically to optimising your use of the brand new drones.

This DLC adds more content than many of the other packs released since Tropico 6’s publication back in 2019, and for an attractive price of £12.99. The story is interesting, whacky and futuristic, and there’s a good amount of content to get your teeth into. The new missions, as with the base game, also provide a really useful guide to making the most out of the new buildings and content included in the DLC, and welcome some cool new characters too.

In an era where technology is getting more and more advanced by the day, it was cool to see how drones could be used. From surveillance to meal delivery services, it made me think hard about where technology is heading, for better or worse. Die-hard Tropico fans will be pleased with the new dynamics brought by drones.

While it’s not an enormous amount of content, the Caribbeaan Skies DLC adds some interesting new flavours into the equation, and is worth picking up if you’re a fan of the game. Tropico 6 is available on PC, Mac, Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Caribbean Skies is not yet available on Switch, but will be released at some point in the future.

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