Tropico 5

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Tropico 5 Game Poster Image
Dictator simulation imposes violence; lots of strategy.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn that although Tropico 5 isn't intended to be an educational game, it offers plenty to learn about governing (and different kinds of government, such as a dictatorship, diplomacy, and communism). They'll also learn about balancing economic input and output, investing in research and resources, building, trading with other nations, and much more -- including the cause and effect for each decision. Gamers also will learn about history, including major events, from colonial times to modern day. Along with competitive modes, players can work cooperatively. Tropico 5 does very well at giving players their own slices of the world -- it's just up to them to decide whether it runs efficiently or falls to pieces.

Positive Messages

Tropico 5 lets you rule a fictional country as "dictator," which includes suppressing opposition, protestors, and so on. Although you must care for your people by providing food, shelter, and other services, players really benefit from total control without democratic privileges for their citizens. As a result, the game doesn't have a very positive message overall.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You play as a dictator ("El Presidente"). Because you have total control over your country and strip citizens of individual rights and democracies, this character isn't a positive one. You also can crush internal opposition -- including assassinating rebel groups -- and prevent foreign influence.

Ease of Play

Tropico 5 is fairly easy to play using mouse and keyboard commands. The game also is available for Xbox 360, with a different interface to suit a console controller. Those comfortable with top-down strategy games and city-building simulations should feel right at home.


Although the game is not very graphic, players -- who assume the role of the dictator of a fictitious country -- can order the military to assassinate rebellious citizens, protestors, and rebel groups. Gamers will see and hear gunfire and explosions, but the combat isn't close-up or graphic in nature. Since you're the one ordering the killings, it's not recommended for younger players.


Some suggestive lines in a few dialogue sequences. Examples include "Picture me drinking a glass of milk as it runs down my chin from my big soft lips" and "Your family's rollicking love life has led to an unexpected pregnancy." Some comments are less obvious, including "Have fun! Do the mile-high!"


Some mild profanity, including words such as "bastard," "ass," and "hell."


Tropico 5 offers downloadable content (DLC), an optional software update that adds new material. The first one is called "Bayo del Olfato" and will cost a few dollars for gamers to download it.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to and actual gameplay tasks associated with alcohol and tobacco. With the former, some dialogue sequences include "A preacher I once knew vowed to drink any and all alcoholic beverages he can find" and "I also wrote their demands on my hand so as not to forget them when I got drunk." Gamers can grow tobacco and build cigar factories and rum distilleries to create export opportunities.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tropico 5​ is a strategy/simulation game that lets gamers play as the dictator of a small island nation. If there's any resistance to their power, they can order the assassination of those who speak out. Gunfire and explosions can be seen and heard, but the combat isn't very graphic. The game also contains many references to alcohol and tobacco, as well as some minor profanity and sexual comments. Those who play online can talk verbally via headset/microphone, and there are no filters or monitors to prevent inappropriate words or phrases.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byAce Security April 24, 2020

Good Game, some explicit content.

It is MOSTLY friendly to all ages. The game is a fun simulation game where you run a nation from the colonial era to modern times. The game has mild swearing al... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJCfan3213 January 11, 2016

Tropico review

I have played number 1 3 and 4 but five is really good and you learn a lot from the game however with that said there are alcohol and tobacco references in the... Continue reading

What's it about?

Think you can successfully rule a nation with an iron fist? Put your mouse (or controller) where your mouth is in TROPICO 5, a strategy/simulation hybrid that lets you return to the remote (and fictional) nation of Tropico. This sequel challenges gamers to build an island into a thriving republic, from the early colonial period to beyond the 21st century. Face internal and external challenges, earn new trade partners, develop technologies, and ensure that your people are happy and content (or dispose of them if they're not!). Available for multiple computer and console platforms, Tropico 5 adds a number of new gameplay mechanics, story lines, revamped artwork, and, for the first time in Tropico history, cooperative and competitive multiplayer for up to four players.

Is it any good?

Tropico 5 is the best game in the series to date. Even those unfamiliar with the previous games, such as 2011's Tropico 4, will find this simulation very easy to get into -- and difficult to stop playing. You'll start your reign during colonial times, attempt to survive 20th-century wars (including the Cold War), economic crises, and assorted domestic and foreign pressures. You'll also strive to become a modern dictator in today's technological age.

Similar to other games in the genre, you'll delegate, research, build, collect resources, and establish strong trading partners for imports and exports. Military action also is part of the plan, because you'll protect your dynasty with whatever means you have at your disposal. For the first time, the game adds cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes on top of the single-player campaign. Between its personality and humor, well-balanced and -paced gameplay, and challenging goals, Tropico 5 is an excellent digital diversion for those who prefer brains over brawn.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about game addiction. Do you think that's a risk with games like Tropico 5? What are the issues with playing games too long? Check out our guide to curbing screen time.

  • Talk about the use -- or possible abuse -- of political power. Could dictators actually do good things with their absolute rule? Why are dictators ultimately unsuccessful?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

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