Tropico 5 | Review
The Good
  • + Run an island exactly as you wish
  • + Different time periods offer up lots of variety
The Bad
  • - Amount to learn can be overwhelming at first
75%"Good Fun"

Want to look beyond the score? Read the full written review below…

*Tropico 5 provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Kalypso 

“Daddy, when I grow up, I want to govern a country.”

I never thought I’d get the chance, but with Tropico 5 I was given a the power to rule an entire island. There’s also a lot to learn, and whether you’re trying to manage the economy, delve into politics or improve the happiness of the population, it can almost be an overwhelming experience.

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With multiple islands to explore, there’s plenty of areas to claim as your own.

How was I supposed to run an island? I have no prior experience in politics, neither can I please a large amount of people singlehandedly. Luckily for me, I was taken through a step-by-step guide on how to rule people’s lives, via a thorough tutorial. If you wish to govern and run a successful country, there are plenty of things to consider. You have to build a solid foundation in order for things to run smoothly, such as creating a construction office to supply more builders, or a mine for them to source raw materials from. You then have to consider housing, crops for food and a whole host of other basic building blocks.

Every decision counts, and across its sixteen-mission campaign, you’ll be given different objectives to complete. One might have you attract a certain amount of tourists within a time limit, whereas another might task you with earning independence. You’ll need to build your country in a certain way if you want to succeed. Want more tourists? Creating more spots for them to visit and enjoy is probably a good move. Not to mention a hotel for them to stay in. There are also the options to perform solo missions, alongside hopping into an open-ended sandbox mode.

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Pick a first name and add your last. I prefer to be classy.

Presenting many different time periods to rule in, from Colonial to the World Wars, Cold War and present day, each era offers up a wealth of different objectives and policies to enact. If you’re running low on funds, why not axe free lunches and make people pay for their food? Don’t forget though, the happiness of the people may have an effect on electoral votes and force you out of office. Game over.

Building areas to entertain and keep people happy is very important. Then again, if you don’t like a certain civilian, you can order to have them killed. Through a simple button press, and a few thousand dollars, and it’s done. Who knew ruling a country could be so beneficial? You could always banish them for a small fee, but in order to rule efficiently, you have to be tough.

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Conflict is rife in Tropico, but your soldiers will do their best to protect it.

Keeping things in order is hard, though rest assured, your trusted staff will remind you of what needs attending to. It’s easy to lose yourself in the detail, but if you’re willing to play with others, you can always head online for some cooperative governing. Next to that, you can test your empire against another player on the same island. Not everyone plays along nicely, so even if you do team up for fun, it doesn’t always mean the other side will be looking to create a happy environment.

With an island at your doorstep, Tropico 5 isn’t a game you can simply jump into straight away and get your footing. Having been a predominantly PC-based series, the switchover to consoles has certainly caused strain on the controls. There are so many contextual set of button combinations, it can become a bit of a mess when you’re trying to remember how to access a certain feature. Aside from that, as long as you have the time to invest, Tropic 5 is a satisfying management title, allowing you to play exactly as you wish.


Getting stuck into running an island is exciting, and if you want to create your perfect holiday paradise, you can do just so. On the other hand, you can perform exactly the opposite and turn into an evil genius. Grab your passport, take a seat and look out your window, Tropico is coming up and the sun is beaming.

About The Author

Joshua Ball

Meet Josh. As the head of Start Replay his overall objective is to keep things moving. Alongside ensuring that content is made on a regular basis, Josh loves attending and organising the many press events and expos that crop up. His favourite video games consist of the Arkham series and Metal Gear Solid, but there’s always room for a bit of horror. Follow Josh’s sparse tweets on Twitter or, alternatively, be sure to catch him in the crowd of the next big gaming event.

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