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Cartel Tycoon Review

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If I have a choice between good or evil, I can’t turn to the dark side. I don’t know why, but there is something in me that can’t become the black hat of the story. 

With RPGs this isn’t a problem, and I can carry on with my saintly duties until the end of the game. But every now and then those choices become more difficult; GTA or Mafia for instance. I am definitely cashing in my badman chips with Cartel Tycoon too, as I try to become best drug trafficker since Pablo Escobar. 

Cartel Tycoon review 1
Ready to control the borders?

I feel as if I have reviewed every type of sim game there is, but still there’s something that surprises me. That’s the case here with Cartel Tycoon; a game with a lot of story and setup for a management sim experience. Set in a country that could be anywhere in Central or South America, we actually find ourselves in a fictional place, probably to keep the lawyers happy. From there we play as the son of a huge cartel boss, useless and a bit green to start with. He has been studying poetry at an American University but is now ready to enter the family business. There are three stories to engage in throughout the campaign. 

The characters you meet and the story of the rise of this son from village idiot to crime boss extraordinaire is one that is full of intrigue. But it can also be quite funny at times. In fact, Cartel Tycoon is far from a gritty look at the crime world, more like a GTA-type vibe, especially in how it handles the writing. 

You’ll start with a tutorial, giving a guide to this drug-making and distribution sim management game. You start the process by building farms, all quite close to each other. Then you need a warehouse for the drugs to go into, and roads to connect the farms and the warehouse. Now you have the drugs and so you’ll need to distribute them, done by building a transport hub and connecting it to the airport. Now you’re getting into business. 

Cartel Tycoon review 2
The firm.

But you also need trusty lieutenants and capos to deliver and protect your dastardly deeds; these come with mini-stories, personalities, and skill sets. They are the enforcers to make sure your drug business runs smoothly and your job is to make sure they don’t get killed. Soon, as Cartel Tycoon progresses, you’ll find yourself swimming in money. You’ll have to clean the dirt, investing and building businesses, like taxi firms and the like. . 

As you move through the game you’ll discover a ton of problems, all that need dealing with. Rival guns will cause a drugs war, or drugs will get picked up at checkpoints. These nightmares cause the authorities to get involved and before you know it police are raiding your drug-making enterprises. Honestly, there’s a lot about Cartel Tycoon and you’ll probably be quite excited about all the differing aspects of this management sim, but the further you get in, the harder you may find it to keep the fight going. Cartel Tycoon does feel tricky at times, as you are left to fight a hundred fires.  

Visually, Cartel Tycoon comes with a nice cartoony cutscene style, one that reminds of the artwork from the GTA games. Menus are nice, clear, and concise, while the map itself is easy to navigate with some nice attention to detail. Like all world-building sim games, it does take a while to get used to the camera, but when things begin to click, it’s all fine. The soundtrack is great too, bouncing along nicely with all the action on screen. 

Cartel Tycoon review 3
Keep an eye on that dirty money

Cartel Tycoon is a good management sim with a different take. It’s an interesting and unique look at the drug market, even if it does get a bit similar and pretty hectic the more you play. But it works, pushed along nicely by the story.

Hopefully though, this will be my last experience as a drug trafficker. I don’t like being bad!

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Playing the bad person
  • Fun stories
  • Visuals are good
Cons:
  • Can get pretty hectic
  • Playing the bad person
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, tinyBuild
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5
  • Release date and price - 14 March 2024 | £24.99
Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Playing the bad person</li> <li>Fun stories</li> <li>Visuals are good</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Can get pretty hectic</li> <li>Playing the bad person</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, tinyBuild</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS5 <li>Release date and price - 14 March 2024 | £24.99</li> </ul>Cartel Tycoon Review
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