Tropico 3 is an island building sim, meaning you construct buildings and roads, set policies, tweak tax rates, make alliances and well, embezzle.
Tropico 3 Gameplay
There are 2 basic game modes: the mission based campaign mode and the sandbox mode. The sandbox mode is the main part of the game and is where you will probably spend the most time playing, but the missions are fun too. Most of the missions focus around achieving a particular goal such as producing a certain number of a given item, achieving a given level of happiness or just plain embezzling as much money as possible. Once you have achieved the goal of a given mission you can choose to end the game or continue your island as a sandbox. This is a nice touch, especially if you get attached to a country you saved from certain doom.
Gameplay as mentioned above is a juggling act of managing income, your people’s happiness and welfare, food, exports, worker shortages, tourism, trade, national defense and more. As you can guess, all of these variables can become a bit overwhelming. Fortunately the interface is well designed making it easy to find the different commands needed to change policy or send out an edict. Buildings are grouped by type, are easy to locate and come coupled with a basic description of their function. There are also some training missions to help you get started. I highly recommend that you take the training, but beware: it took me several goes to make it through each session as the missions would regularly “get lost” making it impossible to complete. I would think such issues would be ironed out considering how long the game took to release on the mac.
Graphics are very good, if a little on the drab side. They fit the game well and are quite detailed. It is fun to zoom in on individual buildings and people to view them in better detail. Cars and trucks drive up and down the streets and people go about their day to day business. There is a lot of variation in building design and terrain which allows you to customize your island to your liking. The music is of a south american theme, and does the job of accenting the game well enough. There is some great voice acting going on here, just hammy enough to make me chuckle as I played.
Tropico 3 is one of those games that is really more than the sum of its parts. Combining varied and interesting gameplay with solid graphics and sound makes it a game well worth adding to any sim fan’s collection.
Publisher: Feral Interactive
Price: $13.99 (£13.49)
Description: An Island Building Sim
Pros: Great sense of humor, addictive.
Cons: Semi-broken training system.