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"Tropico 3" Review (PC)

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Tropico 3 Cover

"Tropico 3"

Box Cover © Kalypso Media.
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Release Date: October 25, 2009
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Platform: PC, Xbox 360
Genre: City Building, Strategy

The Bottom Line: "Tropico 3" is one of the best releases in current the market. It's fun, engaging, and has unlimited replay value. Anyone who is a fan of "Tropico" or city building games needs to play "Tropico 3."

"Tropico 3" Features

  • Rule a tropical island set in the Caribbean.
  • Be kind and meet your citizens' demands, or ignore them and make them miserable.
  • Build businesses, farms, and homes for your people.
  • Export goods (mining, agriculture, petroleum) or make money through tourism.
  • Get up and personal in your city. Walk the streets!
  • Give speeches to influence elections.
  • Keep the people under control by militarily force or let them the freedom to prosper.
  • Play sandbox mode or one of the 15 missions.
  • Choose a personality to represent you as the 'El Presidente.'

"Tropico 3" Review

Building a city is not always about developing a metropolis. The goal can be to create a stable city that benefits both the citizens and the President's Swiss bank account. El Presidente of Tropico has the power to be kind and issue edicts that benefit the people. Or he can decide he's only out for himself and padding his bank account for his inevitable overthrow.

"Tropico 3" is not your typical city builder game. It's a battle of good and evil, similar to "Black and White." Do you decide to rule to keep the peace and your people from revolting? Or do you ration food and invoke martial law? I have a difficult time issuing Book BBQs, handing out small food portions, and bribing leaders. Time and time again, I've tried to be cruel. I always end up giving into their needs.

And their needs are many. It's a balancing act to please all the fractions found on Tropico. Religious, socialists, nationalists, militarists, among others are groups that will make demands on you. The game won't leave you guessing about those demands. Your adviser, a quirky guy with an odd sense humor, and satisfaction graphs keep you informed about the state of the country.

Decisions about the type of housing and how many to build, farms, food rations, and access to churches and health care are on the top of citizen's wants. From there it's up to you whether your country becomes an advanced island with all the extras to lure in tourists (added bonus, residents love the pubs too) or a pit of despair with workers being paid enough to pay rent.

This is exactly what I love about "Tropico 3." I can build a tourism paradise or a small thriving country focused on mining in sandbox mode. The mission mode is not to be forgotten. The scenarios take us on journeys as a new leader or one where we need to decide whether our allegiance is with Russia or the United States. But then we could string along both for the monetary benefits.

The game doesn't have to played like you plan on being the ruler for all of time. It's a challenge and fun when your goal is seeing how much money you can accumulate in your off-shore account. It takes a certain kind of twisted personality to enjoy swindling money from a country suffering from poverty, which includes most of the islands of "Tropico 3." I haven't mastered putting my bank account ahead of the people's yet. It's difficult to do so when the game allows you to get down into the streets at a persona level.

However you decided to play, "Tropico 3" is a must-have. Owning a piece of paradise is an irresistible prospect, even if it is virtual.

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