Platforms: Win, Mac, XBox 360
If, somehow, you have managed to miss out on the phenomenon that is Kalypso Media’s Tropico series of games, there is no better time to check it out, since Tropico 3 is being offered for a bargain bin $0.99 through November 21st to celebrate its anniversary. Personally, I’ve been a fan of the series since the beginning, and although I think it really peaked with the fourth iteration, Tropico 3 is where the series really found its feet and became really excellent.
The campaign missions start out simply enough – you’ve got 20 years to export 8000 units of agricultural production. Of course, nothing is quite as simple as it sounds, as you have to keep your citizens happy – well, happy enough to not revolt at any rate – as well as court relations with foreign powers to keep the money rolling in. It’s a combination of city building mechanics and eco-political simulation that feels completely organic.
You’re given a variety of pre-build dictators to choose from, or you can customize your own character, choosing your background, rise to power, and positive and negative traits that can have a pretty significant impact on how challenging a given scenario is. For example, since I knew this first scenario was focused on agriculture, I chose the farmer background, as well as the hard working quality in order to boost agricultural production. It would be easy to look at this as the true difficulty selection of Tropico 3 – when you build your character, you have the ability to make the game as easy or as difficult as you choose.
Tropico 3 comes with a 15 scenario long campaign as well as a random map generator, allowing for a pretty significant amount of replayability. Just completing the campaign should run you over 20 hours easily. I had no issues running it on Windows 10, but you have to consider the age of the game and you may need to tweak some settings in order to get it to run. Sure, the graphics are a little dated, but the gameplay still holds up, and it doesn’t require the Absolute Power expansion in order to be really enjoyable. For less than a dollar, I cannot recommend Tropico 3 enough.