The old argument that strategy and management games don’t work on consoles doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. Many publishers still seem a bit afraid to send their city-builders, empire-’em-ups and bar chart sims for a run out on PS4, but providing the traditional PC mouse and keyboard control scheme can be translated to your DualShock 4 without requiring undue finger-yoga, there’s no reason they shouldn’t.


After all, Command AND Conquer! XCOM! And, admittedly positioned in something more of a niche within that spectrum, sunny dictatorship sim Tropico 5. The series has enjoyed a steady following on PC since God was an infant, placing you in the grotesquely decadent shoes of a banana republic leader and giving you the power to build cities, decide taxation rates and crush your populace’s will with all manner of dastardly political ploys.
“Watch your militia gun down rebels to keep voters happy.”
A Regime In The Sun
Number five lets you do all those things over a considerable historical timespan, starting in colonial times with the foundation of your collection of rickety huts and fresh-faced workers, through the hysteria of the world wars, into the Cold War and right up to the present day. One minute you’re building a sugar plantation to appease your British overlords with lucrative export crops, the next you’re researching internet technology and watching your state militia gun down rebels with automatic rifles, hoping to keep your approval rating high before the upcoming election. 

Does its control scheme translate to your trusty DS4? Broadly, it does. There are many menus hidden away within the clean ‘front page’ of its UI, and getting to your manifesto or economy charts requires a bit of thought the triggers bring up hidden menus, which can then be accessed with the D-pad. It’s not that its unintuitive, rather that few games require a similar setup so you’ve got less muscle memory to rely on.

So the bigger question, then: is the game behind the menus worth the effort? We hate to fall upon an old cliché, but it rather depends on how partial you are to the spinning plates school of game design. If you’re strategy-agnostic, Tropico won’t be your epiphany. For anyone who’s even dabbled with tax sliders since Sid Meier’s Civilization, the silliness and sunshine alone make it worth a go.