Tropico 4 by Kalypso Media review

A new instalment of the tropical island dictator strategy sim
Photo of Tropico 4 by Kalypso Media

With all the grim news about dictators toppling all over the Middle East, it’s perhaps timely for Kalypso Media to introduce a lighter note with the release of their fourth exploration of how to run your own benevolent or tyrannical dictatorship on the supposedly idyllic Caribbean island paradise of Tropico.

Once more you play El Presidente, and get the chance not only to manage and earn the respect (or fear) of your main island but also to expand your island collection over a 20-level campaign.

As before, you have to feed, house and entertain the common people, avoid upsetting various local factions with often conflicting demands, as well as keeping more powerful outside nations such as the USA, Russia, China and the EU from invading you if you prove too unfriendly or uncooperative.

New ministers, new disasters
Although it has been two years since the generally welcomed update that was Tropico 3, this time round existing fans of the franchise will undoubtedly feel that El Presidente has been spending too much time salting away bribes and kickbacks into his Swiss Bank Account rather than making a huge amount of improvements to his regime.

What is new is the ability to appoint the key officials to head up your six government ministries (foreigners can be enticed if the local talent isn’t up to it) and the introduction of six new interactive disasters including tornadoes, droughts and volcanic eruptions.

Screenshots from the game can be captured and then posted on Facebook and Twitter (reflecting the growing influence of social networking), and the economy can be boosted with a certain amount of importing and exporting with other countries.

Beyond that, the graphics seem pretty much the same, tech trees are still relatively limited and the mission objectives are not overly taxing. On the other hand, if you have a popular formula that includes plenty of humour, good music, juggling ethical and practical demands and generally enjoying being a despot, you can see why Kalypso might not want to tamper with it too much.

Company: Kalypso Media


  • New disasters to handle.
  • Not much novelty otherwise.


Tropico 4 has avoided going seriously off-message (like Tropico 2) but aficionados could have done with more than just relatively minor improvements to a successful formula. Newcomers, though, will enjoy a fun and addictive take on the god game.