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City building, island style

The Tropico series is a pretty extensive set of island management games, that play out a little like SimCity but in a tropical island paradise setting instead of a slightly dull urban environment. This Gold Edition of the third game brings together the base game with an expansion pack and makes for a superbly entertaining time. The main game takes place from 1950-2000 and sees players in the role of the president of a Caribbean nation, with your overall goal being to survive your term in office. As with other city-building games, pretty much everything is your concern, from creating houses and streets, to trading with other nations to bring in cash and resources, to managing tourist facilities, all with the aim of keeping your people happy. There are plenty of political decisions to be made here, and you can choose what kind of leader you're going to be, ruling with an iron fist or taking a more laidback approach. There are scenarios to play alongside the main game, and the Absolute Power add-on brings a new campaign alongside other features like new buildings and disasters, along with a handful of others. If you enjoy your city-building games but like them a little less po-faced than usual, then the Tropico series is the one for you. This one lacks little in the way of complexity or depth but adds in a healthy sense of humor to ensure that things don't get too bogged down in seriousness. Throw in the lovely island visuals and a slick and intuitive interface and you have all the makings of a good time.